Yanin Jeeja’s debut performance is an explosive introduction to her physical abilities. Chocolate however has pretty smart concept for a martial arts movie. Zen (Yanin Jeeja) is young woman who through her disability has gained an uncanny amount of environmental awareness and the ability to mimic what she sees.
After growing up watching martial arts movies, and observing the Muay Thai club next to her home, Zen mimics these movements and becomes quite a capable fighter, and has superior reflexes due to her incredible environmental & spacial awareness.
Her mother, Zin, a former member of a Thai organised crime group, is forced to keep distance from Zen’s father Masashi, a Yakuza boss who, after a turf war, has been told never to go near Zin again by the Thai criminal group. When Zin catches Cancer, Zen and her cousin Moom don’t know what to do to be able to afford Zin’s Chemotherapy treatments. They then stumble on a book of people who owe Zin money. Zen then goes out and demands money from these people, usually ending up fighting off her attackers with her superior skill in martial arts.
A different approach to a Martial Arts movie
This movie really is unique for a martial arts film. With a female lead doing all of the ass kicking, Chocoalte is already a minority film in the genre – but having the character as a Autistic woman is something different altogether!
The premise of ‘Crime boss tries to kill an innocent, hero fights for the innocent’ isn’t new – but it is done well. The drama shown behind Zen’s upbringing really helps to set the tone for what her character has gone through, and you really get a sense for the difficulty Autism brings to a child.
The ending of the film I think is quite poetic. At the beginning you hear about Masashi’s love for things wit imperfections. The end when she goes to live with her father (Masashi), despite never meeting him before is really like a completing of the circle. They even end with same quote, with Masashi loving his daughter with her ‘imperfection’.
The Action & Martial Arts
Coming from the makers of Ong Bak, relentlessly intense martial arts action was expected, and it delivered. Yanin Jeeja’s abilities are impressive, and the way she mimicked the moves of the famous fighters is pretty cool to see.
In her first big fight, you can instantly noticed the Bruce Lee stance, the battle cry and the kicks. Interestingly a scene originally was supposed to show bit and pieces from Bruce Lee’s movies as she mimicked his moves – unfortunately these had to be cut due to licensing issues.
Towards the end of the film Zen is fighting a very unusual fighter who moves quite erratically. After copping a bit of a beating, she then picks up his movements, mimics them and defeats him with his own moves. This was a really smart play in the movie as it further develops the concept of how Zen gains her skill.
The fight scene at the very end on the wall of the building (across from the railway line) is, in my opinion the most impressive action of the movie. The way Zen jumps down and up the wall, from sign to sign and over to railway line and back again is so smooth and precise – definitely an all-time classic scene.
Overall the different fighting scenarios in different environments, using different moves inspired Brcue Lee & Tony Jaa (most noticeably) and a range of weapons and fighters with different evels of skill makes this (in similar fashion to Ong Bak) somewhat of an action showreel for Yanin Jeeja.
Do I Recommend it?
It’s a part of martial Arts movie history. While it’s not as big a milestone as Ong Bak, it definitely makes it mark and should definitely be seen by anyone who’s a Martial Arts movie fan.
On Blu Ray –
Region A (US & Canada)
Chocolate on Blu-ray
Region B (UK, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, etc)
Chocolate on Blu-ray (Region Free)
On DVD –
Region 1 (US & Canada)
Chocolate on DVD
Region 2 (UK, Europe, etc)
Chocolate on DVD
Region 4 (Australia, New Zealand, etc)
Chocolate on DVD
or Watch it Online Here
(US & Canada)