Muay Thai Warrior aka Yamada Samurai Ayothaya

Samurai of Ayothaya is based partially on true evetsn in Ayothaya and tells the story of historical figure Yamada Nagamasa or ‘White Face’ as he is known to some of the villagers.  In history, Yamada later become a governor in Ayothaya.

Yamada is a Japanese mercenery who is betrayed by his leader and almost killed but his rescued by Ayothaya fighters.  While Ayothaya is friends with the Japanese, Yamada knows too much about his leaders past to let out in fear of the trouble it might cause.

Being nursed back to health in Ayothaya, Yamada finds himself a new home as the welcoming attitude of the men and women there take him by surprise.  When he is attacked by Ninja’s in the village, he defends himself successfully. The man behind the attack, who originally planned to kill Yamada, decides to leave him alone, vowing to kill him when he inevitably returns.

After this, Yamada watches the Ayothaya warriors train their Muay Thai style of fighting, and decides to challenge one to a fight.  The two men shape up in what looks like will be an epic battle, but Yamada is put down almost instantly by the their best fighter.

Yamada returns and day after day is defeated until finally he convinces the head of the village to train him.  From there Yamada mixed his ‘soft’ Japanese style with the hard martial arts style of Ayothaya.  He becomes a great warrior and elite bodyguard of the king.

But his past starts to catch up to him and he must return to face his old Japanese enemies.

Yamada’s story revolves around friendship.

Yamada is a Japanese man who has no family in his homeland but when waking up in Ayothaya experiences friendship and love like he’s never had before.

The cultural difference between those he’s left and where he arrives becomes a major learning curve and personal journey for Yamada as he find himself being respected and welcomed into a very personal and private Ayothaya.  He experiences this culture as he begins to understand their way of life, and also apply it to his own.

Samurai Ayothaya Sword

He befriends the head fighter of Ayothaya, and the two become very close.  With Yamada creating a samurai katana for him –  with a handle that matches the swords of Ayothaya.  They then look upon the sword as a symbol, saying the Blade is of Japan while the handle is of Ayothaya, yet the two shall never be separated.

This really symbolises not only the friendship of the two men but also celebrates the relationship between Thailand and Japan to this day. The story is very personal and really makes the character of Yamada in this film more believable .

I can really appreciate the messages and depth they’ve put into this movie, which gives it that added layer beyond being ‘just an action film’.  But combined with what action it does have, Muay Thai Warrior / Samurai of Ayothya presents a well rounded film with top story telling.

The Action & Martial Arts

The martial arts action is pretty good in this movie.

The Japanese swordwork is smooth and awesome to watch, especially seeing Yamada slice up his opponents.  But I was really impressed with the demonstration of Muay Thai on screen.

As someone who’s trained in Muay Thai for close to ten years, I recognise it straight away.  Each technique is sharp and performed brilliantly.  But what I really enjoyed was the hard edged way it was performed during fight scenes.  The elbows and knees delivered look relentless and severely damaging.

This movie has some of the better choreography of Muay Thai that I’ve seen.  It’s realistic and physically impressive but not overly mixed up with flips and fancy moves that you would have seen in Ong Bak.

My only complaint would be that some of the swordwork had some very artificial looking CGI.  While you can’t really go around stabbing stunt men for real, CGI was required to sell the sword strikes in this movie, but it just didn’t match the actual footage.  Especially during the end fight, there’s some noticeably fake blood as Yamada slices up his opponents.

The CGI however is only a small weakness.  Overall top quality action that is authentic and performed well is what this movie is mostly composed of.

The Verdict?

This movie rates above average for me.  It’s pretty good and I recommend it to anyone wanting a movie with a good balance of story, depth and action.

On Blu Ray –

Region A (US & Canada)
Muay Thai Warrior [Blu-ray]

Region B (UK, Australia, New Zealand, Europe etc)
Yamada – Way Of The Samurai [Blu-ray]

On DVD –

Region 1 (US & Canada)
Muay Thai Warrior

Region 2 (UK, Europe, etc)
Yamada – Way Of The Samurai [DVD]

Region 4 (Australia, New Zealand, etc)
Yamada – Way of the Samurai 

More info on Movie Regions here.

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