Fantasia 2012: ‘The Kick’ Makes Martial Arts a Family Affair
Written by Jong-suk Lee, based on a story by Prachya Pinkaew
Directed by Prachya Pinkaew
Traditionally, films that pit one country’s martial arts against the martial arts from other countries are blood-soaked chauvinistic affairs like One Armed Boxer and its sequel Master of the Flying Guillotine. Both great films, they up the ante on the Kung Fu bragging rights by having the hero Tien Lung (Jimmy Wang Yu) beat the champions of Japan, Korea, Thailand, India and Tibet with literally one arm tied behind his back – or chopped off, depending on how you look at it.
The Kick is a much more gentle film, turning the battle between Korea’s Tae Kwan Do and Thailand’s Muay Thai into a family comedy and adding Thai star Jeeja Yanin to the winning Korean side to salve any hurt Thai feelings. (Almost deliberately, halfway through the film Jeeja wins a friendly match against the main male Korean lead, Ji-won Ye, and ties against the main female Korean lead.)