Blu-ray Review: Dopey Comedy ‘This Girl is Badass’ Puts the Bad in Badass

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CHICAGO – It’s difficult to determine whether the Thai action comedy, “This Girl is Badass,” is so stupid it’s funny or just plain stupid. There were long stretches in which I felt utterly dumbfounded by the bizarrely infantile hijinks unfolding on the screen. The film is rated R for violence, but most of the humor seems to be pitched at a third-grade level. It’s like a “Mortal Kombat” game interrupted by knock knock jokes.

Judging by the film’s title, not to mention its cover art, one would assume that the picture consisted purely of wall-to-wall action. Indeed, the heroine, Jukkalan (JeeJa Yanin, a natural beauty refreshingly devoid of makeup), is a skilled and resourceful fighter who can use pretty much any tool at her disposal to obliterate her attackers. In the film’s first (and best) setpiece, she takes on a gang of enemies by beating them to a pulp with her bicycle. It’s an inspired piece of action choreography, and it builds a great deal of goodwill for all that follows. Blu-ray Rating: 2.0/5.0
Blu-ray Rating: 2.0/5.0

Unfortunately, the vast majority of the film’s running time is devoted to a slapstick soap opera about Jukkalan’s companions: her uncle (played by director Petchtai Wongkamlao), her nerdy friend, her sexually ambiguous crush and the rival gangs nipping at her heels. Some of the gags are so awkward that they may have suffered further from bad subtitles. Consider the moment when a woman hops aboard a bicycle and discovers that it doesn’t have a seat, inspiring her to yelp, “What was pricked was not my a—hole!” What’s the Thai phrase for TMI? The generally squirm-inducing nature of the farce isn’t aided by Kanisorn Phuangjin’s terrible score, which utilizes the same annoying theme every time something allegedly funny is taking place. No matter how bad the comedy gets, it’s routinely upstaged by music that sounds like a trumpet breaking wind. That noise is almost as grating as the inexplicable helium voice of a crime boss who barks out threats while sounding like he’s in the midst of being castrated. The first time he opened his mouth, I laughed out of pure incredulity. The eleventh time he did, I was about ready to jab out my ear drums.

This Girl is Badass was released on Blu-ray and DVD on May 21st, 2013.
This Girl is Badass was released on Blu-ray and DVD on May 21st, 2013.
Photo credit: Magnolia Home Entertainment

Between the crime boss’s high-pitched moans and the score’s guttural groans, Wongkamlao’s film comes dangerously close to devolving into a symphony of flatulence. And don’t even get me started on Jukkalan’s own boss, who looks like he has four false eyebrows slapped on his face and rides around on a furry mechanical horse. He relishes the opportunity to call people ugly, even though he’s about as photogenic as an obese Mr. Potato Head. Is this film worth viewing solely as a curiosity piece? Action junkies will appreciate the expert stunt work, though they’ll undoubtedly end up fast-forwarding through the film’s solid hour (or more) of down time. Yanin has a sunny smile and magnetic screen presence that make me eager to see her in a worthy star vehicle—hopefully something bereft of trumpet farts.
“This Girl is Badass” is presented in 1080p High Definition (with a 2.35:1 aspect ratio), accompanied by English and Thai audio tracks and includes two less-than-enlightening making-of featurettes.

‘This Girl is Badass’ is released by Magnolia Home Entertainment and stars JeeJa Yanin, Petchtai Wongkamlao, Akom Preedakul and Bawriboon Chanreuang. It was written by Petchtai Wongkamlao and Pipat Jomkoh and directed by Petchtai Wongkamlao. It was released on May 21st, 2013. It is rated R. staff writer Matt Fagerholm

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