The Legend Of The Tsunami Warrior (original Thai title - Puen Yai Jon Salad) takes place in a fantastical centuries-ago Thailand, where a peaceful and prosperous coastal kingdom is threatened by the increasingly bold raids of a small army of cutthroat pirates. As the land's benevolent queen and her allies attempt to navigate the diplomatic waters and gather allies - often at great risk of life and limb - to stand against the murderous anarchy, two warriors end up leading the struggle on the battlefront. One is an extraordinarily skilled young member of the royal guard. The other is a man who was orphaned during a pirate raid years back, and now seeks to learn the ancient art of 'Du Lum' (I believe that's what it was called) - a magic that can control the oceans and its creatures - to fight back against the pirates and avenge his family.
In this fast-moving, twist-filled adventure tale, there's tremendous imagination and all kinds of surprises and plotlines running. The most powerful cannon ever built lies sunken at the bottom of the sea and both sides seek to retrieve it; the orphaned warrior seeks out the last living master of Du Lum, who refuses to teach it to anyone for fear of its destructive power; the backstory of various characters becomes revealed. Come to think of it, it sounds very much like a live-action anime, and I think this will have great appeal for anime fans, as well as fans of everything from The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy (Platinum Series Special Extended Edition) to Chinese historical epics like The Warlords to Thai action-eers like Ong-Bak - The Thai Warrior. Cool special effects, engaging heroes and villains, astonishing action sequences and spectacular visuals all help raise this one way up. Another thing I liked was the way they set up the 'good guys vs. bad guys' scenario this time around. Often with a story like this you have the good kingdom and the evil kingdom. The good kingdom is present, along with the good kingdom's attempts to search out like-minded allies. But instead of an evil kingdom per se, we've got a loose association of pirates, mercenaries and assasins from all over the place - Thailand, Java, I think Burma was the homeland of some of them - all gathered together for their own gains. Nice change of pace.
While some will think that some of the more dynamic action sequences were overkilled a bit, and some will think that some of the drama tended toward the melodramatic, I don't really agree. It all fit in with the huge, epic feel of the tale being told.
And kind of on topic with 'huge, epic feel', who can resist the sight of vicious marauders on the open seas being opposed by heroes riding in on the backs of giant manta rays? And to answer any questions, it DIDN'T come off campy. You need style to make that kind of thing work so well, and the filmmakers here have it.
One of the best Thai movies I've yet seen.