Farang 2023 Movie Scene Nassim Lyes as Sam trying to fight off two attackers with knives and machetes

Farang AKA Mayhem! [2023]

What can I say, every time I see a new gritty French action thriller, I simply can’t resist it. The urge is stronger than me, driven by all the great movies I’ve seen in the past. There’s something special about these movies. They’re not afraid to show things how they actually are, in the real world. And yet, they’re also not afraid to add over-the-top twists and even more over-the-top action on top of this authentic layer. And the movie we’re going to be talking about today is no exception. Farang AKA Mayhem! is an extremely brutal French action thriller set in the exotic country of Thailand. The story is quite flimsy but the action scenes are excellent, the cinematography alluring, and the setting dreamy.

We will be following Sam, a muscular and tough criminal who just got out of jail, determined to change his life. However, when his old gang pals start pushing him around, he will flee to Thailand. There, trouble will find him again and this time he won’t be able to run away from it. So, we’ve got a standard-issue story of a dangerous man pushed to fight back. The title of the movie, Farang, refers to the somewhat offensive Thai word for a foreigner. At this point, I should tell you that there’s a television show of the same name (Farang 2017) that has nothing to do with this movie. To be more precise, it has nothing to do with this movie but it features an awfully similar story.

I haven’t watched it yet but it looks okay. So, you might want to check it out if you’re looking for an exotic crime thriller. To get back to the movie at hand, Farang’s director is Xavier Gens, a man behind not just Frontière(s) but also Hitman and Cold Skin. I always considered him a horror movie director and he did not disappoint with this movie. The fights are ferocious, bloody and nasty. And they get progressively better over time. Comparisons to The Raid: Redemption are no surprise since Xavier worked with Gareth Evans, who directed that movie, on the stunts here. And they were absolutely savage.

The final scene, which I’m not going to spoil for you, includes one move so vicious that I gasped and whinced. So, if you’re looking for blood, you’ve come to the right place. On the other hand, the rest of the movie feels awfully superficial. I think that one scene describes it best. When Sam arrives in Bangkok we see him atop of a huge unfinished building looking over the city. Why he was up there, we don’t know. I mean, we do know, it’s because now we get the sweeping wide shot of the city, perfect for the trailer. A definition of style-over-substance and the same goes for the rest of the story with its sometimes painfully forced elements trying to elicit emotions from the viewer.

The very last scene was actually the worst one and I simply turned off the movie midway through it. So, Farang is definitely a flawed movie that feels more like a video game than a regular movie. And yet, there’s enough meat on the bones here to warrant a viewing. Especially if you’re a fan of the genre. We will also touch upon several interesting subjects that could’ve been turned into something more potent. A couple of months ago, I watched the DW documentary A Shady Side of Paradise – Sex Tourism in Thailand and it absolutely rocked me. I watched it on YouTube but it has been removed since.

You can check out this Reddit thread for more info and apparently, somebody uploaded it to Twitter. It’s a product of a two-year investigation and it deserves your attention. Moving on, Farang stars Nassim Lyes, who actually was the French Junior kickboxing championship. He was rock-solid with his rock-solid abs, along with the rest of the cast. Nassim was also in another French crime thriller, Overdose, directed by one of my favorite directors Olivier Marchal. However, that movie turned out to be quite bad, so I do not recommend it. You would be better off checking out some of Marchal’s older movies like Les Lyonnais and Rogue City

Director: Xavier Gens

Writers: Magali Rossitto, Xavier Gens, Guillaume Lemans

Cast: Nassim Lyes, Loryn Nounay, Olivier Gourmet, Vithaya Pansringarm, Sahajak Boonthanakit

Fun Facts: After seeing how production can be streamlined while directing Gangs of London, Xavier Gens decided to make a movie using those techniques. This is why he brought with him Jude Poyer, who served as stunt coordinator for the series.


IMDb Link: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt19319352/

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