Return To Murder (Bunohan) review
Matthew Ray | 10 July 2012
The opening scene of Return to Murder (Bunohan) is shot from the perspective of a thai boxer taking a bit of a pasting. It's nothing you haven't seen before but then the director throws you into the ring by shooting in first-person perspective as our hero faces down a clinically savage opponent. When the hits come you kind of feel them and the camera's view even goes blurry as the concussion sets in! And when you realise that this fight is the kind that ends with one of the combatants being taken out in a body bag, then you can't help but get dragged into the action.
But then the director cuts away to a totally different scene of a bloke getting a sports massage - normally this would jar but there's an atmosphere of threat that builds as the two scenes are spliced together and it's shocking if not surprising when a bloody assassination ends one scene and a chaotic ringside rescue, followed by a street machete battle, ends the other. I'll leave it to you to guess which is which...
From the off the fight scenes have the kind of gritty authenticity that only an independent movie could pull off - the moves look real because they the same ones used in real fights. There are no daft 920 spinning 'Van Damme' back kicks because these wouldn't work in a real thai boxing match - your opponent would have too much time to take you apart while you flashed around the ring. (And I know this because Flipside was challenged to a few rounds with ex-World and European Thai Boxer Matti Parks at London's Stars Gym today. Watch this space tomorrow for the full gory story!)
From then on in the film gets a bit arty and the story builds into something more than just a martial arts film. When the fights come they are fascinating and brilliantly shot - just don't expect them to fill the whole running time. The plot revolves around an ungrateful son who's trying to steal his father's beach paradise and turn it into golf courses, while our fighting hero puts his life on the line just to find out his real identity. This film is a window into a strange world of spirits, dodgy dealers and people who have just stopped fitting into the 21st Century, punctuated with some awesome fight scenes. If that sounds like your cup of tea then go grab the DVD now.
Flipside's verdict: 4/5
Return to Murder OUT NOW on DVD and Blu-ray (Universal Pictures UK)