18 August 2010 | BA_Harrison
You can't judge a DVD by its cover.
A close study of the moody DVD cover art for Hard Gun, which depicts its sharp-suited stars Panna Rittikrai and Tony Jaa brandishing guns in front of a grimy cityscape, reveals the use of some sneaky Photoshop work to disguise the true nature of the film inside: Jaa's image is lifted from another movie entirely (probably Ong Bak—the same portrait shot was also used for the cover of Jaa's debut, Spirited Warrior), the suits and guns have been digitally painted, and the whole thing has been given some slick metallic typography to give a contemporary, hard-edged feel to the design.
The small, grainy screen shots on the reverse of the box give a much better idea of what to expect: they show Rittikrai and Jaa in more casual gear and sporting embarrassingly dated hair styles, and reveal that the setting for the film is not downtown Bangkok, but rather a dusty provincial town of the kind inhabited by toothless simpletons, gambling layabouts and drunken wife-beaters. But even these crappy images cannot fully prepare viewers for the turgid mess that is Hard Guns...
According to the DVD's synopsis, Panna and Tony play members of a desperate gang of thieves who are forced into hiding after a robbery goes wrong; when the police launch a raid on their hide-out, the pair are forced to make a bid for freedom, and in the ensuing battle, Panna's 'brother' is shot and killed. Narrowly escaping the clutches of the law themselves, the duo plan to take revenge on Pitak, the cop who fired the fatal bullet.
But whilst this all sounds like fairly exciting stuff, what the copy conveniently neglects to mention is that 90% of the film actually revolves around Pitak's return to his home town, where he is reunited with his father, hangs out with his sister Ann and 'brother' Lau, and gets involved in all sorts of comical shenanigans, including brawling and competing with a local gang, gambling, and having bicycle races. The revenge aspect only kicks in towards the end of the film, by which time most people will have been driven almost insane by the mind-numbingly awful Benny Hill-style, sped up comedy.
Rittikrai and Jaa finally make their move, kidnapping Ann and forcing Pitak and his father to attempt a daring rescue, which ultimately leads to a climactic fight between Pitak and Jaa atop a rocky hill; this allows the Ong Bak star to finally show off his array of acrobatic and martial arts skills, which are very impressive, but still not enough to make up for all that has gone before.