If you happened across The Samurai of Ayothaya and missed the terrible opening expository narration, you might think you found an awesome martial arts movie about a bunch of Thai Freddie Mercury impersonators in a Battle Royale situation.
Sadly, you did not. You instead found a terrible mix of a military thriller and a martial arts historical drama.
There’s nothing to recommend Ayothaya, except possibly its under two hour runtime, but the script’s the worst part of it. Every moment, every line, is either foreshadowed or just generally predictable. Director Watin really likes to speed up and slow down the film for emphasis, just in case you miss the utterly obvious events transpiring onscreen. If there were anything good about Ayothaya, Watin’s approach might suggest disgust for the viewer. But no… his filmmaking appears to be entirely earnest in its awfulness.
Lead Seigi Ozeki apparently got the job based on his bangs–he lets them do most of his acting. They don’t do a good job.
Watin’s not just bad at directing actors or its martial arts fight scenes (which are awful too), he’s generally incompetent at composition too. Chuchart Nantitanyathada’s weak photography doesn’t help either. All of Ayothaya is glossy, with hard bright lights. The film’s ostensibly going for realism; not as far as the lighting apparently. Watin’s trying to make it all look so cool and it’s impossible when the actors can’t even react naturally.
Ayothaya isn’t quite Ed Wood… but only because of CG and a budget.
Directed by Nopporn Watin; written by Watin, Thanatat Kongthong, Thanawat Thirayaowapapong and Viroj Sukchu; director of photography, Chuchart Nantitanyathada; edited by Sunshine Manooratana; music by Paphatsin Ketawongwat and Padej Boonlon; production designer, Anan Wantippa; produced by Salinee Phakdeephol; released by Mahagaap.
Starring Seigi Ozeki (Yamada Nagamasa), Kanokkorn Jaicheun (Jumpaa), Sorapong Chatree (Phra Khruu), Winai Kraibutr (King Naresuan), Thanawut Ketsaro (Khaam) and Buakhao Paw Pramuk (Ai-Seua).