Ong-bak (2003)I’ve been hearing a lot of positive remarks about “Ong-bak” from many lovers of martial arts movies. It’s been kind of hard to find the film, but finally I managed to.

Directed by: Prachya Pinkaew
Genres: Action, Adventure
Cast: Tony Jaa, Petchtai Wongkamlao, Pumwaree Yodkamol, Suchao Pongwilai, Wannakit Sirioput, Cumporn Teppita, Chatthapong Pantanaunkul, Chatewut Watcharakhun, Rungrawee Barijindakul, Nudhapol Asavabhakhin, Pornpimol Chookanthong, Udom Chouncheun, Boonsri Yindee, Arirat Ratanakaitkosol, Woravit Tanochitsirikul
IMDB raintg: 7.3
My rating: 10.0 [rate 10.0]

This is one of the best martial arts movies that I have seen in my life. And you don’t hear me say that very often, do you? Really, it took me about four hours to see a movie which is less than one and a half hour long. I was rewinding and watching some scenes over and over again. I still can’t believe some of them.

The film is based on a classical story – some holy relic gets stolen from some remote poor village and the best fighter is sent to retrieve it. There are many other movies and mythes that use this story and everyone knows it very well. Only the details change – country, village, relic, fighter, etc.

But this film is not about a story. It is all about martial arts. And there are plenty. The main theme is Thai boxing. There are not that many films that use this style and most of Thai boxers that I’ve seen in the movies are huge and slow, but very strong. “Ong-bak” shows a different style of fighting. Very fast with lots of acrobatics, but very powerful and brutal. The choreography and acrobatics are excellent.

Being impressed by this movie, I went to get more information about it on IMDB. These three points from the trivia page impressed me even further:

  • No wires or CG work were used in the fights.
  • Tony Jaa performs all of his own stunts.
  • Tony Jaa trained extensively in the ancient form of Muay Boran (the predecessor to Muay Thai) for four years in preparation for Ong-Bak.

That’s amazing! No wires, no computer graphics, no stunt doubles… How did he made it through the film? Oh, well, four years of training. What? Four years! That bits even the six month that Matrix cast spent in training.

And it all was worth it. Every bit.

I am buying the DVD! And I am watching out for more Tony Jaa movies. I am sure he’ll find the way to use his skills in other films. Once a martial artist – always a martial artist.

Leave a Comment