This popular film from Thailand is silly and weirdly free of ideas of honor typical of martial-arts movies — free of any political comment whatsoever that I could detect, although there was a tiny bit of Burmese-bashing — but I was mesmerized by the leanly muscular men, particularly Muay Thai boxer Buakaw Banchamek, who certainly has a way with the thoughtful scowl. But seriously, every man and boy, not just Banchamek, spends this entire movie shirtless and in short-shorts, to great effect.
The film emphasizes, not just Banchamek’s physique, which is compact and powerful-looking, particularly his trunk-like thighs, like a Japanese maple, but also his tobacco-brown skin, noticeably a few shades darker than the Thais surrounding him.
Banchamek is of Kuy descent, I discovered. The Kuy people are considered by Thais to be the “the aboriginal inhabitants of the region and refer to them as Khmer boran (Khmer), meaning “ancient Khmer” or Khamen pa dong,” according to Wikipedia.
I took a million screenshots, as I do when I have a screencrush.
A cute-as-a-button, smooth Thai twink follows Thong Dee around for most of the movie for no other reason than he clearly has a crush on everyone’s favorite boxer. As everyone else does, too, and this movie exists to create those conditions for us, as well.
In this shot, the twink has moved on to another, more attainable object of worship. The film playfully invites us to think of them as a new couple.
Is this a great movie? Nope. It’s not even a great martial-arts movie — the fight choreography is often awkward. But Banchamek is charming and hot as fuck. The film also has a sense of humor about itself that I appreciated. I got a little tipsy and enjoyed the view.Let me know if you do, too.
Buakaw Banchamek’s Instagram is here.