The Red Eagle (Insee Daeng)

The last Insee Daeng epic saw Thailand’s then sweetheart Mitr Chaibancha die during its making, falling off a flying helicopter: instant legendary status guaranteed. 40 years later, award-winning director Wisit Sasanatieng (Tears of the Black Tiger, Citizen Dog) resurrects the mythical hero. Not surprisingly, the release has been preceded by plenty of excitement and anticipation, piqued even further by Wisit’s claim that this will be his last film.
Forty years ago, Insee Daeng fought against communist intruders. In 2010, he goes all Gotham on us, hunting corrupted politicians and criminals. Set in a near-future Thailand beset by corruption, chaos and criminality, the story explores the complex relationships between Insee Daeng (Ananda Everingham), Dr. Vasana (Yarinda Bunnag), an activist protesting against a nuclear powerplant, the silvered-tongue prime minister (Pornwut Sarasin), the assassin Black Devil and Pol. Lt. Chart (Wannasingha Prasertkul), who thinks Insee Daeng is just another criminal.
Whether you are going to see this film because of the director, the B100-million-plus budget, or heartthrob Ananda Everingham, what you get is a new benchmark for Thai action movies which blends Siamese style with Hollywood effects . Despite the fast-paced action, Wisit’s directorial identity is clear in every scene, from the use of vivid colors to the dramatic shooting angles. But the characters’ loaded, tragic pasts sometimes drag the plot down with their complexity. It’s perhaps Wannasingha who impresses the most, as the good cop with a hatred for our hero. With plenty of heart-stopping scenes and blood-letting, the 2010 Insee Daeng is Wisit’s cruel answer to the Dark Knight—leave the kids at home.