Ong Bak- Muay Thai Warrior
This movie sets a new benchmark it is by far one of the best martial arts movies out there (in my opinion). It is the first big movie from Tony Jaa (former stuntman- now martial arts super star/actor/director) and what a spectacular movie to push him into the limelight!
Ong Bak tells the story of a young orphaned thai boy who is raised by bhuddist monks and taught the art of Muay Thai/Muay Boran. One day the villages sacred statue Ong Bak is desecrated and it’s head is stolen plunging the village into a curse.
So young Ting (Tony Jaa) is plunged into Bangkok with what little money he has and is sent in search of a man living there by the name of Hum Lae to help search for the precious statue, he used to live in Ting’s village.
What ensues is Ting going head to head with a ruthless gang whilst searching for Ong Bak’s head. It is a non stop adrenalin packed flurry of knees and elbows along with fancy spin kicks to get what he is after.
What is truly unique about this movie is the fact that all the stunts and fights are performed without the use of wires or CGI. Tony Jaa is truly talented! One of the many impressive stunts is when Ting escapes from a group of thugs by jumping on one of them and running across the shoulders of the rest.
Every fight scene is superbly choreographed with professional actors/martial artists. You really get to see every blow ‘connect’ with the opponents. For example multiple scenes in which Jaa performs one of his crazy flying knee moves while striking his opponent in mid air thus changing their trajectory…
Tony really brings a unique style of fighting to the genre with utilising ancient Muay Thai moves spliced with a bit of Kung Fu. (Tony is adept in many styles of martial arts) Many of the moves performed in this movie while being a bit over the top for a real fight are very entertaining to watch and remember movies are about entertaining and not having to be too realistic.
The only bad thing I can say about this movie is it’s slightly B grade feel which is probably due to the fact that it was filmed in Thailand and would not have had the budget like most of the martial arts films you see these days.
The story line is in my opinion neither good nor bad but it is almost to the point when you have so many dazzling stunts and epic fight scenes who really needs a story :P. In terms of stunts- all performed by mr Jaa himself, you get to see him jump over cars, slide under cars, run on peoples shoulders, jump ridiculously high, jump through hoops and many many more things that you just wouldn’t see in movies these days.
This is a no wires, no special effects, no CGI, no stunt doubles masterpiece of the action movie/martial arts movie genre. It seems as though movies these days are starting to shy away from the fake looking shaky camera action scenes where you don’t really know what happened. Ong Bak is setting the benchmark for what really qualifies for an action flick and it is one that deserves a place among your dvd or blu ray collection because it is definitely a film you will watch more then once!