Charlie's Angels go Thai By Felix Cheong in Bangkok, TODAY
A rip-off that actually has more kicks and skin than the original. That’s the high jinks and lowbrow concept behind Chai-Lai Angels.
The title itself gives the game away: A spoof of Charlie’s Angels (2000) featuring five gorgeous Thai agents named after flowers.
The movie opens the Sawadee Film Festival tonight and will kick off its regular run next Thursday.
The festival is a showcase of six Thai productions, put together by Golden Village and InnoForm Media.
Chai-Lai Angels director Poj Arnon was adamant that he wasn’t committing the cinematic equivalent of plagiarism.
"Even though I was asked to copy the style of Charlie’s Angels," the 38-year-old told TODAY in a recent interview in Bangkok. "I couldn’t reach that point because there’s a big difference between Hollywood and Thai style."
Pointing out that his film was shot for only 35 million baht ($1.5 million), compared to the US$92 million ($147 million) budget for Charlie’s Angels, Poj said: "What’s different about my film is that the girls use a Muay Thai (or kickboxing) fighting style."
Which the actresses certainly used to good effect during the four-month shoot. This is especially evident in an over-the-top — or rather, almost topless - scene in which they wear only towels as they slug it out with the baddies in a downtown shopping mall.
"Yes, it was nerve-wracking," recalled lead actress Bongkoj Kongmalai, 21, a sentiment echoed by co-star Supaksorn Chaimongkol, 23.
Together with Katesarin Akethawatkul, they spoke to TODAY at the Pan-Pacific Hotel yesterday just hours after touching down in Singapore on a visit to promote the film.
Bongkoj, who has appeared in other action thrillers such as Tom Yum Goong(2005), went on to say that even though they were wearing bikinis underneath the towels, they had the towels taped to their chests — just in case.
"But the towels still came off a few times!" she said with a giggle in Thai.
Sustaining bruises and scratches was par for the course not only on that occasion occasion but also during a diving sequence in Phuket when the actresses were dressed in nothing but negligees.
Despite the high skin quotient, both Bongkoj and Supaksorn insisted that Chai-Lai Angels is far from sexploitative.
"It’s just a fun action picture!" they said in unison.
Yeah, right. With eye-candy this good, you can just about forgive the film for its slapdash slapstick