Krai Thong (2001) Movie Review

I’ve been asked why I haven’t reviewed that many movies from Thailand. It’s simple, really. The vast majority of movies from Thailand are just terrible. I mean, really, really bad. The acting, the writing, the direction… It’s only in recent years that filmmakers like Nonzee Nimibutr (“Jan Dara”) has managed to bring some measure of respectability to the industry. Even so, I dread Thai movies the way I dread Serious Art House films.

Which brings me to “Krai Thong”, which I think is a terrific porn movie, except it’s missing all the sex. Although it insinuates sex, the film is incapable of going beyond the kissing stage. Oh sure, Winai Kraibutr (“Nang Nak”) as the titular hero Krai Thong does kiss a lot of women on a lot of different parts of their body, but there’s no nudity or anything that would lead you to believe that the filmmakers or actors know what “sex” is or looks like. For that matter, while Krai Thong gets to do all the kissing, his female co-stars pretty much lay there like blocks of concrete.

More softcore porn than an actual movie, “Krai Thong” tells the legendary (I’m assuming) tale of Krai Thong, a crocodile hunter with skills that would give Steve Irwin (of “Crikey!” fame) a run for his money. This particular talent comes in handy when a village is under siege by a crocodile the size of a house (!). After watching 50 or so of his citizenry become croc snack, the village’s big kahuna sends for the country’s best croc hunter, promising them half of his fortune and 6 virgins as a reward for killing the evil croc.

As it turns out, the croc is actually a demon name Chalawan (Jet Padoongtum), who has a sweet tooth for one of the village leader’s daughter. Apparently hornier than he is hungry, the croc abducts Tong (Wannasa Thongviset) and drags her down to his undersea lair to have his way with her. Krai Thong comes to the rescue, with his pal Jimmy Olsen in tow. Well, the “pal” is not actually named Jimmy Olsen, but you get the idea. Their relationship is that of Superman and Jimmy Olsen, although I’m sure Jimmy Olsen never gave Superman a shoulder rub while, ahem, heaping praises on his super strong buddy. Of course any notion of a homoerotic attraction is done away with by Krai Thong’s bedding (and marrying!) of every women he locks eyes with, including one of Chalawan’s old lady (who is herself a croc-demon)!

“Krai Thong” wouldn’t be so bad if it didn’t take itself so seriously. Director Suthat Intaranupakorn seems to understand what he’s up against. With a budget that is probably too generous to even call “low”, Intaranupakorn pulls out every camera trick in the book to hide the fact that he’s working with barely serviceable CGI crocodiles, no-talent actors, and horrific hired-off-the-street people that give the phrase “background extras” a bad name. As a result of the small budget and lack of thespian talent, “Krai Thong” is as believable as month-old bread trying to pass itself off as a fresh croissant.

Of course this doesn’t prevent the movie from showing signs of ambition. At one point, Krai Thong battles a flying CGI crocodile; later he parts a river ala Moses at the Red Sea. Yes, the special effects are pretty cheap looking, but the point is, they tried. And to be honest, they sometimes succeeded. In-between scenes where stupid villagers run to the giant croc so it can gulp them up like candy, Krai Thong swims around in a swimming pool that’s supposed to be a deep river.

And did I mention that the young ladies in the movie are gorgeous? The film is filled with pleasing eye candy in the form of half-naked women that, remarkably, never once manages to lose those little strips of fabric that covers up their breasts. Not once! “Krai Thong”, as previously mentioned, has the cheap look, feel, and vibe of a porn movie with ambitions of being more. That is, it would be a perfect porn movie except it doesn’t have any nudity or sex in it.

For those wondering, the answer is Yes, “Krai Thong” is bad enough that it could be considered good. A couple cases of beer later, a couple of good friends with nothing better to do for company, and “Krai Thong” could very well turn into a masterpiece!

Suthat Intaranupakorn (director)

Buy Krai Thong on DVD