No, this movie is not the latest Tony Jaa film (like I’m sure a lot of people would think by the name.) Instead, the movie has a Japanese protagonist. Based on a true story, the film starred Seigi Ozeki in the lead role as a betrayed samurai that learns Muay Thai. And it was directed by Noppom Watim, featuring some really well done fight scenes throughout. Also, this movie is also known as Yamada: the Samurai of Ayothaya.
The movie began with the titular samurai being betrayed and left for dead by the same group of samurai he had sworn allegiance. He only survived, thanks to the warriors from a local Siamese (Thai) village. Over time, he found himself growing more and more fond of the Siamese people than of the people of his homeland. Eventually, he was taught Muay Boran (the pre-cursor to Muay Thai, otherwise known as Thai boxing) and very quickly mastered it. This led to him being chosen as one of the elite Siamese warriors in a contest with the neighboring Burma (called Myanmar in the subtitles). His side won, and he developed a brotherhood bond with one of the fellow members of his village (as well as a potential love interest with another, but that was never fully developed). Eventually, he chose to face the Samurai that betrayed him as a way to keep them from harming those he cared about.
Overall, this movie was quite enjoyable. He wasn’t perfect by any means, but no Thai action movie ever is. Case in point, the plot wasn’t that strong (though, it did at least exist unlike in something that Jaa would have made). It wasn’t that it was a weak plot or anything, but certain plot points just weren’t developed as fully as they should (such as the aforementioned love interest). Also, the contest with Burma didn’t seem like it as even a part of the plot. It felt like the scene was only there to serve as the setting for some brutal fight sequences.
Speaking of which, one of the best things about this movie was the fight choreography. The sword fight between the hero and the villain comes to mind, featuring Ozeki using a combination of samurai swordsmanship and Muay Thai practicality. In fact, the rest of the fight scenes were also quite good. This would have a negative impact on the plot.
That being said, this movie is definitely worth watching. If you’re a fan of action, martial arts or samurai films, I’d recommend giving this film a watch. Just don’t expect the next Ip Man or One Armed Swordsmen. Though, this film was quite the enjoyable little film. And in the end, thanks to its plot hole-ridden, yet otherwise decent, storyline—as well as its very well done fight scenes, I give this movie three out of five stars.