Hurts Like Hell

  • 23 Jul - 29 Jul, 2022
  • Mag The Weekly

The rough-and-tumble working of Thai boxing is the setting for Hurts Like Hell, a gritty new Thai-language series that’s just arrived on Netflix. The sport’s close links with gambling and organized crime provide a high-stakes backdrop for the half-documentary, half-drama anthology. Over the course of four episodes inspired by real events, we get four different angles on the sport and its associated dramas. Hurts Like Hell isn’t quite a documentary, and it’s not quite a scripted drama either – it’s a little bit of both. The four-episode miniseries, which purports to be inspired by real-life events in the world of Muay Thai, takes an interesting approach, blending fictionalised storylines of figures set in and around the sport with on-screen interviews from real-life figures talking about the sport’s reputation, risks and rewards. In the first episode, we learn about the sport’s extremely close relationship with gambling, and view the consequences for a young gambler whose ambitions seem poised to get him in serious trouble. In the first of four episodes in this anthology-like miniseries, a young gambler’s story is used as a proxy to explain how tightly linked Muay Thai is with gambling. The documentary portions of the show are an interesting way to provide context for the many viewers but they are distracting at times.