Vanquisher (2009)

Posted in Reviews by - April 23, 2014
Vanquisher (2009)

A sorry mess of an espionage film. Thai writer and director Manop Udomdej somehow manages to turn a basic revenge-driven cat and mouse story into complete confusion, not helped by a cast who – bless them – are excruciatingly bad. That may seem harsh, but when a filmmaker decides to add subtitles even to the bits in English then you know you’re in big trouble. But Udomdej’s most heinous crime is to undermine the physical talents of his mostly female cast in favour of barely competent gun battles full of quick editing and jerky, handheld camera distortion. The action sequences are butchered beyond recognition, and that’s before you have time to get your head around the dubious computer generated effects. The undercurrent of Islamophobia is also quite unsettling.

In a muddying of genres, the film starts as a Dirty Dozen style mercenary tale involving a Special Forces unit (made up of buxom Thai ladies in true Roger Corman fashion) recruited by the CIA to target home grown Islamic fundamentalists with sketchy links to Al-Qaeda. With the mission complete, the troops turn on each other following orders from top brass to disband the group by killing everyone involved. Genja (Sophita Sriban) washes up on a beach having somehow survived the ordeal, and two years later she’s a Lieutenant in Bangkok. However, her past catches up with her when her former boss is recruited to silence more Thai-based terrorists. Then the story spirals completely out of control to involve a clan of cyber ninja, a Samurai elder, three burka-wearing martial Muslims, a French computer hacker stealing files from the Vice President, and a bomb plot in which a derelict warehouse is placed under surveillance for reasons unknown.

The film might make more sense on repeated viewings, but that would obviously involve having to sit through the whole damn thing again.

AKA: Final Target

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