I've only watched two movies from Thailand in my life. I watched the first one, one that I can't remember the title of, two weeks ago. It was good, low budget but funny and well-made, so I looked up another movie, and it was a real goldmine. Never heard of it before, but I'm happy to have found it because it turned out to be one of the best movies I have ever seen.
The plot is about a Buddhist statue head stolen from a small village (the statue representing the god Ong-Bak). Without the statue the village's time of prosperity will be over, chaos will rule and their crops won't grow. Therefore a young man volunteers to head into the city and get the statue back. A unique storyline follows, with a lot of running, fighting and fun.
It's a both comical and sad movie. And it's low-budget, it is, but they still somehow managed to make better use of their money than Hollywood managed to do with any of their latest blockbuster hits. All the stunts are real, no strings attached, no special effects. People got hurt in the making of the movie too, it's not only fake fighting, and that's another part of it which is, to me, pretty amazing. Thailand's style, when it comes to movies, is much more serious and brutal than in the western world, even when it involves comedy. The main character isn't your typical American tough guy, with bigass muscles and witty comments, neither is he your typical Asian assassin, with smooth moves and wise words to throw. He's just a normal person with amazing fighting abilities. It's not often you get to see Muay Thai either, the form of fighting they use so often in this movie, which involves more knees and elbows than any other martial arts I've seen.
At times during they movie hey show the same event from different angles, multiple times, which I don't recall seeing in any other films. It really looks pretty good though, and they chose to repeat the kind of scenes that you want to watch again, and again, and again. The main characters always have unique personalities, the fighting is realistic, and though the main character has a good portion of luck as well as skill, you never get to the "that wouldn't have worked in real life" comments, as in all other action movies nowadays. Everything is well made, they've thought closely about every aspect while making the movie. Some say that the main character (the actor) is better than Bruce Lee, and I might agree, though they didn't have the same filming techniques or stunt capability back in Bruce Lee's time, so we may never know how good he really was. Anyhow, this movie is a masterpiece in action and I look forward to seeing more of Tony Jaa. If you like action; especially martial arts, I highly recommend you watch it!
rated 5/5: friggin awesome
I watched it again right before summer. It's still awesome.
It's brutal, inspiring, and fun: a mesh of all things action with a cast of characters that help bring in a myriad of fighting style and variation.
The action's intense; perfectly choreographed! Well, maybe the 'flashbacks' for certain stunts aren't the most optimal when you're trying to live into the action, is what I'm thinking but... in the end I don't mind the flashbacks at all!
Tony Jaa makes an impressive main character debut with this one! It was the first I saw of him, and the one movie that made me watch a whole many more of... not always as good ones (sequels meh). This is already a classic.
rated 5/5: friggin awesome