Thursday, April 23, 2009




Lucha-Spidey, the Thai Michelle Yee-oww!, Osama Bin Mopey, Triumph of the Whitey Bilkers, evil Americans and their lust for cheap trinkets, the frostiest hotty since my third wife, the kung fu chick was a dude, dubbing by my drunk college roommates, and one night in Bangkok and the world’s your Marvel comic rip-off.

More details here.


A little boy in Cambodia (let’s call him ‘Chuckles’ – sorry, didn’t get the name) has amazing psychic powers which he uses for street cons and to manipulate the minds of his lessers. One day, a gang of thugs kidnaps Chuckles and whisks him away to a lighthouse fortress in Thailand. Meanwhile, Chan (Wasan Khantaau) is a strong-willed but careless firefighter trying to be a hero and helping his fellow man by not appearing in a charity calendar. He is a super-fighter with remarkable martial arts skills but he thinks with his heart before his head which lands him in hot water with management. So a team of thuggish ninjas, who are probably aligned with the kidnappers, infiltrate a prison, incite a riot, start a fire, and release terrorist Osama Ali (Arnon Saisangchan), their boss and spiritual leader. Chan and his crew are dispatched and he arrives just in time to delay the breakout but is stabbed with an amulet which melts into this body and merges with his blood. The baddies make their escape long enough to tell Osama’s backstory which details the origin of his animosity towards America and its allies. Cue Bush montage, then follow with long, awkwardly worded speeches ill-suited for a comic book movie about being Muslim, killing kids, and making sacrifices. Squirm at will. Bad guys arrive at their lair where Chuckles is hooked up to a machine for some unknown purpose. Reuniting with his bad ass henchwoman Arena (Metinee Kingpayome), Osama lays out his plan for a devastating assault on American interests but needs the boy, another amulet, and the power flowing in Chan’s blood. With the help of amulet guardian Purima (Jinvipa Kheawkunya), Chan recuperates while his kung-fu tranny sister Grace (Parinya Jaroenphonand) and his doting Mom struggle to understand what's going on. The amulet has granted him startling agility, the ability to channel heat, and the power to control energy. He becomes the masked hero Mercury Man and makes a name for himself stopping crime and saving people from disaster. He and Purima make pursuing Osama their mission and nothing looks to stop them. But Osama’s minions are on to Mercury Man and have discovered his weakness. And Osama will get his revenge which, like the real Osama, will somehow involve perverting his faith, talking tough into an Eighties VHS camera, and wearing chanklas.


The creative forces behind this Thai superhero movie also produced the awesome Ong-Bak, a martial arts film starring the astounding Tony Jaa. And it's the fight choreography and stuntwork that make Mercury Man, which I happened to stumble across, worth watching. But the superhero stuff? Not so much. Although you’ll find plenty of Spiderman references (even MM’s costume – a mix of Venom and Rayo de Jalisco), the movie looks and feels more like a slightly above average kung-fu flick. The first half of the film is muddled in an over-complicated plot, the psychic kid storyline is lost somewhere in the middle only to tagged on at the end, and the whole holy war spiel comes off as contrived, slapped-together, and silly. But this is a movie about a guy whose powers are derived from jewelry so you shouldn’t expect a biting political satire. There’s a hilarious scene where Arena, the henchwoman, explains Osama’s motives using religious, political, and cultural references almost legitimately. Mercury Man, upon hearing this, says, “I don’t understand” and then tilts his head like a befuddled puppy dog. But when Arena explains the mystical hoo-ha, magical stuff, and the power of the amulet, MM is ready for action! Well, maybe I should blame the hysterical dubbing, but nonethelessm the script is unintentionally hilarious. But as the story clods along, the awkwardness is broken up by pretty good fighting scenes, but nothing even close to extraordinary as Ong-bak. As a martial arts superhero Mercury Man gets a degree; but as a breakthrough epic, Mercury Man can’t get past the freezing point.

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