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Vanquisher (Blu-ray Review)

Not too many Thai films are marketed as action-borderline-science fiction these days.  With the exception of the Ong-Bak franchise I can’t really remember any other films to come out of Thailand that were actually memorable or even successful.  The makers of Vanquisher were going to change all that.  Magnolia Films acquired the home video distribution rights.  Did the filmmakers  succeed in their quest to crossover?  Read our review of Vanquisher on Blu-ray and find out. 

Film

“Gunja” is the code name of a female special ops agent with the Royal Thai Police who teams up with Claire, an American CIA agent (who is really a Thai actress), to track down a potential Al-Qaeda member.  Claire has also been sent in to neutralize Gunja and her team known as “Vanquisher.”  Will their paths cross again?

It’s a good thing that I was in on the joke, because all those involved with Vanquisher were certainly not.  I had initially seen the Thai trailer and Vanquisher looked pretty darn cool.  It had a bunch of sexy female special ops agents in stealth gear mowing down the bad guys with their amazing martial arts skills and hi-tech weaponry.  Trailers are also very deceptive.   I honestly cannot tell you what Vanquisher was about.  You’ll have to re-read my lead in paragraph and piece it together.

What I do know is that the Vanquisher contains many scenes that do not make any sense.  The opening of the film has our heroine, in slow motion, swinging a sword with what looks like rain or water droplets in the background.  Uh, okay?  There will be about a half dozen more of these shots throughout the film before it’s over.  This says to me that the filmmakers used these hot Thai chicks as their main selling points. Drench them in water, give them skin tight outfits, a sword, some guns, and voila!  It doesn’t quite work that way.

Oh, and Vanquisher also employs many awkward green screen moments.  I think 65% of Vanquisher was shot on a green screen sound stage.  The effects aren’t any good.  The martial arts aren’t either, with the exception of a couple of nice calculated kicks/punches.  The wire work is really awful, too.  Make no mistake, I am one that is known for liking garbage films everyone once in a while but the fun of that is that those films know that they’re godawful.  Vanquisher takes itself too damn seriously.  Not good.

My film score is quite generous, because I cannot deny that Vanquisher does have some hot Thai women kicking ass, and are soaking wet in certain scenes for no apparent reason.  Call me shallow.

Video

Vanquisher is presented in 1080p 16X9 (1.78:1).  Vanquisher is wildly inconsistent.  Shot in Thailand you would expect that it would look pretty spectacular, because the country gives way to it’s beauty.  Not really.  The shots utilizing green screen are painfully obvious, because of the bad lighting.  In certain night time scenes the background will look gray instead of black.  Colors are okay, especially the greens.  Flesh tones are average, but do represent the majority of the Thai people’s olive complexions. The women look great.  There are a few instances of noise that I detected in those “on location” night scenes which are kind of distracting.  Noise was also present during some of the daylight scenes.  I don’t know what kind of cameras were used to lens Vanquisher, but they need to be given back.  The presentation is kind of ugly, unfortunately.

Audio

Vanquisher is presented in Thai 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio.  Things are not all lost.  Vanquisher Blu-ray sounds great!  There are many gunfights and explosions, and I could hear every spent shell casing land right next to me as I was watching this.  My eyebrows got a little scorched as well.  There were no signs of clipping or distortion that I could detect.  Dialogue was easy to hear, and the surrounds were very aggressive without going overboard.   It rocks!

Special Features

Vanquisher does not offer anything worth of note.  There’s a making-of featurette and your standard EPK (electronic press kit).  The cool international trailer is also included.

  • The Making of Vanquisher
  • Behind the Scenes
  • International Trailer

Final Thoughts

Make no mistake.  Vanquisher is an awful film, but does have a minor bright side.  Hot Thai chicks who kick some butt and a great sounding Blu-ray.  I really do wish that Vanquisher had been a better film.  It does (did) have the perfect recipe for a pretty great action flick.  C’est la vie.

Order Vanquisher on Blu-ray!

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Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

5 Responses to “Vanquisher (Blu-ray Review)”


  1. Aaron Neuwirth

    This is six-degrees of Tony Jaa, but Chocolate and The Protector are awesome Thai Martial Arts films.

  2. Gerard Iribe

    I heard that Chocolate was real good. I was just really let down by Vanquisher. That’s what I get for being seduced so easily by the cover art, trailer, promotional materials, etc.

    Never again.

  3. Aaron Neuwirth

    Chocolate has some pretty fantastic Action scenes.

  4. Sean Ferguson

    Tony Jaa is awesome.

  5. Aaron Neuwirth

    If Born to be Wild 3D had a scene where Tony Jaa came in, yelling, “Where’s My Elephant!” then I could join Gregg in saying it’s my favorite film of the year.