Elephant White mistakes violence for plot

In Cinemas Echoing the style and content of a bad video game, the film seems content with favouring action over an interesting plot.

Djimon Hounsou in Elephant White. Courtesy De Warrenne Pictures
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Director: Prachya Pinkaew
Starring: Djimon Hounsou, Kevin Bacon

The Gladiator actor Djimon Hounsou is mercenary Curtie Church in this action-thriller from the director of Ong Bak. He targets a Bangkok sex trafficking organisation and is hired by the father of a murdered white slave to eliminate them all. However, the job is not what it seems, and Church can only rely on an arms dealer (Kevin Bacon) and a child prostitute called Mae as he fights to survive.

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Echoing the style and content of a bad video game, Elephant White seems content with favouring action over meaningful lines or an interesting plot. Church encounters so many bland, broadly written characters that it is often hard to establish who is a friend and who is a foe. A ludicrous dream sequence (apparently crammed in to show more of Hounsou beating people up) seems to typify the confusing and poorly constructed plot.

As a result, some good actors are left floundering by lines few could deliver convincingly. Bacon is altogether miscast as a British arms dealer, adopting a Jack Sparrow-like accent for the part, and while he has the occasional funny moment with Hounsou, none of it is anywhere near his better work. Hounsou himself merely snorts, broods and reloads his rifle, maintaining zero chemistry with Jirantanin Pitakporntrakul's Mae, and his impressive performance in the fight scenes is hampered by the viewer not caring what's going on.

It seems that without the expertise of Ong Bak star Tony Jaa, director Pinkaew has little to offer in a dreary movie that is more about the body count than anything else.