Final Detention
Thailand 2004
Directed by Pongpanij.

Thai movies explore every lowbrow genre of film, so when I saw a Thai Women-in-Prison film, how could I resist? Maybe I could have resisted by recalling Thailand's draconian censorship laws. Another good way would have been to recall that most WIP films are truly terrible.

Death row women are sent to a prison island, where they will be "rehabilitated." First order: "Take them to the showers!" And so the obligatory firehose scene is taken care of almost immediately. They change into the prison garb: short shorts and a half-shirt thata exposes your midriff. What follows are the usual WIP cliches -- cruel torture, rape of prisoners, lots of in-fighting, usually in mud, back breaking labor and escape plans that go wrong.

There's also a plot in there, hanging by a thread. The island is actually supposed to be a "rehabilitation center", not a prison, and the girls are not supposed to be handled violently. Too bad Commander Chart, the man in charge, is a madman who loves to bury people up to their necks, crucify them, or hunt them down and kill them at a whim. And on top of all that, mixed in with the hard core criminal women is one girl who was being shot at by bad guys and escaped them by swimming to a boat which was taking the prisoners to the island!

There is nothing good about this film. Even the dialog is laughable. A typical sample:

Prisoner 1: "What are you thinking of, Am?"

Prisoner 2: "I'm thinking of Amy. She's my sister's age."

Prisoner 1: "Is your sister addicted to drugs, too?"

Prisoner 2: "No, she went insane after she got raped."

Despite having the outward appearance of a WIP film, it is missing the nudity, typically the core exploitative element. Somewhat recognizable on the surface, but completely hollow at its core. At only one point in the film was there the possibility of a revealing shot, this shot was obscured using digital "fogging." The interchangeable cast of girls includes Lek Aiyasoon, Yoko Takano, Chalomjit Junkaj, Thanyaluk Worapimrat (credited here as Thunyaluk Worrapimrut, another reminder of the wildly uneven romanization of Thai names prevalent in the industry) and Amie Roger. I can only assume they put the same amount of thought into starring in this picture as I did in renting it, that is, none whatsoever.

Rating: Not Recommended (Not Recommended)

Posted by Peter Nepstad on March 01, 2006.

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