AKA: Maximum Crash
Director: Wych Kaosayananda
Writer: Wych Kaosayananda
Producer: Wych Kaosayananda
Cast: Dustin Nguyen, Scott Adkins, Sahajak Boonthanakit, Gary Daniels, Prinya Intachai, Kane Kosugi, Ammy Chanicha, Steven Clarke, Natalie Lorence, Yuhkoh Matsuguchi, Damian Mavis, Charlie Ruedpokanon, Ron Smoorenburg
Running Time: 90 min.
By Zach Nix
Zero Tolerance is the latest actioner from director Wych Kaosayananda (Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever). However, one must familiarize them selves with the film’s interesting production history in order to fully appreciate and understand it. Zero Tolerance was previously completed and released only in Vietnam under the title of Angels. The film was designed to be a slow burning drama with action scenes peppered throughout it.
Unfortunately, Kaosayananda found it difficult to sell his film to distributors because Angels was more of a drama than an action film. Therefore, Kaosayananda decided to add action star Scott Adkins (Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning) into the mix for marquee value and to reshoot and re-edit the entire film in order to craft more of a stream lined actioner that would interest buyers. This re-edited version, entitled Zero Tolerance, is the cut of the film that has been released to the rest of the world.
Few action films undergo such re-editing and re-labeling as Kaosayananda’s latest. Therefore, Zero Tolerance’s drastic re-edit and added star power of Scott Adkins should be enough to pique action fans’ interests. Unfortunately, action fans will find nothing but disappointment with this new Thai production. All of Zero Tolerance’s post-release meddling has done nothing but waste an otherwise excellent cast comprised of Dustin Nguyen (The Rebel), Sahajak Boonthanakit (Only God Forgives), and Gary Daniels (City Hunter).
When a female corpse is uncovered in the waters of Bangkok, Thailand, resident detective Peter (Sahajak Boonthanakit) identifies her as Angel, his goddaughter. Peter notifies her biological father, Johnny (Dustin Nguyen), of the unfortunate news and vows to help Johnny uncover her killer. The two tear their way through pimps and drug pushers in search of the truth, only to find their quest complicated by pushers Steven (Scott Adkins) and Sammy (Gary Daniels).
Even though Zero Tolerance’s plot sounds simplistic and straightforward, Kaosayananda’s film is anything but. Zero Tolerance is an overly complicated and dull revenger thriller burdened by confounding editing choices and unnecessary characters. The film’s notable re-edit has done nothing but harm what was otherwise a mostly dramatic actioner. It’s a shame that Angels was re-edited, as it would be nice to see Kaosayananda’s original cut of the film attached to a future DVD release of Zero Tolerance in order to compare and contrast the two.
Nguyen is the protagonist of the picture. However, one will have difficulty figuring this out based on the film’s editing and introduction of the character several scenes into the movie. It doesn’t help that Nguyen’s performance is extremely frustrating as well. Nguyen showcases intense emotion during some scenes, but otherwise acts emotionless and dull throughout the rest of the picture. When Nguyen is told that his daughter has died, he barely seems to care at all. Nguyen’s search for his daughter’s killer is in no way personal, believable, or engaging. He simply mumbles his way through dialog and than brutally murders people every once in awhile.
The most confounding addition of Zero Tolerance comes in the form of action star Scott Adkins. It’s clear that Adkins was added purely for marquee value. His character serves no true purpose within the film other than to add two extra action scenes to the mix and to draw in action fans expecting a film to star one of contemporary action cinema’s greatest stars. Adkins must appear on screen for less than 10 minutes. He barely constitutes as a character and does nothing but overly complicate an already confounding revenge thriller.
Boonthanakit gives the best performance of the film as Angel’s loyal godfather. He plays co-lead to Nguyen and conveys a sense of determination in his quest that seems lacking in even Nguyen’s scenes. It’s a shame that Adkins is advertised as one of the film’s stars while Boonthanakit, who plays a major role in the film, is reduced to purely a name on the film’s poster. Gary Daniels also appears in a small dramatic role as a pimp previously involved in Angel’s life. What remains of Daniels’ scenes within this re-edit does not constitute much. Action fans should also not expect for Daniels to participate in any of the film’s action, as his role is purely dramatic in nature. Kane Kosugi (Tekken 2: Kazuya’s Revenge), also advertised on the film’s poster, literally appears in one scene alongside Adkins. That Kosugi is advertised within the film at all is unbelievable.
Zero Tolerance’s few shootouts are particularly bloody and quite exciting, although few and far between. It’s clear that Angels was envisioned as a mostly dramatic film peppered with action scenes. Therefore, only two major action sequences from Angels, along with two additional action sequences added from the reshoots, constitute the film’s action quota. The most notable addition to Zero Tolerance, and arguably the biggest take away of the film’s meandering experience, is a one on one showdown between Nguyen and Adkins. Even though their fight is entirely pointless, Nguyen and Adkin’s final throw down will give action fans something to talk about.
Zero Tolerance is a fascinating and sad reminder of the woes of distribution and marketing. While far from perfect, it’s clear that Kaosayananda’s originally envisioned Angels was a personal and dramatic actioner that was near to the director’s heart. Unfortunately, Kaosayananda had to compromise his vision in order to get Angels sold to the rest of the world. Therefore, his mostly dramatic film was cut down to a mere hour and a half, retitled, and turned in to more of a streamlined action picture that would pique action fan’s interest, especially with the inclusion of Adkins. The saddest truth of them all is that Zero Tolerance’s post-production woes are more fascinating than the film itself. What remains of Kaosyananda’s Angels is an extremely dissatisfying revenge thriller plagued by weak editing and poor direction.
Zach Nix’s Rating: 3/10