Movie review: The Gangster – Antapal (Thai)

The Gangster - Antapal 2012 film movie poster

Rated: 18
Language: Thai
Subtitle: English, Malay
Genre: Action
Running Time: 1 Hour 54 Minutes
Director: Kongkiat Khomsiri
Cast: Krisada Sukosol Clapp, Somchai Kemklad, Sakarin Suthamsamai, Krisada Supapprom, Pakchanok Wo-Onsri, Wasu Saengsingkaew, Boonsong Nakphu, Nantarat Chaowarat

Synopsis: Inspired by the infamous Thai Gangster Era in 1956 comes the tale of two gangsters, Daeng and Jod. “Antapal” means a hooligan in Thai. But in the 1950s, young men fighting in endless, bloodied gang war are celebrities and heroes. People look up at them and they swagger around old Bangkok as if they have the world in the palms of their hands. But the military dictator comes to power and order a massive crackdown on triads and thugs, and young hoodlums fall from grace. They are either shot dead or thrown in jail. Two of the hottest young gangsters are Daeng and Jod, and they’re determined to survive the hard times.

Distributor: United International Pictures Malaysia (UIP)

Verdict: Intriguing first quarter, downhill from the second and becomes unintentionally hilarious before even reaching the fourth. The Thai gangster era, the rock n’ rock culture, loyalty, family, love, friendship, honour, courage, guilt, dilemma, revenge – the number of things the film tries to explore is just too much, resulting to a complete squashed up mess with unnecessarily jumbled up timeline at the beginning and the fake interviews that attempts to make it seem like the film’s based on a true story. The cinematography and the 50s rock ‘n roll music are the only enjoyable elements throughout the whole movie. The plot and script of The Gangster – Antapal would have probably worked better for a TV series (because most Asian TV series are pointless and full of plotholes and yet the viewers usually don’t mind).

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Second opinion: “Quite funny to watch” (Iris Loong).

Malaysian censorship: All nudity and rape scenes are cut along with some of the violence.

Rating: 1 / 5

The only genuinely good scene: Two gangsters, each from different gangs, plays a little game on a street with a group. After the game ends, the two discusses the problem they have with each other and agrees to settle it in a one-on-one fight to the death. One hand holds a knife/parang while the other gets tied to a rope that connects to the opponent’s.

The first half of the movie & its plotholes: Family-loving man, Jod, joins Lor’s gang & rises quickly under Daeng, whom he follows after he was saved from a gang beating by him without any reason. Lor’s favouritism towards Daeng causes an inside war between Daeng & his jealous follower, Pu.. Daeng decides to become a monk & thus becomes inactive in the gang’s businesses, giving Pu opportunities to take over his territory. Jod buys a gun that has a “strong kick back but a good aim” to assassinate Pu but fails & kills an innocent girl by accident with a missed point blank shot. The scene right after that is a slow motion flashback of how accurate his and Daeng’s shooting were during target practice (what the hell?). Jod is jailed by the military while Daeng, who’s supposed to be a monk by now, dies in a very minor car accident (dafuq?). Pu dies as well, in the hands of his own follower over a woman (LOL?). Jod begins to hallucinate due to the guilt of killing the innocent girl & refuses to kill again after his release despite agreeing to work for Lor again.

The second half: The police captain vows to put Jod & Lor behind bars. He manages to recruit Lor’s longest serving follower, Uncle, & his mistress, Ploy, who’s Uncle’s daughter. Lor orders his “top killers” to assassinate the police captain but they leave the scene before making sure they’ve done the job. The injured police captain is saved by Jod. Ploy & Jod’s young follower, Piak, begins dating openly (seriously, how stupid can the characters be?) but Lor finds out about them & suspects that there are moles in the gang. Ploy gets killed by one of Lor’s “top killers”, O-Tee, as punishment which got Uncle going on a solo berserk mission to kill Lor but fails & gets killed by O-Tee instead. O-Tee then attends Uncle’s funeral (how come Ploy doesn’t get a funeral?) & disrespects the ceremony, causing the late Uncle’s follower to react but Jod lets O-Tee walk. Jod disappears for a while before crashing Lor’s party with his followers to kill him (why can’t he just kill him from a distance when there are lesser people around him?). After killing practically everyone at the party, the police captain, whose life was saved by Jod earlier, appears out of nowhere with his army & attacks them (what the fuck?). Jod, who suddenly seems to have forgotten all about his family, rushes out to fire at the police force to buy time for the rest to escape. Nobody knows if he survived (HAH!).

The Gangster Antapal movie still
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