This one came out of left field and shocked me. The Thai film market continues to impress me with the quality of their current releases. “13: Game of Death” would probably be remade as a major release in America and I actually hope it is. The story is fantastic and the writing far above par.
Pusit (Krissada Terrence, looking strangely like a Thai version of Corin Nemec), a half-caucasian salesman, is having a lousy day. He’s deep in debt, his car’s been repossessed, he just lost his job and his mother desperately needs money. Suddenly, he receives a mysterious call informing him that he’s been selected for a game show in which he must defeat thirteen challenges to recieve 100 million dollars. The first challenge… kill a fly. Seems easy enough, so he does it. As Pusit progresses, the challenges escalate into darker corners of morality. Soon, Pusit is on the run from the police as he commits mayhem that makes the “Grand Theft Auto” video games pale in comparison. When his female hacker friend Tawng figures out what’s happening, she races to stop Pusit before he reaches the 13th challenge and fully decends into darkness.
At first I thought this was going to be another “Saw” clone, and it probably was somewhat inspired by it. However, some of it plays like an action film. Some of it is pure horror and the end has a creepy sci-fi twist that I didn’t see coming. It’s like “Fear Factor” run amok and it raises some interesting moral questions. It also delivers a bleak message about the future of technology and the direction that Thai society is heading towards. It’s exciting to see a third world country make such a evolutionary leap forward in its quality of cinema. Like South Korea and France, Thailand will be a country to watch in the next few years where filmmaking is concerned. Why this film did not receive a larger indie release (Direct to DVD by way of Dimension Extreme?… Really?) I’ll never understand. This is a quality thriller and highly recommended.
The trailer is in Thai, but you don’t need English to understand what’s happening…
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