By: The Dweeb
Watch out Jackie Chan, there’s someone right behind you ready to drop kick your butt back to China. Ong Bak The Thai Warrior, a martial arts action flick originating from Thailand features the debut of multi talented acrobat, stunt man and martial arts impresario Tony Jaa. Sure, it may not be as pretty looking as say a film like Hero, but then again the focus is on the action. No wire fu here my friends, its the real deal, or so the marketers are claiming.
The plot is very simple, we’ve seen this type of story many times before, at least we don’t have to be subjected to watching Jean Claude Van Damme do the splits. Its your average, naive country boy comes to the big city and kicks everyones ass to find some statue plot, not really that interesting. There is an attempt at humor of course, brought to you by his bumbling cousin George (Petchtai Wongkamlao), but most of it is the typical lame banter that is more reminiscent of films like Shaolin Soccer. Of course there is the big bad guy, who sits in a wheelchair and to make him more menacing talks through this vocalizer thingy because he has a hole in his throat. Its funny to see him talk like that even without using this device. Oops.
I do have to say this film is a bit refreshing in terms of the stunts, instead of kung fu they employ another martial art form called Muy Thai, which although is not as graceful looking is quite impressive. I never knew one could contort ones body in these fashions to kick someone in the face. Watching Tony fly around the screen is damn cool, and even cooler knowing that he’s actually doing this stuff without any help or special effects. Some scenes are quite brutal, and I caught myself wincing every once in a while. The arm and leg breaking stuff can make ones stomach churn. Yeesh.
On the technical end of things, this DVD is okay. The picture quality is not the greatest and for the non Thai speaking folks, the English track is only in Dolby 2.0. It tolerable and I don’t think this film is going for any Oscars in the technical category this year either. Surprisingly there are a bunch of extras included with the film. The outtakes for some of the stunts and items that didn’t make it into the film is cool to watch, as well as more of Tony doing his thing in promoting the film. I don’t know why American marketers feel it is necessary to add a promo by the rapper Rza, the guy has nothing to do with the movie. Is it to give a more American feel to it? Clearly this is an all Thai production, just let it be that. The rap video is also very interesting. I’ve never heard rap in French before, I got quite a kick out of that. Whoops, I punned.
Ong Bak certainly will not tackle the answers to the mysteries of life, but if you want to see someone fly around the screen and kick people in directions you never thought possible check out this flick. This would be a good candidate to watch with the boys on a Friday night with beer and pizza.