Review of Live Satta King

“How would you like to be gifted by the God of your dreams, a satta king?” That is the tag line of an award-winning movie called Satta King. Directed by Shimit Amin, who won an Oscar for his feature work on the similar film, A Brief Romance, Satta King showcases Amin’s unique and powerful style of cinematography. Using handheld video cameras, Amin sews together the story of a reluctant street vendor, his loyal goon, the beautiful young girl and their unlikely hero, a fearless street fighter.

Like many street hawkers in Bangkok, Amin starts out selling candy and cigarette papers on the street, just to earn enough to get by. When a mysterious girl tries to buy from them, they are captured and become the object of her relentless pursuit. They are returned to their native lands where Amin plans to marry the girl and take her back to Thailand where her family lives. His plans go awry when the girl’s brother, whom she has come to live with, turns out to be a violent abuser and the girl’s father, a prominent public figure, refuses to allow her to return to the United States.

Now, Amin takes matters into his own hands and travels to the slums of Bangkok in search of a better life. But instead of succeeding, he falls in love with a street girl named Suri. Though Suri proves to be an innocent as well as beautiful girl, Amin soon finds that her life has been touched by corruption and violence. Forced to leave town, Amin takes up with another street vendor and engages in a life of crime. However, when he witnesses a brutal attack on a Chinese tourist by drug dealers, he returns home and makes peace with his sister Suri, who becomes his legal wife.

As the film progresses, Amin also encounters various challenges including a near-fatal shooting that leaves him paralyzed and a near-death experience in which he realizes he is going insane. In addition to these life changing experiences, Amin also forms strong bonds with several members of the local Thai royal family including the son of the current King. The novel progresses through the lives of Amin and his friends as they strive to make ends meet and fight for economic and social rights for the poor and powerless.

Although it may seem at times to descend into farcical and exaggerated portions, this film is a near-perfect comedy for those who like slapstick and live-action movies. It is also worth noting that despite the dark underpinnings of the story, the film maintains its sense of humor throughout and is no easy ride for anyone to watch. The sheer cheekiness of some scenes is what makes it a great addition to the ever-growing list of Thai movie favorites.

Overall, King of the Damned is a refreshing and entertaining film from Thai director Pawelpol Poonyan. While not the greatest film of its time, it is still a worthy addition to the long list of Thai films that have been made. Those not interested in the story or the fighting will not leave disappointed, as the film offers some great laughs and has an entertaining and original plot. For those looking for a solid martial arts movie with a doses of comedy, then Live satta king is a definite must-see.

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