I can’t believe that Millennium Films let the title for this one, ‘Elephant White’, slide through the quality control office cracks. I mean it’s relevant and all, I guess, but you mean to tell me that the Action Movie Title Generator couldn’t spit out something more appropriate? ‘Maximum Death’ or ‘Kill to Death’ or maybe something along the lines of ‘My Name is Death’ considering death was the order of the day for an awful lot of people in this movie. Or maybe even go the Worthless Straight to DVD sequel route with ‘Bangkok Dangerous II’. Oh well, ‘Elephant White’ it is, and I’m going to do what I can to help you guys out here but don’t blame me when the discriminating VOD action film connoisseur lets this one slide in favor of a Seagal joint titled ‘Driven to Kill’ or a Lundgren movie that calls itself ‘The Killing Machine’. See how this works?
Djimon Hounsou is a hired killer named Church and when we first meet Mr. Church he is hanging out in Bangkok Thailand about to kill somebody. Get used to that. A man in Thailand is upset with some evil child prostitute traffickers, as opposed to the nice ones I guess, and he wants some revenge and is using Church as his instrument of this revenge. Good choice my man. Odd thing though, when Church blows up this first crew of people there’s a strange girl named Mae, played by actress Jirantanin Pitakporntrakul, blithely observing him do this thing. Let me tell you that there is nothing more difficult than discussing a movie made in Thailand and attempting to correctly type the names of the actors and actresses in said movie. Please don’t ask me to properly pronounce them.
Regardless, Church is just getting started. First thing he needs is more guns and thus he has tracked down his old friend Jimmy the Brit, played by Kevin Bacon complete with a cockney accent than for no other reason than I supposed KB wanted to give it a go. He didn’t do too badly with it. Anyway, after a spirited chase sequence, because Jimmy is nothing if not a little skittish, and after Church convinces him he has no
intentions of killing him by kicking him in his chest, Church gets his guns. He also has found Mae sneaking up on him at his hiding place. First thing he has to do is get Mae off of that stuff since these evil dudes hook their girls on heroin first, then he would like to get rid of Mae completely but she ain’t going nowhere and instead will attempt to be Church’s conscious in this film. So much for that.
So Church has set up a little gang war between these evil people, just so he can get them in one spot and mow them all down. They don’t like this. They need to find out who is doing this and why. For that matter even Church doesn’t have all the information on the why of this thing he is doing, not that this is going to stop him. Even the guy that hired him has asked him to stop killing people. When Church finds out that all isn’t quite what it seems, he gets upset and kills even more people. Where the hell are the police?
All Church wants to do is set things right, by basically slaughtering half a Thailand, and set up Mae so that she can have every opportunity that life can afford one to have. Until everything gets all weird and stuff. I’m thinking Church is going to have to kill somebody.
I’m pretty sure Djimon Hounsou doesn’t want this for his career, but we need another Straight to DVD action guy. Stone Cold Steve Austin is definitely in the running to be one of the guys, but with Wesley in jail, Jean Claude and Dolph getting older and Seagal getting larger we need another guy and based on ‘Elephant White’ Mr. Hounsou could easily be that guy. This isn’t to say that ‘Elephant White’ is good movie because I’m of the opinion that it’s neither good nor bad, but with his athleticism, charm and acting ability we would be more than happy to welcome Djimon Hounsou into our exclusive club that he probably doesn’t want to be in anyway.
‘Elephant White’ was directed by Prachya Pinkaew, best known for his work with Tony Jaa in films like ‘On Bak’ and one of my favorites, ‘Chocolate’, with the amazing Jeeja Yanin, and if nothing else he knows how to work with a dynamic star, has a fantastic visual eye and the man also knows how to shoot an action sequence. It probably wouldn’t hurt Pinkaew to have some dynamic story telling skills to go along with his dynamic visual eye and his ability to shoot an action sequence, however. The basics of the story in ‘Elephant White’ is almost Action Flick Storytelling 101 in that it features an angry dude slaughtering really, really bad dudes. I mean these people he’s killing have nothing to offer society no matter how the Big Boss (Weeraprawat Wongpuapan) rationalizes how he is doing somebody a favor, but it gets sillier and sillier as the movie goes on with the stockpiling slaughters and the mystical elements, all of which makes this one of the more wacky action flicks we’ve had to deal with in a while. Also, good luck in figuring who Church is and why he feels the need to do any of this.
It also looks as if Pinakaew fell in love with the Big Gun in this one. Since Jeeja Yanin and Tony Jaa never shot anybody in any of those movies they were in, the director more than made up for it with this one. The guns kept getting larger and the death by bullet toll was almost insurmountable. Dare I say the action was at its best when he had his star engaging in hand to hand combat? I think so. Hounsou looks like he’s a pretty athletic guy so in the future one might want to take full advantage of that.
But if the goal was to entertain, then it certainly did that, at least as far as I’m concerned. ‘Elephant White’ moves fast, it’s violent, it’s exciting, it’s bloody, it’s ridiculous, it’s over the top and while we have no clue of Church’s motives, the cause of stomping out child prostitution with a large caliber bullet to the head is a hard one to argue with. I mean you shouldn’t go around shooting people, know what I’m saying? But if you gotta shoot SOMEBODY… Regardless, here’s to Djimon Hounsou sticking around for a while. It’s not a bad thing Mr. Hounsou, seriously.