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Even the Best of Intentions...,
This review is from: The King Maker (DVD)
THE KING MAKER will doubtless be a success in Thailand where the similar (but superior) 'The Legend of Suriyothai' set box office records. The film directed by Lek Kitaparaporn after a screenplay by Sean Casey based on historical fact in 1547 Siam has some amazingly beautiful visual elements but is disarmed by one of the corniest, pedestrian scripts and story development on film.
The event the picture relates is the arrival of the Portuguese soldier of fortune Fernando de Gamma (Gary Stretch) whose vengeance for this father's murderer drives him to shipwrecked, captured and thrown into slavery and put on the bloc in Ayutthaya in the kingdom of Siam where he is purchased by the beautiful Maria (Cindy Burbridge) with the consent of her father Phillipe (John Rhys-Davies), a man with a name and a past that are revealed as the story progresses. There is a plot to overthrown the King and Fernando and his new Siamese sidekick Tong (Dom Hetrakul), after some gratuitous CGI enhanced choreographed martial arts silliness, are first rewarded by the King to become his bodyguards, only to be imprisoned together once Queen Sudachan (Yoe Hassadeevichit) reveals her plot to kill the king and son to allow her lover Lord Chakkraphat (Oliver Pupart) to take over the rule of Siam. Yet of course Fernando and Tong escape and are condemned to fight each other to save the lives of their families (Tong's wife and children and Fernando's now firm love affair with Maria) with the expected consequences.
The acting (with the exception of John Rhys-Davies) is so weak that the film occasionally seems as though it were meant to be camp. The predominantly Thai cast struggle with the poorly written dialog, making us wish they had used their native Thai with subtitles. The musical score by Ian Livingstone sounds as though exhumed form old TV soap operas. But if it is visual splendor you're after there is plenty of that and that alone makes the movie worth watching. It is a film that has obvious high financial backing for all the special effects and masses of cast and sets and shows its good intentions. It is just the basics that are missing. Grady Harp, April 07