Monday, October 31, 2005

[TV] Ong Bak (2003)

Now this is rare, am actually reviewing a movie I watched on TV. But how can I miss Ong Bak when Tom Yum Goong is around the corner, and I'd actually missed this movie during it's run at the local theatres!

I'm not going to go through the details of the story - it's a simple plot about an ancient Buddha statue called Ong Bak, whose head is stolen by artifact hunters, and it's up to local village folk hero Ting who volunteers to retrieve it back from Bangkok. There, he meets up with some friends and embarks on a fight-laden journey to the bowels of the city in order to fulfill his mission.

What's appealing is that the main lead, played by Tony Jaa, impresses with his brand of real kung-fu. Make that Muay-Thai boxing, the real deal. He's today's Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan, the latter being older and wanting to move on to drama. So Tony Jaa should claim the mantle of Asia's kung-fu king from Jackie Chan, and perhaps Jet Li too. Jaa's reflexes is lightning fast, and martial arts moves, lethal and deadly. I can never forget the strong punches, knees, elbows, and the feints with the kicks. Awesome, violent stuff there. No holds barred.

But that's not all, besides martial arts, he's quite nimble and shows off his skills with some acrobatics during a chase scene along the back streets of Bangkok. The runs, squeezes, side splits, jumping side splits, under and sliding splits. Wow. The scenes get repeated in slow motion and in different angles, but I'm not a bit disturbed by the "show-offy" sequences. It's the real - no wires, no stunt doubles, all Jaa!

And as if to emulate a typical Jackie Chan movie, there's always that bit of humour some of the acrobatic scenes, the tuk-tuk chase, and also courtesy of a sidekick. But when it comes down to the fighting arena, it's all dead serious action, which many action fans will definitely enjoy.

Tom Yum Goong, I'm already in the queue!

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