Magnola / 100 Minutes / 2011 / Rated R / Street Date: May 21, 2013
To be fair, the title of this Blu-ray Disc is not a misnomer. Yanin Vismitananda – better known as “Jeeja” – is not someone you’d like to spar with: this lady, with her martial arts prowess and cinematic ability to fly through the air as she chops her enemies to shreds, is full-tilt badass. Unfortunately, the movie here should have been titled ThIs Girl Is Badass and Her Movie Is Super Lame. Jeeja is a knockout (figuratively and literally), but the drama that surrounds her here is tepid at best – it’s enough to take the fun out of the party.
As our film opens, we learn that Jeeja plays a bike messenger named Jukkalan, and that this nice lady with exceptional physical ability makes her money working for anyone who will pay her well. Alas, it turns out the deepest pockets in town belong to rival mobsters, and Jukkalan doesn’t really give a rip because she steals a little from both of them in a grand desire to fund an international trip (in her line of work, she doesn’t travel much). When these dudes find out that they’re getting scammed, they send their best and brightest to take the lady down, and then we get a straight hour of action sequences.
But as zippy and well-choreographed as these matchups might be, there’s no meat to them. This Girl Is Badass is deeply in need of a beating heart, at the very least a little something to connect the dots of its outlandish sparring matches. Movies like this don’t necessarily need to be emotional treatises on the state of the modern world or anything, but This Girl Is Badass is neither dum-dum fun nor deeply rewarding in terms of genre savvy. In short, it doesn’t live up to its own title.