Director: Preecha Songsakul
Producer: Jirun Ratthanaviriyachai
Starring: Than Thanakorn, Thitima Maliwan, Nattanun Jantarawetch, Bawriboon Chanreuang
Year: 2008
Country: Thailand
Duration: 107 min
BBFC Certification: 15

Another day, another patriotic, historical Thai action 'epic'. Assassin Rising (a.k.a. Siyama) is yet another attempt to cash in on the reasonable success of the likes of Ong Bak and Warrior King (a.k.a. Tom Yum Goong). And like most of it's ilk, Assassin Rising is uninspiring stuff, despite it's bizarre attempt to put a slight spin on the old formula.

The film throws the audience straight into matters as a group of determined villagers prepare for battle in an attempt to protect Siam's capital Ayuthaya against the invading armies of the Ong Mien. About 18 minutes down the line as the scene is set, the heroes have prayed for Buddha's support and finally begun to do battle, we cut to a bunch of annoying twenty-somethings in the present day driving past the site of the battle. They are abruptly teleported back in time to join our original heroes and temporarily grind the fighting to a halt. These strange visitors are taken to heart incredibly quickly by the villagers and they pledge to help them gain victory and stand strong against the opposing forces.

It's a poorly structured film that leaps from scene to scene with little ebb or flow, most clearly demonstrated by the time-traveller's totally unprompted entry into the story and another unnecessary twist that's thrown in towards the end. This and some elements of broad humour make for a very silly film, which works in it's favour occasionally, but it takes itself way too seriously the rest of the time for it to really capitalise on this. Also, the 'comic relief' of the film, wimpy computer/mechanics expert Boat, is frustratingly annoying and seems to be acting in a totally different movie than everyone else.

OK, so “what did you expect?” I hear you ask, “it's just a cheesy martial arts movie”. Well, on the plus side it is strangely endearing most of the time and moves along at a reasonable pace – I'd never call it boring. I'd never call it good either though, it's just frustratingly average. The action is standard fare – mainly weapon-based with people firing arrows, throwing knives and wielding swords whilst the extras fly about spurting blood everywhere. It's not badly done, but little thought has gone into the choreography and although the production values are reasonable the visual style is bland (and throws in a little too much shoddy CGI).

The whole film is just sort of OK. Despite it's ridiculous time-travel elements, it never pushes itself to deliver anything special, just something mildly entertaining.

Assassin Rising is out now on DVD in the UK, released by Metrodome. There are no special features, but the picture and audio quality are of a decent standard.

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Editor of films and videos as well as of this site. On top of his passion for film, he also has a great love for music and his family.

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