Taiwanese film 'Chocolate' is an offering from (more or less) the same team that bought us the two Tony Jaa features 'Ong Bak' & 'Warrior King'. So what we have as a result is a martial arts movie with incredible stunts and fight sequences with basically no safety equipment in use, meaning health insurance wasn't easy to come by for the movies on-screen stars!
What makes Chocolate stand-out from Prachya Pinkaew's (the director) earlier efforts is that the lead protaganist is played by a young female actress called JeeJa Yanin who spent multiple years in training leading to this, her debut feature film. And I can confirm that all the hard work paid off and then some!
The first two or three action scenes play it relatively safe (for the high standards on offer here) and nicely demonstrate JeeJa Yanin's stuntwork and martial arts skills. By the last quarter though you'll be blown away by the sheer physical talent on offer! Indeed, from an action set-piece perspective Chocolate easily equals all this years big Hollywood spectacles and by the final quarter of this movie you'll be gasping for breath (if you'll excuse the tired clichè!). Just when you think its finally over another sequence presents itself, and one that is even better than the last (the final one in the film is INCREDIBLE, believe me)!
Though the story is probably the weakest aspect of the movie it isn't without functionality, and JeeJa Yanin's lead character is rather quite engaging (along with some of the other characters). Clearly the actress has talent elsewhere other than her physical abilities, and I look forward to seeing what she has to offer in the future.
As for the DVD product itself this single disc release contains clean & clear picture with Taiwanese language Dolby Digital 2.0 & 5.1 surround sound options with good English subtitles. No English dubbed track is on offer for those of you who either can't read or detest being made to (I don't buy into the argument about subtitles distracting from one's concentration on the picture. It carries with it the feeble cry of desperation to detract from the truth that many peope don't like being made to read or can't read altogether). Multiple featurettes on different aspects of making the movie are included, as well as deleted scenes and bloopers & out-takes (amongst a generous amount more I might add). A wonderful animated movie adds to the presentation.
Overall, Chocolate is a wonderful martial arts action film that fans of the genre should enjoy. However, like the previous reviewers have stated this film is likely to remain fairly obscure in the grand scheme of things with its bigger brothers Ong Bak and Warrior King (along with their bigger profile leading man) taking more of the mainstream attention. Its a shame, because as far as I'm concerned Chocolate is a better film overall to both those movies, and one that can be enjoyed on a regular basis.
Four out of five. Highly recommended.