Ong-Bak: Muay Thai Warrior
Reviewed by Lau Chee Nien
Director: Prachya Pinkaew
Cast: Tony Ja, Air Pumwaree, Mum Jokmok
Year Released: 2003
Running Length: 105 min
THE PLOT IN BRIEF:
A village champion is sent to retrieve a temple artifact after it gets stolen.
I really didn't like this movie. If I missed it at the theaters and watched it later on TV, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have regretted it. And if there is a sequel, I will feel inclined to give it a miss.
The hype over this movie is how impressive the action and fight scenes are. I concur. I think Tony Ja has really got the moves. And I was really bowed over by his skills when I was first exposed to it in the movie. So much so that things like low production value and unrealized character developments didn't bother me. I was enjoying the movie!
In comparison, Jackie Chan's fight scenes are often tampered with dance-like choreography which give the scenes a cool comic quality. But in ONG-BAK, it is mostly all punches and kicks at its most raw and realistic. The film also had its fair share of comedy, mostly delivered by a reluctant but endearing sidekick character.
But then I got bothered by the senseless violence. And I got bored at about the three-quarter mark when it was just one fight after another. I started wishing the plot and characters had been realized better to complement the action. And by the time it ended, the film was just a bitter taste in my mouth.
So while the action may is the strong suit of this B-grade flick, it still does not make ONG-BAK an essential viewing for every filmgoer.
For Generic Entertainment: OK
For Action: Recommended
For Film Appreciation: Not Really
Copyright Lau Chee Nien 2003