Knockout (2010)
By: Devon B. on May 15, 2012  | 
Optimum (UK) | Region B | 1.85:1, 1080p | Thai DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 | 106 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Director: Panna Rittikrai, Morakot Kaewthanee
Starring: Kerttisak Udomnak, Supasorn Chaimongkol, Sorapong Chatree, Kazu-Patrick Tang, Panna Rittikrai
Screenplay: Dojit Hongthong, Jonathon Siminoe
Country: Thailand
External Links
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It says on the cover of Knockout that it's from the director of Ong Bak: The Beginning. Don't worry, it's not Tony Jaa, but rather the super awesome Panna Rittikrai, the man behind the action for Ong Bak and Warrior King, and who directed the spectacular Born to Fight.

With Knockout it's once again back to the very basics for the plot. A fight team, who call themselves "Fight Club" compete against another team for the chance to go to Hollywood. Fight Club win, but at their celebration party they're drugged and robbed and one of their group gets abducted. The film then flashes back to the night before where the party host was rude to the caterer. These flashback "reveals" pop up a few times, and they're annoying and confusing. Once we get back to the present, the group start getting attacked. Fight Club try to work out what's going on, but I'm sure the viewer will be well ahead of them and has long since realised they're doing an exclusive recreation of The Running Man.

Despite having a plot that could've been written by anyone capable of picking up a pen, Knockout manages to get its story muddled in places, usually thanks to the flashback expositions which sometimes have no obvious bearing on the present moment. Muddling up the story may have been an intentional distraction to try to divert viewers away from some rather massive plot holes, but if so it didn't work because I noticed like 18 of them. There's not really anything in this movie that makes sense, from a poorly thought out betting system for the villains through to a "surprise" twist that raises more questions than it could ever answer. Acting ability clearly wasn't a requirement to get cast in Knockout, and if you thought the comedic relief was bad in Ong Bak, brace yourself 'cause this one's is going to physically hurt. The comedy is very, very broad. While watching the film I started to wonder if there's a single subtle person in Thailand. By the time a guy who seems to be channelling Tim Curry from The Rocky Horror Picture Show got in a fight, I was convinced there couldn't be. Not a one. Like its cast, Knockout is also painfully heavy handed at times.

Quality storytelling isn't what people will be watching Knockout for anyway, it's the fights and stunts, and good God does it deliver on that front. Stick with it for the first half hour which only has a few stunt moments, because after the set up it's one great action scene after another. The fights utilise a bunch of different styles, and some of the fights work better than others, but most of them are excellent. The stunts are always impressive, and for sheer scale the movie isn't likely to be surpassed soon. Knockout is to martial arts what Braindead is to splatstick, such a massive achievement that I can't imagine how Rittikrai could ever top it. Of particular note is a guy that looks like 7 from Slipknot who has a new take on fire fighting and a fight up a building frame – though this later one does reveal a major road that's right near the supposedly isolated Fight Club group. I was thinking I hadn't seen anything that rivalled THE MOST AWESOMEST STUNT EVER from Born to Fight, but Rittikrai was definitely saving a massive "Holy fuck!" moment for one of the final fights. It may not top THE MOST AWESOMEST STUNT EVER, but it's still really goddamn impressive.

Knockout is required viewing. No exceptions.
The print is sharp and clear and clean, but it looks a bit flat. This may be partially due to the lighting, because it looks much better when it moves to daylight exteriors. It's not a bad transfer by any means, but didn't awe me like the film itself did. I would guess the problem lies with the source, not the transfer, since Thai films aren't often dazzling in appearance.
There's a choice between Thai LPCM 2.0 or DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 tracks. I'm not sure why Optimum have these LPCM tracks – who's choosing them over the 5.1 mixes? There's an oddly muted moment and some distortion on both tracks, and neither one is fantastic. There's a bit of surround to the 5.1 and some nice bass thumps, but I kept thinking I'd accidentally turned on the 2.0 because the mix was so front heavy. Again, I'd blame the source rather than the representation here.
Extra Features
There's the trailer, which nearly gave me an aneurism it got me so excited when I first saw it; a series of short interviews with Rittikrai and some of the stars; plus nearly 12 minutes of B-roll footage. This is just raw behind the scenes footage, but I don't mind that with Rittikrai movies because you get extra looks at some of the stunts and the fights.
The Verdict
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
If action were sugar, Knockout could give the whole world diabetes. Despite its many, many flaws in everything that's not an action set piece, for the unbelievable immensity of the project it gets a near perfect score.

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