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The Sanctuary – Review December 3, 2009

Posted by Cello in Movie Reviews.
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The Sanctuary is set in the year 1897, a clan successfully broke into the royal palace of Thailand to steal the Royal Antiques which the King intended to give to America as a reward for its help in negotiations that avoided Thai territorial cuts. They broke in, but didn’t make it out alive. Before they died they hid the valuables somewhere in the palace. Fast forward 110 years or so, the descendants of that palace guard, twin-brother fighters, are digging in the yard of a Buddhist temple and one of them unearths the antique valuables. Which proceeds to start a manhunt trying to retrieve the prize.

You’ll notice that in a lot of recent Thai action movies, the plot is set up by some evil baddies trying to steal some Thai treasure. Hey, it works, as seen in every movie starring Tony Jaa so far. The trailer highlights lots of slow motion and a few interesting stunts that are completely undermined by lack of impact. For example: A guy goes flying out a window, bounces off a sign and is about to fall ten feet onto a car….then we cut to three different angles before finally ending on a close up of the car as the guy hits it. I have a funny feeling that it may have been done in one take, but the excitement and “Holy Shit!” factor is lost if you play it up as a trick in cinematic editing.

The exposition in between the action is also sparked by enjoyable performances and even a girlfight between the two veteran Thai actresses. Since the movie is just a platform for crazy martial arts anyway, why spend too much time coming up with an original plot? The fight scenes are awesome and if you enjoy a good violence movie then this should be right up your alley.  The film co-stars Russell Wong as the evil American sent to steal the precious Thai stuff. I’ve been a fan of Russell Wong since his “Vanishing Son” days, but unfortunately he’s been typecast as the evil martial arts guy in way too many action movies.

This movie was pretty sick with the fighting moves but too much Tony Jaa like movements makes it feel like a rip off film. I don’t really have too much to say about this film, you’re either going to hate it or love it and I didn’t particularly love it. The action scenes of course save it from being a total dud. Bootleg it if you can and just skip to the action sequences. Thailand needs to step its game up if they want their movies to keep appearing on this website.

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