ChocolateFebruary 6, 2008
An autistic girl with powerful martial art skills looks to settle her ailing mother's debts by seeking out the ruthless gangs that owe her family money.
Release Year: 2008
Rating: 7.0/10 (6,684 voted)
Stars: JeeJa Yanin, Hiroshi Abe, Pongpat Wachirabunjong
When Zin, former girlfriend of a Thai mob boss, falls for Masashi, a Japanese gangster in Thailand, the boss banishes them: Masashi to Japan, and Zin, with her small daughter Zen, to live next to a martial arts school. Zen is autistic, with uncanny swift reflexes. She watches the students next door and Kung Fu movies, absorbing every technique. She's now a teen, and her mother needs chemotherapy. Zin has taken in a chubby kid, Moom, who watches over Zen. Moom finds a ledger listing business men who owe Zin money; he goes to them one at a time to collect in order to pay for Zin's treatment. Zen, with her martial skills, becomes his enforcer. A showdown with the boss is inevitable.
Writers: Chukiat Sakveerakul, Napalee
(as Yanin Vismitananda)
(as Hirokazu Sano)
Boxer's Henchwoman #2
Masashi (3 years old)
Taste the fury.
Release Date: 6 February 2008
Opening Weekend: $11,180
(8 February 2009)
(15 February 2009)
(Toronto International Film Festival)
(Mar del Plata Film Festival)
Did You Know?
The film originally included Zen watching scenes from Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan movies (in addition to Tony Jaa), but these scenes were eventually cut due to licensing problems. These licensing problems also caused other scenes to be removed from the original movie. The ice factory scene was originally shot as a split screen of Zen imitating the exact same moves she had seen Bruce Lee do in a fight scene from the movie
Fists of Fury. It showed a clip of Bruce Lee doing his fight moves at the same time as Zen was mimicking Bruce Lee's moves. The warehouse scene was shot in a similar fashion, but this time it showed a split screen of Zen imitating Jackie Chan, wherein she would do her interpretation of a Jackie Chan fight routine. Eventually not only were the split screen scenes removed, but any scenes that involved Zen performing moves that too closely resembled fight sequences from Bruce Lee or Jackie Chan movies were all cut as well. The original full version that included these scenes has not been released anywhere in Thailand.
Poorly Written, But the Action Is Everything You Want It To Be!
Chocolate is the perfect "acid test" to determine who are fans of
action movies and who are not. How so? Let me explain. A true fan of
action movies has the ability to overlook some flaws in film-making
(e.g., script, acting, character development, etc.) if the action
sequences are exceptional enough to make up for them. This is no
different from fans of art-house dramas who can overlook minimal
content if the film can portray everyday life in interesting ways. With
that said, Chocolate is one of the best examples of an action movie
that has such extraordinary fight sequences that they easily overpower
any deficiencies in the script.
An autistic girl with martial arts skill attempts to collect on the
debts of her sick mother. This movie is not well written, and requires
some patience from the viewer to slug through the early moments. Once
the 30 minute mark arrives, however, the viewer is treated to one of
the most amazing displays of asskicking by a female protagonist in the
history of action cinema. Virtually all of the remaining 50 minutes is
devoted to high quality choreography and bone-crunching maneuvers. The
settings and scenarios change frequently, thereby avoiding any feel of
repetition or monotony. This is brainless action at its very finest.
JeeJa Yanin an amazing specimen with her fluid moves and hard strikes
catapults herself into the upper echelon of female action stars with
this single movie. Her punches and kicks start off rather basic, but
get increasingly more complex until they peak during the jaw-dropping
finale that lasts a whopping 20 minutes. Lots of fun to be had here.
Now, a snobby moviegoer will cry about the negatives without even
considering the positives. Anyone who does not enjoy the action in this
movie seriously needs to get their pulse checked, or at least schedule
for a re-alignment of their action movie tastes. There's nothing more
scintillating than watching a cute girl kick the living hell out of
hundreds (quite literally) of stuntmen in a variety of environments.
Basically, if you're not entertained by this, you're not a fan of
action movies. (You probably didn't like So Close or Azumi either,
right?) Stop fooling yourself and go watch another Tsai Ming-liang
Some critics have claimed that this movie "ripped off" other movies. It
didn't. There are a few homages that last a few minutes at most (a few
Bruce Lee references, a locker scene reminiscent of Jackie Chan, and
some footage from Tony Jaa's movies). These few scenes are only a drop
in the bucket, because 95% of the action is independent of any
references to other movies. The sign-post battle on the apartment
complex balconies is one glaring example of a completely novel (and
breathtaking) sequence that pays homage to no one but itself.
This is definitely worth a blind buy. True fans of martial arts mayhem
will end up re-watching the action scenes about a thousand times.