Chocolate (2008) – [rate 3.5]
If you watch a kung fu movie that manages to impress and entertain with the same force as something like The Matrix (1999), you have to give it extra credit. More so if it was achieved with nothing but conventional means like good stuntwork, choreography and camera action. Chocolate is all that and a bag of chips.
Quickly introducing the characters and their background, the movie makes good haste to get to the good stuff: kung fu fighting of the kind that riles up the audience and gets them cheering for the main character.
The basic premise of Chocolate is simple: a yakuza hotshot and a Thai woman that is also connected get involved. He is forced out of Taiwan, being yakuza, and she remains, pregnant of their daughter. The daughter turns out to be autistic, which makes her hard to raise, but she turn out to have a real knack for picking up on fighting techniques. Soon, occasions arise where she can put her acquired skills to the test.
Don’t expect a whole lot more from the plot than what I just told you and really, with this kind of movie such trivialities would only get in the way. This is pure, unadulterated, uncut kung fu and it is all good. Some fights are humorous, others gut wrenching and some just plain beautiful. The choreography makes great use of the environment and the stuntwork is amazing (though rather painful as the title roll ‘making of’ shots show).
Not for everyone, but if you like watching a good mock fight, this is it.