by Lewis Manalo
Not having heard of it before, I found this gem at my local Chinatown DVD shop under the title Pirate Fight. It wasn’t a great risk at $9.95, but my gamble paid off. The Queens of Langkasuka is a period fantasy film set a legendary Southeast Asian kingdom. The queens of the title are trying to fight off invaders, coming from all sides and who’ve aligned themselves with freakin’ pirates. (Those damn pirates!) And there’s some ocean wizardry and ninjas and samurai and canon warfare thrown in for the heck of it.
The production design is lush as all hell, and the story unfolds with all the sprawl that you’d expect from an epic. I’m talking literature, yo. Like Homer, dude. Like, Manas. That kind of sprawl may not be for the plebeians who think every film needs to follow Joseph Campbell’s hero cycle, but if you have any concept of the ring structures of ancient classics, you’ll be stoked that there’s a film that feels like it instinctually stumbles into them.
Those of you Thai film fans who’ve seen Born to Fight and Ong Bak 2 will recognize Dan Chupong, who dazzles in a supporting part as a kris-swinging Langkasukan soldier. He fights ninjas. For those of you who don’t follow Thai action, this is a great place to start – if you can find a copy of the film. I don’t advocate bootlegs or nothing, but if you don’t have a Chinatown close by, I wish you the best of luck.