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Film / Bangkok Knockout

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Bangkok Knockout is a 2010 Thai martial arts film directed by Panna Rittikrai, known for writing Ong-Bak and its prequels, which he directed, and starring nine upcoming young stuntworkers. A group of martial arts students win a contest to star in a Hollywood film. During the following party, they are drugged, and wake up to learn that they are part of a Deadly Game where they face a trained team of opponents in a fight for their life. What follows is a variety of martial arts choreography setpieces thinly strung together by the plot.

This film exhibits the following tropes:

  • Action Girl: Both Joy and Fern are able to fend off attackers, even when restrained.
  • Annoying Laugh: Wanchai exhibits a high-pitched cackle, which he uses frequently despite the danger they're in and the need for stealth.
  • Barrier-Busting Blow: The heroes are attacked a few times by enemy fighters attacking through a wall, particularly from the one large ax-wielding fighter.
  • Bulletproof Human Shield: Played straight with Ao grabbing one of the gamblers to defend himself against Mr. Snead's pistol.
  • Car Fu: One of the enemy fighters drives a reinforced stock car, driving it through walls, and using it to bowl over fighters. Later, examples are seen with motorbikers using their vehicles as an offensive weapon.
  • Deadly Game: Mr. Snead is livecasting the fights, and taking bets from a group of wealthy individuals on the outcomes. Unlike many examples of this genre, he and his co-conspirator, Dr. Duschanon, do their best to keep all participants alive, with downed fighters being whisked off under the cover of a distraction.
  • Forced Prize Fight: Basically, the premise of the film is the team being forced into a series of forced prize fights.
  • I Have Your Wife: The villain abducts both Joy and James in front of the heroes, and later reveals that they've also kidnapped Pod's mother and brother in order to ensure the fighters will participate.
  • Implacable Man: One of the enemy fighters is a large man with an axe who is barely budged by the martial artists' strikes. He is only taken out when he is pinned by a car, and even then, he seems to be just waiting for it to move out of the way.
  • Interesting Situation Duel: Fight scenarios include a cage-match, a fight through a sheet of falling water, and brawling while hanging onto the underside of a moving truck.
  • The Load: Wanchai is a musician who accidentally shows up at the celebration party, thinking it was a wedding, and is abducted with the rest of them. He has no combat skills, and can't even run for all that long, slowing down Fern and Ram, who wind up stuck with him. He's actually one of the bad guys, there specifically to slow down the team.
  • Made of Iron: The fighters take a huge amount of punishment, mostly blunt impact, but a few times being shot, but keep moving with very little evidence of injury. Then again, given the number of times they get badly hurt in the outtakes, that might just be the actors... as one of the gamblers comments about the Thai fighters, getting hurt is "their superpower".
  • Man on Fire: The large fighter with the ax manages to get a flammable substance on his ax and his body, first resulting in a flaming ax after a swing strikes sparks, and then catching fire himself. It doesn't stop him for long.
  • McNinja: Several of the enemy team use traditional ninja tropes despite being Thai, and one enemy fighter leans hard into this, fighting with a sword, repeatedly disappearing and reappearing in the scene, and at one point throwing shuriken.
  • The Mole: Both Pom and Wanchai are actively sabotaging the team, and James, seemingly abducted early on, is also in on it.
  • Le Parkour: The action takes many opportunities to have the actors scale walls, jump obstacles, and otherwise make use of their environment. One of the actors specifically notes that his experience was largely in freerunning, and he had to learn martial arts for the film.
  • Primal Stance: One of the villains frequently moves around on all fours with a feral grin on his face, using a combination Capoeira and clawing strikes against his opponents.
  • Running on All Fours: Quadrupedal movement is common in the freerunning scenes and one of the enemy fighters does a lot of his fighting in this way as part of his feral style.
  • Sissy Villain: Ao's first individual fight is against a pantsless man in makeup and speaking in falsetto, alternately flirting with Ao and dishing out punishment while crooning on how much he's enjoying the pain.
  • Unwilling Suspension: At one point, Joy is strung up over a two-story drop by her wrists to draw the heroes in.