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4.6 out of 5 stars
Ong Bak (2 Disc Special Collector's Edition) [DVD] [2003]
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on 30 August 2005
Well from where can i start? This is one of those films that truly has to be seen to be believed, whether it be for the sheer madness of the tree climbing event the film opens with, the (already mentioned) chase through the alleys and back steets that will have all chuckling to themselves as Mr Jaa nods his head to the old master Jackie Chan with some excellent set pieces with trucks, panes of glass and of course the barbed wire.
Now there will be people who will moan that the plot is not what it could be, but let us remeber this film is not meant to spur your brain into overload with complex issues such as time travel or another example amnesia (hi donnie darko, memento) all this film asks for is for you to bear witness to what the human body is capable of when free of the insurance restraints hollywood movies are constantly dogged by, I defy you not to wince in sympathy for the spikey haired opponent that Jaa kicks so hard just below the kneecaps his legs are taken completely from under him, remember most of the blows in this film connect!
You will find that the female 'lead' annoys beyond all reason, just turn the volume down when she speaks (i'm conviced she has trouble with the local dogs when she talks, her pitch being that high) but Jaa's sidekick in the movie provides the comedy and also the ultimate sacrifice for the treasured Ong Bak, but like all great action heros Jaa steals the show with some amazing moves which haven't been seen on the big screen before and of course he gets the mother of all beatings before eventually emerging the victor.
So ladies and gentlemen with this film you are witnessing the dawn of our newest actionhero, so sit back and enjoy the ride because hopefully Mr Jaa and his amazing production team shall be around for a very long time to come. (Just one thing Tony, please don't go to hollywood to make your films, if you do we will have witnessed your amazing fighting abilities for the last time, sure you'll make a ton of movies, so did jet and jackie, but just don't let the money tame you).
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 4 February 2006
I got this dvd for christmas after seing the trailer and being blown away by sheer amazement at Tony Ja's athletic ability.
The film is really good, and maybe it's true that the story isn't the best, but martial arts movies are not about the story, they are about martial arts!
Almost all of the stunts in this film are amazing, and you sometimes wonder how he does all those flips and kicks, and the action is well coreographed, keeping the kicks and jumps flowing.
The dvd itself is very good and well presented. You get the film, and also a great second disc with loads of special features including an amazing making of the stunts, so you can see the hard work that went into the market scene.
One minor niggle i have with the film is Tony Ja himself. People have likened him to Bruce Lee, and although Ja is very good, and his stunts and fights are amazing, he can not rival Bruce Lee. Ja has a lack of presence on the screen, whereas Bruce Lee filled the screen with presence. People wanted to BE Bruce Lee, whereas I get the feeling that people may just want to be able to do Ja's stunts.
That said, the film is a martial arts master piece, and definatly a film to get if you are remotely into anything martial arts.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 5 April 2006
If, like me you are sometimes put off by far east, non-english speaking films because of the crummy dubbing or weak storylines then you have missed a real treat here. O.K, so the dubbing is crummy, up to the point of it being embarrasingly comical, but the storyline isn't too bad and the film has a humour to it that has a distingtive Western feel.
The film follows Ting, a young man (played by Tony Jaa) from a small Thailand village. Every 24 years the village celebrates the festival of Ong Bak; a religious festival that is supposed to bring prosperity to the village, however the evil Don has chopped of the head of their revered Budda statue and fled to the big city with it in his grasp. Cue for Ting to give hot pursuit. He arrives in the big city and seeks help from former friend George, but he finds George with problems of his own with debt and local gangsters. This is of course all just thinly vieled excuses for lots of fights and incredible set pieces.
What makes this film a cut above the average far east movie is the fact that the makers of the film are obviously fans of Western cinema. The humour in the film works on all levels and the storyline is recognisable to everybody. The support cast is surprisingly good, with George providing laughs, his friend and long suffering partner Muay backs him up very well, and the bad guys are all effective in their own unique way; in particular Mad Dog, he sends shivers down your spine even on screen.
Even with this strong support cast, Tony Jaa steals every scene. The whole gimmick of the film is based on the fact that no wires, trick photography or C.G.I was used; every stunt that you see him perform is really him doing it-and what he does is breathtaking. He says that he models himself on great Asian actors such as Jet Li, Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan, and you can see parts of them all rolled into one with Tony Jaa. He can be comically funny one minute and amazingly intense the next; or he could take a man out with a single move or he could use an impressive array of unique moves to totally destroy an opponent. Either way you will be glued to your screen with a look of complete amazment on your face.
When you watch this film you will wonder how any human-being could move in the way he does, and you will be left begging for more from Tony Jaa. You only hope that Hollywood can find a suitable movie in which he can showcase his unique ability.
Do yourself a favour though and watch the film in it's dubbed version...it really is much better.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 9 August 2006
Make no mistake this is the best martial arts fighting you will see in a film. There is no wires, no special effects and no holds barred. Jaa is simply amazing, the choreography is superb and all the stunts are fantastic. I agree the plot is a little fuzzy if you are not used to watching these types of films, but if you are then you can well understand that the plot isnt there to pull u in. Its the action that does that. The fight scenes are so realistic, it seems as if Jaa is not taking any prisoners. I normally hate movies where like 100 guys pile in ONE AT A TIME (likely in a real scrap?) and the hero defeats them all, which is why i like this film because Jaa just runs to fight another day. Really good film [...]10/10 no problem.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 19 October 2005
With no wire work and no CGI content Tony Jaa looks certain to be making his way to the top of the martial arts acting list. While he is generally an new actor and lacks the fans that Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee have, it is this film that could be his foot in the door.
The films storyline is simple yet effective, Tony Jaa who plays villager Ting and Muay Thai master, volunteers to retrieve the head of the village's sacred statue; Ong Bak when it is stolen. However has he reaches the city, despite all his efforts he finds the only way he will be able to track down the people responsible is by entering underground bare-knuckle fights, and using his skills at Muay Thai, all whilst being helped by his cousin who knows the city well.
With a great soundtrack and simply awesome fight scenes especially the finale I would say Ong Bak is Tony Jaa's boost into worldwide martial arts stardom.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 3 April 2006
You really have to see this guy to believe it with your own eyes. I believed all the hype only to be disappointed by the first hour of the film. Yes, there's some nice moves, some nice acrobatics, but that's about it. Then, you get to the caverns... Oh boy, are you in for a treat if you like your martial arts fast, furious and real (no wires, etc). This parallels Lee's 'Enter the Dragon' in many ways - the finale incorporating fights against mutliple adversaries, through caverns, using a variety of weapons, before the final one-on-one battle with the baddie. Jaa's style isn't as beautiful as Lee's, in general - lots of knees and elbows - but when this guy wants to kick! He just hangs in the air for about a day at a time, legs flying out in all directions. Incredible. And NO WIRES. The last 15 minutes is worth the price of the dvd alone.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A buddist figurine is stolen from a small village (for reasons that are not fully expalined nor really nessessary,)the wells dry up, the people start to starve and the future looks bleak. So in steps the local hero (winner of a wonderfully filmed tree fight (yeah I know but you have to see it to appreciate it - if you thinking Crouching Tigers ballet in the trees you are way off the mark) He heads for Bangkok meeting up with a lowlife-would-be-monk and his would-be-student girlfriend. The Friend cons him into taking part in a Martial Arts contest, and that's about it. Good guys and bad guys.
Ok, it's a martial arts film but it has all that you would want from such a movie. The difference is whereas there is rarely a sense of hurt in most Kung Fu films, the fights in this film look like they REALLY hurt. I mean, you can feel almost every crunch. The previously mentioned tree fight is a great opening (the constestants falling and hitting the floor is wince inducing). The action is outstanding, film from numerous angles in slo-mo (my favourite was our hero jumping through a barb-wire loop.
You don't watch this kind of film for the story (which is good because there is not much of one). You watch because you want to sit up, turn to whoever is sitting next to you and say "did you see that!!!!"
Watch this film and that's exactly what you'll be saying.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 17 October 2010
Not recommended for UK customers as it's a US region blu-ray. Won't work on your player unless it is an all region one.

The film itself is something you need to watch to experience it. Bruce Lee is a legend but Ja is no less either. To think that the film utilizes none of the CGI and wire technology of these times and still shows such amazing stunts by Ja. I personally loved the film because of it's raw depiction of Muay Thai; the knee and elbows were a treat to watch. Ja is very good at mixing stuff as well so unlike the grace and speed of Kung Fu that we saw in Lee's movies, what we see here are the deadly power blows that are visibly highly lethal.

Of course if someone's dumb enough to be looking for a 'Gone with the Wind' storyline in films like these he/she would be disappointed but for all the martial arts fans out there add this one to your collection because you won't get bored watching this over and over.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
From a small Thai village the statue of the revered deity Ong Bak is vandalized ... his head is stolen. The film shows how the eight moves of Muay Thai are executed by Ting, the best maritial arts fighter in the village who is sent to the city to find and return this sacred object. The local priest admonishes Ting to use only peaceful means because the moves can be deadly. Ting is given money and valuables by the villagers who aresimple and poor but faithful he will succeed ... He is advised to seek the help of a cousin, who lives in the city. Ting finds his cousin who is less than enthusiastic to receive a visitor from his village. The cousin is ashamed of his village roots, he has taken on an American name and has a girlfriend whom he likes to impress that he is "cool" ... unfortunately, he also has a gambling habit that has gotten him into deep debt with the underworld bosses.

After the cousin stole Ting's money and gambled it away, Ting ends up fighting goons sent by the local gangster to put fear into his cousin, essentially pay up or risk permanent injury. Ting's fighting prowess impresses his cousin who gets the idea to have him fight at a local arena against the best fighters where betting takes place. The cousin is certain he will recoup his losses ...Ting agrees on the condition afterwards his cousin will help find Ong Bak. While the story line is basic, the fighting scenes captivate and capture the viewer's attention and hold it throughout the film.

The scenes where Tony Jaa jumps over several produce carts during a chase in the city while knives are thrown at him is astonishing. Another phenomenal scene involves a huge number of three wheeled taxis which are driven by Ting's would-be captors as he fights them off while he is riding in a moving taxi. When they come to the end of the freeway there is an unexpected drop off ... like the edge of a cliff, the freeway is under constructed and incomplete. There is an explosive ending related to the capture of the gangster boss and the *surprise* location of an unprecedented number of Buddha heads which were stolen. This DVD has great extra features, such as a live performance of martial arts by Tony Jaa on stage in Paris during the opening of his film. It also has a rap music video which incorporates phenomenal martial arts performed by Tony Jaa. Some behind the scenes footage features the creation of specific stunts within the film. Erika Borsos [pepper flower]
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
The martial arts in this film rival that of even the legendary Bruce Lee, as it is more breath-takingly acrobatic, but without the use of naff 'house of flying daggers' hanging in the air nonsense. The stunts in this are genuine and it's a wonder how the actors survived making this film. The story is quite good also, unlike a lot of kung fu movies. You gotta see it if you like beat em' ups, martial arts in general and especially if you like Muay Thai.
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