I’m serious, even if the movie
almost never is.
Standing at nearly 7 feet tall, the bald Jones plays “loser laborer” Barney, who wins a trip to Thailand. No sooner is he there than he is drugged and robbed. He’s left with nothing — no money, no passport — but his pants. Although his hands and feet look like cuts of meat from the butcher’s counter, Barney’s actually kind of a child, as the quasi-music-box soundtrack suggests. He can’t even fight off some alleyway ruffians, so a little girl has to do it for him.
As she tells her sister, “He’s big, but he’s a real chicken.” The sibs take pity on him and feed him spicy food, which turns his skin red and makes him Hulk out, trashing a restaurant. To pay for the damages, he’s gotta do something, so the girls train him in the titular martial art. No, that’s not likely, but this is something of a comic fantasy. How else to explain the part where Barney imagines himself as a stripper?
“Giant” has a light touch with occasional hard punches. It’s easy to follow, and not overstuffed with characters like so many — too many — Asian films are. One could argue it’s underwritten. The action sequences are, of course, the highlight, and there are more as the story gradually moves away from the slapstick to introduce the serious.
It’s unlikely that Thailand will be able to launch Jones as a credible threat to the throne of Jackie Chan, as it has Tony Jaa, but it’s a fun enough try. —Rod Lott