Oliver tastes CHOCOLATE, a sugary delicious Thai martial arts delight

Here's a first: an autistic martial arts heroine in a film with gusto AND heart! From the director who gave us Thai martial arts breakthrough ONG-BAK and WARRIOR KING comes a new turn on the well established genre conventions with CHOCOLATE - a film that promises and delivers exciting and fully realised combat sequences that 'eschew stunt doubles, special effects and camera trickery'. The heart comes in the form of its unconventional hero and story thrust: Zen (played by newcomer JeeJa Yanin) is a young autistic girl with a sweet tooth (hence the title) and a penchant for mimicking martial arts heroes. After her mother is diagnosed with cancer, Zen focuses all her energy into gaining the funds for her medical treatment by calling in all the debts that are owed to her. Things get a little complicated when it is revealed that most of the money owed is by killers and gangsters; associates and rivals from her Mothers' early days as the head of a mafia family. There are homages aplenty from a gut-wrenching dynamic scene set in a meat market with blocks of ice hurtled at our hero that is straight out of Bruce Lee's THE BIG BOSS, to more Jackie Chan tongue-in-cheek induced fare. But what makes CHOCOLATE tick is its determined feisty lead performance and yellow/green-tinted neon-drenched aesthetics that make things suitably easy on the eye whilst remaining visually exciting. Even if you are left a little dumbfounded by the convoluted background story arc, which involves something to do with forbidden love between a Thai female gangster and a Japanese rival, the aero-dynamic fight sequences are enough to keep you emerged in this helter-skelter world. One particularly high-flying stupendous sequence takes place on the window sills, ledges and neon signs of a multi-storey building and has to be one of the most audacious sequences committed to film! Thai cinema has emerged a true contender in the martial-arts cinematic field - we want more from talented helmer Prachya Pinkaew! EXTRAS Special features are equally impressive with six featurettes (Breaking the mould, Step by Step, A Star is Born, Fighting Talent, The Stars of Chocolate, Real fighters) that concentrate on the painstaking acts of gravity-defying brutality and the very real pain involved when things don't go according to plan. Also included are deleted scenes, outtakes and Highlights, a Training Workshop and the promise of more additional extras in the form of those hidden 'Easter eggs'. VERDICT A superb DVD transfer and package, especially if you marvel your martial arts - heck this is for anyone with a passing interest in action movies! Like the naughty snack CHOCOLATE is sweet, rich, indulgent but overtly satisfying. If you liked ONG-BAK you will love a bite of CHOCOLATE. CHOCOLATE is released now at selected UK cinemas but will be available to buy on both DVD and Blu-Ray from 3rd November from Amazon!

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Oliver Pfeiffer is a freelance writer who trained at the British Film Institute. He joined OWF in 2007 and now contributes as a Features Writer. Since becoming Obsessed with Film he has interviewed such diverse talents as actors Keanu Reeves, Tobin Bell, Dave Prowse and Naomie Harris, new Hammer Studios Head Simon Oakes and Hollywood filmmakers James Mangold, Scott Derrickson and Uk director Justin Chadwick. Previously he contributed to dimsum.co.uk and has had other articles published in Empire, Hecklerspray, Se7en Magazine, Pop Matters, The Fulham & Hammersmith Chronicle and more recently SciFiNow Magazine and The Guardian. He loves anything directed by Cronenberg, Lynch, Weir, Haneke, Herzog, Kubrick and Hitchcock and always has time for Hammer horror films, Ealing comedies and those twisted Giallo movies. His blog is: http://sites.google.com/site/oliverpfeiffer102/