Year Released: 2003
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 108 minutes
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Alright, so, I’ve been hearing about this film for a while and if you’re into martial arts action movies, it’s more than likely you’ve heard about it too. You can even Google the title and it’ll bring up reviews from people drooling all over it. Well, now it’s my turn to drool like an idiot, but I’ll keep it short and sweet as I really can’t think of anything that hasn’t already been said about this, possibly the best martial arts movie ever. Just know that everything you’ve heard is true. If you like this kind of stuff then this Thai action film is now on your high priority of films to see.
The story’s quite simple here and that’s fine as it leaves more time for ass kicking and death defying stunts. A big city punk steals the head of a cherished Buddhist statue from a small village. In turn, the village sends out their pride and joy martial arts master, Ting, to rescue it. Ting soon finds himself wandering through the seedy Bangkok underground, tangling with drug dealers, thieves and illegal fight promoters. It’s bad news for our hero, but it all works out for the audience as this movie really is just one energizing action scene after another. I say energizing over energetic as “Ong Bak” gets the audience going like no other action flick I’ve ever seen, whether it’s Ting doling out the muythai harshness to one of his numerous, and foolish, opponents, or one of several chases through the crowded city, this is real action and it gets a reaction out of people, not like the bullshit we’re unfortunately used to seeing – more money, more explosions, more big name actors swingin’ their dicks around, more snores. This is the real shit right here. Basically, it’s what you should always get when you pay to see see an action movie, but rarely ever receive.
Director Prachya Pinkaew has crafted an instant classic, not necessarily setting the bar higher, but putting it back where it belongs in terms of what an action film should be. Okay…he did raise the bar a few notches at least and he didn’t do it alone. Tony Jaa as Ting gives this film much of its furious life with martial arts skills that defy screen legends before him. In this man, we have a brand new action hero. Let’s just hope that he’s not brought over to the States and destroyed as so many other have. Tony Jaa starring in a martial arts remake of “The Cat from Outer Space” or a buddy cop movie pairing him with Jay-Z would be a damn shame.
So just do yourself a favor, get out there and see “Ong Bak.” You’ll leave the theater bruised and battered, but you’ll be happy about it.
Posted on February 10, 2005 in Reviews by Eric Campos
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