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Hoedown Showdown
|     review    |     availability     | 
  AKA: Monpleng Luktung F.M.
  Year: 2002
  Director: Bhandit Thongdee
  Cast: Roong Suriya, Looknok Suphaporn, Koong Suthirath, Yodrak Salakjai, Sunaree Rachseema, Dao Mayuri, Chiya Mitchai, Apaporn Nakornsawan
  The Skinny: Over-the-top Thai musical featuring an all-star Luktung (Thai country music) cast. The plot is as conventional as they come, but fluffy performances and the ironic tone of the film make the experience enjoyable.
by LunaSea:
     Along with Molam and Thai-pop, Luktung (literally "music from up-country") is one of Thailand's most popular music genres. It's been influenced by pop, rock, electronica and obviously foreign music. But, one of the reasons of its success is that it always keeps a link to the past. Hoedown Showdown marks something new for Thai Cinema, as it's the first film completely dedicated to the Luktung industry, and features many of the biggest stars of the genre like Roong Suriya, Looknok Suphaporn, and Sunaree Rachseema.
     An aging old man decides to organize a contest, and is helped by popular radio station Luktung F.M. The biggest love of his life has been Luktung, and he wants to find new faces, give them the opportunity to make a career, and continue the tradition of his beloved music. The prize consists of all his savings (1 million Bath - roughly $25,000 US), and it becomes the talk of the town.
     Everybody, from all walks of life, wants to participate. There's a monk who needs money to repair his chapel. Koong (Koong Suthirath) is tired of his father's attempts to force him to become a Likay (Thai Folk Theater) performer. He's interested in Luktung, despite his father hating it. Roong (Roong Suriya) is trying to help his village find the proverbial "cash cow", but so far his ideas haven't been so successful - like his latest, the fruit juice that makes you fart. There's also Looknok (Looknok Suphaporn), called Lamiay (Longan in the subtitles) by her friends, who's trying to wash away her annoying nickname by achieving fame. Everybody has something to give, and something to get from this contest. There's also a hilarious subplot involving a thief who's attempting to steal the prize and the cops who are following him.
     The film's plot is rather conventional. After all, it's just a big excuse to bring the stars on stage and let them sing. The relative success of this film comes from its lighthearted plot, which is so fluffy that you'll soon forget its stupidity. The film spoofs action movies and wire-fu, Buddhism, traditional Thai values, social classes in Thai Society, and much more. The performances are adequate, considering that most of the stars are making their big screen debuts. Some, like Roong Suriya, show good charisma, and seem to have what it takes to become movie stars in the future.
     If you can forgive the movie's obvious commercial intents, you'll find quite a few things to like. Unless you hate Luktung, the approach to watching Hoedown Showdown should be similar to watching one's first Bollywood Comedy. Once you get past the cultural differences, there's something for everyone to enjoy. Hoedown Showdown is like junk food: quick, undemanding, unsophisticated, but ultimately pretty satisfying crap. (LunaSea 2002)
Availability: DVD (Thailand)
Region 0 PAL
Thai Language Track
Dolby Digital 5.1
Removable English & Thai Subtitles
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 Copyright 2002-2017 Ross Chen