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Musings from the Edge of Forever

Note: This blog expresses only the opinions of the blog owner,
and does not represent the opinion of any organization or blog
that is associated with RONIN ON EMPTY.

Ride of the Tom Yum Goong Cowboys

Tears of the Black Tiger

Subtitled in some markets as a “Spicy Thai Western,” Tears of the Black Tiger declares its intentions almost immediately. Early on in the film, the protagonist successfully shoots a hiding villain  in an impressively circuitous, Rube Goldbergian fashion. Immediately thereafter, the following words appear onscreen: “Did you catch that? If not, we’ll play it again!” The firing of the bullet is then replayed in slow-motion, showing the trajectory of the bullet as it ricochets off several items before hitting its unfortunate mark. From the get-go, this film lets you know what you’re in for as an audience member.

I first watched Tears of the Black Tiger on Netflix Instant and was immediately taken with the film. However, when I reached the film’s climax, something seemed terribly wrong. The film ended on a strange note, one that not seemed tonally inconsistent with what came before, but left a few dangling plot threads as well plot. A quick check of IMDB and Wikipedia confirmed my suspicion and reminded me of a long-forgotten controversy in Asian cinema – the film had been re-edited by (surprise, surprise) Harvey Weinstein’s Miramax. Why Netflix decided to run this version, which apparently never had a DVD release of its own anyway was more than a little puzzling.

Well, have no fear, Thai cinema fans! Magnolia films released an uncut DVD awhile back, and I finally got my hands on it. It’s a better film, restoring not only the correct ending, but a bunch of little touches that Miramax inexplicably excised.

Check out my review here for more details on the film and Magnolia’s DVD

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