From the description, I expected The Bodyguard (not that The Bodyguard, the Thai one) to be like a jokey Hard Boiled. Then I walked into the movie. During the opening shootout scene, I decided I was watching the HK action movie equivalent Hot Shots. The tone is way out in parody-land: right away we get a pack of goofy-looking dudes with straight faces strutting in hysterically arbitrary and overdone slow-motion. The shootout itself alternates between the awesome wire effects and slidin' around you know from Chow-Yun Fat movies and classic throw-your-buddy-around slapstick, culminating in four cars crashing into each other in midair for reasons I am not entirely sure of. Pretty great flick, right? Right.
What's surprising is that this is the biggest gunfight in the movie. While The Bodyguard is a pretty crazy action movie, it's not a wall-to-wall action movie, like a Fist of Legend or Hard Boiled or that kind of thing, where the violence just never stops and we love the film for it. The Bodyguard is actually a really dry satire: it makes me think of Cromartie High, in that it takes on a genre with a lot of crazy, silly shit going on (a long shot where a water gun is fired into a man's ass repeatedly) with a total deadpan delivery that cannot avoid hilarity. More of the laughs-- and the biggest laughs-- are thanks to the smart script than the physical gags. The theater was in stitches.
This isn't to say that the action scenes are in any way lacking: choreographed by Ong-Bak's Panna Rittikrai, these fights are both comically ridiculous and quite entertaining in and of themselves. The Bodyguard opts for a full course of action movie parody, climaxing in a three-part slapstick ode to the martial arts movie. The plot drags at times, but the film makes up for it in goofy guys trying to look cool, violence, pratfalls, and explosions. All this, and Tony Jaa kicking the shit out of people in a supermarket! What more does one need?
I don't know if there's any kind of domestic video release of this: when I talked to a staffer at the Oneechanbara afterparty, he told me they'd been trying to get permission to show it for the past three years. Good on them, because this movie really needs to be seen. By you. Think about it this way: before I saw this movie, I didn't even know I needed to see it. It's a really terrifying thought.