Chai Lai Angels: Dangers Flowers (2006)
Hi all, Nate here. Yes, this is a foreign (Thai) rip-off of the 1970s/2000s American property Charlie's Angels, but you could pretty much guess that from the title and the dvd box art up there. Where did I get this? Paid a sweet dollar for it when my local Blockbuster closed up shop. Does it have English subtitles? Yes, thank the stars. Is it any good? Meh, if you like “quality film-making” or “intelligent scripts”, then no, it sucks donkey ass. But if you just want to watch pretty Asian girls punch guys in the face for 90 minutes while wearing the latest fashions (for 2006...), then yes, it's pretty darn awesome. I'm assuming you know which camp I'm in.
The “plot” is convoluted, but you shouldn't worry about it too much as things happen so fast and furious that you can safely just sit back and enjoy the insane ride without thinking too hard about it. Just know that the Chai Lai Angels are superspies with codenames that are all flowers (unlike the snakes of Tarantino's Deadly Viper Assassination Squad...). Rose, Hibiscus, Lotus, Spadix, Poy-sian, though the names don't correspond to any unique character traits, sadly. This movie is just one long, long, nearly two hours long series of back-to-back action scenes, broken up by little snippets of talky stuff where no one is shooting or leg-whipping anyone (yawn).
The first action scene is on an airliner as we see some goons hassling the traveling-alone 10-year old daughter of some scientist guy. The girl ends up stabbing the the guy in the hand and then all hell breaks loose as it seems that some of the flight attendants are Chai Lai Angels and some of the passengers are goons-in-disguise. There might also be some policemen here, but I'm not sure, there's just too much going on here to tell for sure what's happening. They really should have introduced the girls before the first action scene, that would have been helpful, these are all just nameless faces at this point. It's also painfully clear that the McG/Drew Barrymore 2000/2003 Charlie's Angels films were the spirit animals of this one, they all share the same (over)reliance on flashy, glitzy images and crazyfast editing cuts. You can't tell what's going on half the time and when the action does slow down for a second, it still doesn't make any sense. I think I'm just getting old. Still, hot Asian chicks! I give this scene a Batshitcrazy Factor of 6.7, mostly because it's on an airplane.
Hey, no phones while in the air.
The second action scene is a home invasion and a car chase, as the little girl's dad is shot dead while resisting his kidnapping. I assume they'll explain all this soon (maybe, no). Another Chai Lai Angel shows up wearing a black leather sex worker cosplay costume, knocks over some furniture, dodges some bullets, and then jumps in her styling Honda Prelude to chase down the bad guy's brokeass Jeep. Hey, they drive on the wrong side of the road in Thailand? This is actually a fantastic car chase, with pit maneuvers, side-swiping, and even a game of chicken where no one wins, all along a windy, curvy country road. The hot girl wins and blows up the bad guy's Jeep, but he escapes (?). I give this scene a Batshitcrazy Factor of 2.1, because it really is just a standard action movie set-piece when you think about it, even with the hot girl.
Some weird camera angles in this movie.
Why drive when you can shoot?
The third action scene is in Bangkok where the goons kidnap the little girl from her school, despite the fact that all five Chai Lai Angels are “protecting” her. In the next ten minutes of frantic action, all set along a busy highway, one girl in a fake mustache chases Mr T's van in a three-wheel taxi cab, another girl leaps from a convertible (driven by another Angel dressed as Beyonce from Austin Powers) onto the roof of the van, and then back off the van onto a motorcycle driven by a cop (maybe). Another girl shoots an anti-tank rocket (!!!) at random, blowing up some innocent dude's minivan. Someone bites someone's hand. The girls do most (all?) of their own stunts, and not just the shooting and karate stuff, but actually leaping from moving cars and hanging off bumpers. In the end the bad guys escape with the little girl, because the Angels suddenly decide to obey traffic rules and stop for a train crossing when the train is still minutes away. This scene gets a furious Batshitcrazy Factor of 14.9, because damn, that was messed up.
Where's my insurance waiver?
Whoa, you got a permit for that?
The fourth action scene is the kid in the gangster Kingpin's office building. The little girl is, of course, a pintsized ninja and puts up a wicked fight. This karate showdown in a hallway actually looks like a real fight, with none of that Hollywood stuff where a 40-pound 3-foot tall kid can beat up a grown man, even though she ends up doing so in the end. Minininja is eventually subdued by the Kingpin himself, who is hot guy with the most perfect face imaginable. Batshitcrazy Factor of 5.7, because I've grown weary of this trope.
Fine, whatever, just lay there.
The Kingpin (have my babies!).
The fifth action scene starts at a day spa, where the Angels are getting massages and a wicked fight breaks out with the goons. Escalator fight in towels! OMG, I don't know who any of these people are! The little girl's traitorous step-mom is here? Why are there so many characters in this movie? Some cops with fabulous hair show up? Ninjas in suits and ties? Why is that one girl shooting a gun backwards between her legs? How much gaffer's tape did they have to use to keep those white terrycloth towels on? OMG is that a dwarf??? Is the dwarf a kung-fu master??? IS THAT A TRANNY NINJA WITH THREE STOOGIES HAIR?????? What the fuck, Thailand? Batshitcrazy Factor of 4,865.3, because I have always suspected that when my wife takes a spa day with her friends from work they end up in a half-naked karate fight on an escalator.
So many elbows!
I can barely see the harness wires.
The sixth action scene is the little girl's villainous step-mom chasing some handsome policeman around an empty parking garage for a reason that is both never really explained and would surely make no damn sense even if it was. He leaps up and hangs from the roof, she chases him in reverse, no one seems to notice all this. The “so-called ugly” Chai Lai Angel roars in on a motorcycle and saves the hot dude cop and they fall in love, yay? Batshitcrazy Factor of 1.8, because, once again, this is just a standard action movie set-up with just better looking people.
The cop has angry eyebrows.
Saving her future boyfriend (really).
The seventh action scene is actually just one of the Angels named Rose (the main one) getting engaged to some poor floppy-haired sap named Gus who just got a job at a bank and has no idea that his out-of-his-league girlfriend is a secret agent vigilante killer, and he gives her a teenytiny diamond because their love transcends earthly tokens. And she says Yes! Squee! Oh and she has a right-driver, pimped-out, old-school 1960's VW Bug, which I would murder a bus full of nuns and orphans for. And then Rose goes home alone and the movie turns into a softcore porn music video as she puts on some electronika dub-step club music, strips down to her undies and dances around all sexylike because she's just so happy to be with Gus. I don't have any idea what is happening but I can't hear you over the sound of my exploding erection. Then she tells the other girls she's sooooo in love and stuff and they go to the mall to shop for dresses. Batshitcrazy Factor of 0, because it was lovely and sweet and Imma gonna cry.
Oh, Gus, you're the best.
Really, Pulp Fiction dance?
The eighth action scene starts when a bunch of bounty hunters hired by the Kingpin come after the Chi Lais in their swanky suburban house. A house that is so sparsely decorated and immaculately clean that I'm sure it's a real estate agency's show property rented for the movie shoot. Is this just a paper-thin excuse to have the girls jump into the huge lighted swimming pool and get all wet-t-shirt-contest on us? Yes, I hope so! ErectionerectionerectionERECTION... Do they fight back with kitchen spoons and spatulas because they've run out of knives and swords? Uh, yes, ok. Holding-breath-underwater ninja fight!!! The Chai Lais have the lung capacity of well-edited movie stars, I'm not impressed. Cross-dressing ninja fight with an umbrella!?! Is that black man Billy Blanks from those 90s infomercials? Is that a girl with a sword and a bad wig? Why are they at a knock-off EuroDisney Thailand now? So much wire-work, it's like the opening ceremonies of a stuntman convention up in here. Did the girls just get locked up in a birdcage? Did they capture her boyfriend? Jesus Christ this movie has done come off the rails. This action scene ends in a driving rain storm with a tank. Yes, a tank. I know. I don't even know why I care anymore. Batshitcrazy Factor of Googolplex-times-Infinity, because movie.
Who gave them a tank?
The ninth action scene is on an rocky island off the coast where the goons are speedboating out to find some rare and extremely valuable oyster pearl called the “Queen of Andaman”. It's possible that this is what the “plot” has always been about, trying to get this pearl back when only the little girl (or her dad?) knows where it's been hiding. Or something, who cares, because the Chai Lais are here and they're wearing skimpy bikinis and swimming underwater a lot. Knife fight on the beach in swimsuits, omg I love being able to type a sentence like that! Yeah baby! Love that blue-green sea water, very hyptonizingly beautiful, I can see why tourists flock to the Thai coasts to scuba dive. Batshitcrazy Factor of 3.2, because yawn bored by now, nothing to see here, move along.
The pearl glows?
Use SPF 50!
We jump right into the tenth action scene at the hour mark, as the cops show up at the Kingpin's opulant mansion, but he isn't worried, he's got the pearl and he's going to auction it off to the highest bidder. He actually has a pretty solid legal case to sell it, salvage rights and all that, but it doesn't matter because the little girl's I-thought-he-was-dead father shows up now after being gone for 99% of the movie. The Chai Lais also appear from off screen and there's a throw-down. The Kingpin has a son with down syndrome? What? Who cares, gunfight in the mansion! I don't know who anyone is anymore, especially the guys, the henchmen look just like the copdudes, and there's just too much shooting and running and hair-pulling. It's all rather boring, however, nothing we haven't seen before, so it gets a Batshitcrazy Factor of just 2.25, they better pick up their game, this movie shouldn't do “generic John Woo shootout”.
Try aiming better.
You guys, too.
The eleventh action scene is a continuation of the last as the Chai Lais chase the Kingpin's car as he flees with the supernatural glowing pearl thingie and the increasingly-annoying little girl as a hostage. Oh and the evil stepmom shoots Rose's boyfriend Gus dead because we just can't have nice things in this movie. Flashback scene of them walking and loving and being cute awwww... Fuck it, car chase with guns!!! The Kingpin's driver is a cross-eyed pregnant wino who sounds like Bette Midler? What? Oh, the psychopath tranny is named King Kong? That's her actual name? Movie? The car chase leads to a foot chase in some random office building with guns but no one can seem to hit the ass end of a brickwall so what's the point? Wait, what, the pearl needs to be returned to the sea or it will explode and destroy the whole city? I, I, what? Rose shoots the Kingpin in the head a few times and the girls get the pearl back and the oceans are saved (call the Octonauts!). Batshitcrazy Factor of a measly 4, because the Kingpin clearly threw this fight.
Wacky eyes and King Kong.
Rose is super pissed.
We end with a sequel set-up as the Bosley-Stand-in assigns the Chai Lai girls to hunt down Osama Bin Laden, who is apparently living in Thailand. Really. Was there a sequel? I'll have to google that. Ok, I did and there was no sequel. Oddly, though, the last few minutes of this movie seem to be footage from (maybe, spitballing) the planned sequel that started shooting but never was finished? Or maybe this was just footage shot for this film but cut out in editing for some reason? Then why did they tack it on to the end, completely out of context? It's not a bad action scene, with the girls in white fighting some goons on the beach with heavy weapons, it would have made a pretty excellent opening scene (or slotted in anywhere, really, plot doesn't matter here). Very weird way to end the movie.
I would watch this movie.
Seriously, maybe you should try aiming.
Some general notes..
There are five Angels, but there's really only enough screen time and script work for three. Rose is the strongest character and most of the action/plot is driven by her actions, she can stay as-is. Hibiscus has by far the most personality, she's both the ugly duckling and the comedy relief, but also the only Angel who seems comfortable with the fighting stuff (imdb tells me she's a legit taekwondo champion, easy to tell). The other three girls, Lotus, Spadix, and Poy-sian, are essentially mirror images of each other, none of them have anything in their characters or personalities that really set them apart, and it's even hard to tell which is which when the fists are flying and the guns are blazing. Should have rolled them into one character, movie would have felt less bloated and more time could have been spent with Rose and Hibiscus and the shambling zombie of a plot.
Hey, me too, back in 1993 while on Spring Break.
Only your bangle earrings can stay.
The numerous “street scenes” are a glorious slice of everyday urban life in Thailand circa 2006. Behind the pretty girls racing cars and shooting guns, the normal people go shopping and run late for work, sometimes they even point at the actresses and the camera crew. The cars, the clothes, the billboards, it's a colorful swirl of SE Asian culture and Western elements, all fused together in the very cosmopolitan city of Bangkok. I see why people like to visit Thailand.
Lots of shots filmed in the streets.
Is that a girl dancing in a bubble?
And finally, I'm not at all sure what sort of censorship laws/rating rules are in effect in Thailand's movie industry, but this movie is chock full of blood and violence and head-shots and graphic executions, but there's not a single nipple to be seen. Sorry, James :(.
But there's some big (fake) hair.
Hi. gigglegiggle the pretty girl waved at me...
Written in July 2015 by Nathan Decker.
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