As a follow up to Chatreechalerm Yukol’s THE LEGEND OF SURIYOTHAI, KINGDOM OF WAR is an epic historical action film about King Naresuan the Great, who liberated the Siamese from the control of Burma, changing the destiny of a nation. Part 1 introduces Naresuan as a child prince captured by the Burmese King Bayinnaung in order to keep the province of Ayudhya subservient. Naresuan spends almost seven years away from home studying as a novice Buddhist monk. Part 2 depicts Naresuan’s life as the heir-presumptive to Ayudhya. Over the next decade, he matures in military capability and gains an enemy in Bayinnaung’s successor, Nandabayin. Nandabayin orders Naresuan on an ambushed mission, for which Naresuan discovers and retaliates by strengthening Ayudhya’s borders. Soon after being crowned king, the Burmese resume attacks, but it is Naresuan who reigns victor and turns the tables of war for the first time in 30 years.



The Legend of Naresuan was originally planned a one long epic film that would contain all the historically facts and fiction; however, later compromised by Momchao Chatrichalerm Yukol to be cut into three separate films; and hence crippled by this. The first film of the trilogy was planned to be an explosion of Siamese pride and euphoria, not only for its history, but also a revitalization of Thailand’s decrescendo of its movie industry. The film overall was quite satisfactory, from the emotional flashbacks of how the great Siamese kingdom of Ayodhya was so easily and effortlessly relinquished; to the exhilarating scenes of the royally-endorsed cockfight between the Burmese heir-apparent’s son’s cock and Naresuan’s.

What is missing is how Naresuan achieved his greatness, and his ability of cunningness, would at least be helpful. Most thematic elements here are actually missing, a more successful movie, while there is little truth, was The Curse of The Golden Flower. While that movie had little relevance historically, its major thematic elements were that the King tried to poison his wife. While many plot elements, especially during the fight scenes in elaborate traps, were bad and contrived, the actors and the intensity of the actors, actress were excellent. I think that thematic elements is sorely needed in this movie.

Most of this epic lacked the stress, intensity in the actors and actresses needed to move the audiences. One of the most important elements of the story besides Aristotle’s claim that plots are more important character is not really true, at least for today’s movie. While we do claim plots in many movie reviews to be important, it is that most important elements should be the Theme of the movie, and the Premise of the movie that the plots should support.

The Blu-Ray comes with featurettes and a music video. For a two-disc film set that stretches across 5 1/2 hours of material…it’s a pretty sweet setup. Especially, since the bitrate never drops off during the lengthy production. I’d like to see an American release keep up a high quality HD-master audio track for that long as well. Still, it’s not a film for everyone and I’d recommend a rental to the test waters. For those that like the flick, the director is working on Parts 3 and 4.



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