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Pherg (Sombat Methanjee), a small time gangster, comes back to his
hometown Chumpae (hence the title) to avenge the death of his father. But
the killer of his father, Tom (Kecha Plianvithee), then a cop, is now the
top mobster of the whole village, controlling all crime and now trying to
get his hands on the local bus service ... by means not quite legal of
course. And Tom wants Pherg dead. Now Pherg could of course turn to the
police, since Captain Chaiyo is an honest and incorrupptible man - but
Chaiyo is in love with Tom's daughter Duangporn, and Tom requests of
Chaiyo to kill Pherg, otherwise he mustn't see his daughter ever again ...
And white Chaiyo refuses to kill Pherg without any legal reason, Tom's
threat to marry his daughter off to someone else also clouds his mind and
doesn't let him see Pherg's side of things.
But as if that wasn't bad enough, there is even Puyai Sua and his gang
of outlaws, who commit crimes in the village disguised and Pherg and gang,
which soon tarnishes the reputation Pherg has with the locals.
Still, Pherg finds ways to keep Tom and his men from overtaking the bus
business, and repeatedly kidnap his men, then even his girlfriend Vaewdaw
(who will eventually turn out to be an undercover cop) and his daughter
Duangporn, to get information about his evildoings ... and Pherg even
manages to convert one of Tom's men, Don, to his side - something Don
later thanks him by saving his life when he is supposed to blow up a
bridge Pherg is supposed to be crossing - in an extended and quite
entertaining set-piece that contains young Praew, who's secretly in love
with Pherg, chasing after his car on foot, later getting captured by Tom's
men and raped (off-screen), then giving her own life to save Don's, and
then Don has to escape the gang jumping onto a driving bus, and when
he still has not succeeded, jumping from the bus onto a truck driving in
the opposite direction ...
Eventually, Pherg plays all sides against each other, first capturing
both Tom and Puyai Sua - the false, evil Pherg -, and letting their
respective gangs know where he keeps them ... so they shoot it out between
each other, both gangs thinking they are going up against Pherg's gang.
Meanwhile, Pherg has the police search Tom's and Puyai Sua's places to
gather evidence against them both.
Finally, when Tom and Puyai Sua have been freed by their gangs who have
noticed their error and have teamed up, Pherg lures them to a quarry, but
instead of catching Pherg there, the baddies are met by the police, led by
Captain Chaiyo, who has seen the error of his ways after Tom has promised
his daughter to hitman Phu if he brings him the head of Pherg. Need I say
it, it all ends in a giant shoot-out, with the goodies winning over the
baddies in the end ... and in the very end, Pherg turns out to be a police
officer, and as a reward he gets Vaewdaw (remember, Tom's girlfriend
who eventually turned out to be a police officer).
If you think from this synopsis that Chumpae is a naive, simplistic and
violent (if not all that explicit) gangster shoot-em-up, you are
essentially right of course, but if you are willing to watch the movie
nevertheless, you might still find it entertaining: Somehow this film
feels like the relentless stream of action of a good movie serial
(including many cliffhanger situations) paired with the stoic antiheroism
of the Spaghetti Western ... of course with a blend like this there is not
much room for dilligent characterisations or an inventive storyline. But
what you will get is a fast-paced actionflick full of chases and
shoot-outs and the like, directed with enough care and love for the genre
to make this one mindless but enjoyable ride ... and the Thais must have
liked the film as well, as it did become the biggest grossing Thai movie
of its time.