There are two overlapping worlds in Thailand that are at odds with one another: the world of humans and the world of Opapatikas. Opapatikas are people that have made the ultimate sacrifice and been given a specialized power after death (in addition to still being alive). A war is brewing between the humans and the Opapatikas, and Detective Techit is caught in the middle. Believing that the only way to defeat them is to become one of them, he makes his ultimate sacrifice: he kills himself. He’s brought back as a member of the demons, with the power of being able to read minds. Unfortunately for him, every time he uses his powers, he runs the risk of losing one of his five senses. Apparently, giving his life wasn’t sacrifice enough. He soon finds out that those he’s working for have devious plans and he finds himself at odds with both sides of the war and what to do.
To say that Demon Warriors is a mess of a film is putting it far too lightly. Anyone that can actually make sense out of every bit of the film either graduated from Harvard or is related to Superman villain Brainiac; heck, I’d give you a pat on the back if you can follow half of what goes on in the film. I guess I shouldn’t be so surprised, this coming from the same group of guys that made Ong-Bak, a film that’s heralded by many but I found to be a huge mish-mash in its own right. But even if you felt that way yourself about Ong-Bak, it’s a masterpiece of sequential storytelling in contrast to Demon Warriors. Yes, it’s that bad.
And it’s all actually totally unnecessary. Demon Warriors has a pretty cool basis, but it overly complicates nearly every aspect which results in mind-numbing confusion. There’s lots of spiritual mumbo-jumbo tossed in that maybe makes sense and strikes a chord in Thailand, but it doesn’t translate well at all. You may think that the complications arise from overstating certain situations and explaining things too much. You’d be right to an extent, yet these boisterous diatribes still leave you in the dark. Through all the explanations about how the Opapatikas came to be, the rules of being one, and so on, I still didn’t understand shit. Hell, I didn’t even really get why some are good and some are bad. At least in something like X-Men you understand why the bad guys do what they do and vice-versa, but in Demon Warriors not so much. It feels like we’ve been dumped into the middle of something and we’re just expected to go along for the ride.
Alas, even just doing that isn’t much fun. For starters, the effects are atrocious. That statement actually may be a little harsh, as little things like vapor trails for the demon that can project his evil side are pretty cool, and practical effects such as what is used for the regenerator are quite nifty. But everything else is shockingly bad and excessive; do we really need to use CGI for bullet holes? Being a Thai flick, there’s also a lot of fighting on display, and while I may have found the aforementioned Ong-Bak weak, there’s no denying the fight scenes were amazing. Demon Warriors doesn’t even have that going for it, relying more on gore and blood spatter than well-choreographed fights.
Demon Warriors is a film that fails on every single level; a cool premise does not make a good film. Clocking in at a whopping 106 minutes, this is a massive time waster, but not in a good way. Avoid at all costs unless you’re determined to see what an X-Men film would look like if it was directed by Ed Wood. Wait, that would actually probably be more fun than this.
Magnolia Pictures and Magnet Releasing present Demon Warriors on DVD in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. Like many Thai films, it looks way older than it actually is, with lots of grain and an overall washed-out and un-sharp look. Still, I’m sure this is the best it’s going to look. Audio is available in both 5.1 Thai and 2.0 English dubbed flavors. The 5.1 track is decent, with okay directionality and clear dialogue, though like the film it’s nothing to get excited about. The sole extra feature is a 16 minute making of which at least shows the cast and crew had some fun making the film; I’m glad someone did.
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