Jeeja Yanin: The Toughest Woman in Thailand?

'Jeeja' Yanin Vismitananda

Yanin Vismitananda, a.k.a. “Jeeja” Yanin, spent two years training for her role in Thailand’s latest martial arts showcase. A Taekwondo expert in real-life, Jeeja plays an autistic Thai boxer in Chocolate.

Jeeja collects on an old debt
(Icehouse scene inspired by Bruce Lee’s Fists of Fury)

Muay Thai vs. breakdancing

Chocolate‘s fight scenes were entertaining, though they do not meet the imposing standards set by Tony Jaa in Ong Bak and Tom Yum Goong. The plot and acting were predictably bad, the editing surprisingly so. Incredibly, in the year 2008, the official DVD release doesn’t even include English subtitles!

Dedicated fans may be able to locate a fansubbed copy on the Internet. Otherwise, sit tight for the upcoming release of Ong Bak 2, which may just turn out to be the best martial arts action movie ever made:

Tony Jaa’s Ong Bak 2 (late 2008)

[The film] is about a man with two sides – good and evil. Conceited about his talents, he lives in a world of darkness until he discovers the beauty of khon, a traditional masked dance of Thailand, and transforms it into a graceful fighting skill.

Star Tony Jaa will be bringing more than his bare firsts and feet to “Ong Bak 2”. Fans will see him fighting with a range of weapons, including the sword and the spear. [continued at The Nation]

Chocolate, starring Jeeja Yanin

Update: This review was based on the original, 110 minute Thai cut of Chocolate. The US DVD release is twenty minutes shorter; it seems that all the worst scenes have been removed, and proper English subtitles were added. I do recommend watching the new version.

68 comments on “Jeeja Yanin: The Toughest Woman in Thailand?”

  1. This is a misleading and unfair review. Chocolate is immensely entertaining, and Jeeja Yanin is very impressive with good acting skills, graceful moves and a high energy level. There is a version of the movie, the Malaysian one, that has good English subtitles and sells for about $15 with postage at HKFlix.com. I highly recommend this movie if you’re a fan of female martial artists.

  2. its out on DVD with english subtitles now anyway, amazing movie 😀 Jeeja Yanin rocks

  3. jeeja yanin is very cool !!!
    the martial choreography is very beautiful and powerful !!

  4. I loved Chocolate, and I think this review was inaccurate. It was an excellent movie with amazing fight scenes!

  5. What really bothered me was the hyperactive camera angle changes, that prevent the viewer from following the movement. This is demonstrated somewhat by the second clip above, and more so in other scenes. Forbidden Kingdom had the same problem.

  6. Im from the uk, and i havent watched a chinese film before. And i think chocolate is A GREAT FILM,

  7. I just finished watching it, rented from Blockbuster, and Jeeja Yanin did an excellent job acting autistic and her martial arts rocked! I can’t see Dustin Hoffman (Rainman) doing those moves.

  8. No wonder her kicks look good, her base is Taekwondo. She did great and she’s definitely badass.

  9. this movie was amazing, i highly recommend it, the acting plot and fighting are great, this girl need more recognition, a diamond in the rough without a doubt

  10. I thought this movie was incredible. Jeeja Yanin a) is pretty damn cute b) acted the part of the autistic pretty well c) is freaking amazing when it comes to martial arts. I found this to be way more enjoyable than The Protector. And c’mon… it’s got an autistic, break-dancing, muay thai fight. What more can you ask for?

  11. Oh man! this movie was amazing.. and this girl, Zen!
    Oh my gosh.. she can kick butt! Im a big Tony Jaa fan!
    Now I just became a big fan of Yanin Vismitananda 😀
    she rocks! Cant wait to see her next movie! Which i know
    it will be really soon! She’s already a star and that i know!
    Spiktsu

  12. i have searched reviews of this film and it was all too bad. those critic watch too many movies they forget that movies made to entertain and be enjoyed. if its an art nior kind of film that’s where artsy criticism counts but this one is a great stylized martial arts film. jeeja yanin’s acting was great since she is the star of the film. she’s great in the movie.

    i hope jacky chan or any asian producers from korea, hk, or japan tapped into this new talent. she reminds me of cynthia luster if u remember her.

    SHE IS GREAT IN THIS MOVIE… I JUST HOPE THOSE WHO AREN’T FANS SHUT THIER MOUTHS… THEY ARE RUINING THE MOVIE FOR OTHERS WHO HASN’T SEEN IT.

  13. Ross, if someone forgot that movies were meant to entertain, it wasn’t me. Maybe it was the director?

  14. this film was great… iv never seen a cute lil asian girl kick so much ass in 92 mins. plus i thing her agility would actually make her a good match for tony jaa just because she is a little fatser and able to bend a bit more( at least it seems so) hope she reads at least one of these message boards because she should know she worked hard and it payed off… the ONLY thing i couldnt stand was the ice factry fight. BITCH U AINT BRUCE LEE…. honestly it wasnt even cool when he did it. i find it just annoying. oh and for thoes who will hate on my comment YES I KNOW I CANT SPELL SO FIND SOMETHING ELSE TO CRACK ON

  15. Awesome !
    Very impressive, being a world class master martial arts instructor,and retired professional full contact kickboxer.
    I must say ,Yanin Vismitananda base techniques plus form are outstanding!

    Great entertainment!
    Two thumps up !
    To female martial artist and female martial artist actress.
    Great job !!!

  16. It is about time people started connecting the dances with the martial. I am very impressed by native Thai dances, including sword dances and the Trad dance of Muay Thai, which is not that unlike taiji in several ways.

    I believe that real Muay Thai is very close to real Taiji and that these have all the skills of martial dances of India, Asia and Arabia.

    I really enjoyed the first movie in this article, Chocolate was brilliant and full of homage to great movies in the past.

  17. Just saw Ong Bak 2. It was great, very little dialog, lots of motion, not too unrealistic. However the relationship of the dance o the martial is not clear in it, am I just missing this from the first movie?

  18. To my eyes, neither movie made any attempt to explain the relationship.

  19. Wow,Chocolate was excellent! I loved it! I’m a big fan of Jeeja Yanin now!
    Brother Ninja will be out soon …can’t wait to see that. The movie teaser is on my website.

  20. Got to see this on Netflix streaming, this girl is Bad @$$. Though the acting was at times poor, I think the film was highly entertaining. At times the editing was a bit jumpy but as someone who has done a bit of fight editing for film, its not easy and oh what rolls and rolls of fight scenes they had to cut together. Anyway I just have to say I think the film was great and a A+ Martial arts film. I hope they place a whole lot of protection on this girl, Id hate to see her career go down the tubes so early because she injures herself.

  21. For anyone who’s interested, Jeeja Yanin has a new movie coming out next year called “Raging Phoenix”. Looks great.

  22. was this a review of chocolate or a hyped preview of ong bak 2? personally i thought chocolate was better.

  23. i just watched this on dvd, and jeeja is awsome! she will be a name to be remembered.

  24. I’m from Belgium, I watched the movie with a group of friends and the reactions where unanimous: it’s a great film!
    Offcourse I don’t know too many azian movies so I can’t really compare, but I really loved it. I didn’t think the acting was poor, bud if you did think so, please never watch a flemish movie 😉
    it’s a movie I will watch again several times, and I can not wait until Jeeja Yanin’s next movie. She kicks some serious ass 😀

  25. Just saw this movie last night and was so amazed by this girls martial arts skills I had to google her today to find out what her next film will be!
    This girl is bad @ss! As an American woman, it’s so refreshing to see a tough girl action hero minus the latex dominatrix costume and high heels.
    I hope this woman does many, many more movies….and hopefully one co-starring with Tony Jaa! That would be a duo that could blow anyones mind away.

  26. chocolate movie was a great film i,ve watched it so many times with my kids. ofcourse with guidance..better watch her next movie “Ranging Phoenix

  27. Just got done watching this film streaming from netflix. Was very happy with the character portrayal. Coming from a guy who has a mother with cancer and a sister with special needs, I was impressed. Ms. Yanin is a fresh figure in the martial arts realm.

    I can’t wait to see her perform again.

  28. miss yanin is the best i love chocolate ….and raging pheonix not bad ….i want more yanin

  29. I really love jeeja yani movie especially the chocolate. I really inspired by the martial moves that jeeja yani did to practice more in my field the teakwondo. I hope someday I will meet jeejan yani in person and hang up with her or do some sparring. Hey!! jeejan yani I hope you can visit your fans here in the Philippines

  30. I watched this film several times! The author of the blog entry didn’t seem to like it, but who cares?! Jeeja Yanin has now garnered a trail of fans following her. And rightfully so! The film might not be your usual American Oscar-winning film, but Chocolate has its merits. The fighting scenes were great! Jeeja Yanin did a good job for a debut film. It’s truly an entertaining film (even my mom thought so, too).

    Honestly, I’ve lost interest in Martial Arts films until Chocolate came along and sparked my interest.

  31. jeeja ya yin
    your so cool and very active girl!!!!!!!!!!
    you know when i see your movie
    “the chocolate”
    i was so amaze!!!!!!!!
    good lock!!

    take care always!!!!

  32. I also found the review to be unfair. I thought Yanin did an exceptional job playing an autistic person. True, she is not at the level of Tony Jaa, but for a up and coming star, she was awesome. I also want more Yanin! She is the real deal.

  33. hi jee masasabi ko lang angh ganda mo promise i said ur beautiful

  34. I LOVE YOU IN THAT MOVIE…CHOCOLATE..I WANT ME OF YOUR MOVIES

  35. CANT WAIT TO SEE MORE OF YOUR MOVIS..IM A FAM FOR EVER!!!!! IM GOING TO BUY THE ENGLISH VERSION

  36. This reviewer is, obviously, a self-important, mediocrity who is threatened by strong women. As a teacher of martial arts for over 30 years, I can say that this woman is one of the finest martial artists ever to work in the film medium. Ignore this ignoramus reviewer, and see this movie.

  37. I love action movies, and especially hand to hand combat of all kinds. I’ve trained in tae kwon do from a teen, and two of my younger brothers are Muy Thai instructors, who own their own fight club, and have brought home first place awards in nearly every tournament they’ve entered in the last few years. All that said, I was totally on the edge of my seat during the entirety of Chocolate. I am an overnight fan of Jeeja Yanin, and just added Raging Phoenix to my Netflix Que. Chocolate is already my favorite martial arts movie thus far. The balance of plot and fight scenes was a real treat. Jeeja’s acting was very impressive, considering she was already plenty qualified with her pretty young looks and martial arts talent, she brought the whole package with a convincing portrayal of a mentally challenged young woman. Her acting was head & shoulders above that of some of the other characters, especially considering the difficult role she was casted in. I hope she makes lots of movies, because I have a newfound appetite. If you’re reading this you need to get some friends together and have a Chocolate party. You will not be disappointed!

  38. The person who reviewed this is a duchbag. jeeja and chocolate where amazing! As far as acting and plot goes that’s not why we watch martial art movies ding dong. U want that go watch the piano.

  39. hi jeeya yanin….ive watch ur movie and it so awesome……i hope u read this…god bless

  40. Chocolate was and is a wonderfully entertaining movie. I enjoyed the acting and the martial arts action scenes are superb. To those who did not like the acting , let me ask, with the exception of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, what action movie,et alone martial arts movie had superb acting, dialogue and plot. Acton movies are made for the action .

  41. Yanin Vismitananda in the movie Chocolate from 2008, gee.

    I really love Asian Action movies and this one with this girl makes a perfect action movie and it is on my top 10 list.
    I’m looking forward to watch her other movies.

  42. The reviewer is a douche-bag.
    Yanin is a great actress and her skills are unquestionably great.
    Im also a Tony Jaa, Bruce Lee an Jackie Chan fan, as im sure most people here are, this movie is just as good of quality, not to mention it was her first movie. Raging Phoenix is also very good.
    I dont think the reviewer watched the same movie as the rest of us, cause ive only got good to say about it. Then again, im not jealous just cause a girl is better at shit then me. Grow some nuts an stop bein a dick dude.

  43. I really enjoyed this movie. Jeeja is an incredibly talented actress, but her martial art skills sent chills down my spine. Her presence on screen reminded me of Bruce Lee. I would not want to get on the wrong side of this little lady.

  44. this movie had some of the best fighting scenes ive ever seen – and that includes kill bill, crouching tiger, house of flying daggers, AND bruce lee movies… JeeJa Yanin is nothing short of amazing – her fighting style is mesmerizing to watch… with all that said, outside the fighting scenes the movie was horrible – but just to see JeeJa Yanin in action i Highly recommend it…

  45. very great movie ,, very like ,, i hope jejja yanin will have a new movies more and more ,,

  46. Jeeja Yanin…what can one say? Her debut movie, Chocolate
    , was outstanding! She play her role with the finesse of a long-time pro…her martial arts were superb…and she is a most charming and beautiful young lady. I watched Raging Phoenix once I learned Jeeja Yanin stared in it! Once again, her martial arts were awesome…her acting showed growth…and the stories plot was also intriguing! I must say that I will give every bit of attention to Jeeja Yanin movies as I have Tony Jaa…and I ‘ve seen every one of his movies too!

  47. Jeeja Yanin is amazing, she should start from scratch as an actress then she can maybe become a stunt and fight coordinator.

  48. I thinks shes the best fighter I have ever watched! I would like to know when chocolate 2 is comming out, I cant wait! love you jeeja! mauhhhhhhhhh, Penny

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