on 4 November 2006
While the fights in this follow up to Ong Bak are for the most part as awe inspiring as its predecessor the rest of the movie doesn't live up to expectations. The plot is laughable and pretty much exactly the same as Ong Bak; elephants go missing from town so Tony Jaa is sent to big city (this time Sydney) to bring them back. A big problem with this film is that the makers have made the same mistake I've seen in numerous other modern Asian films which is to try and incorporate English dialogue to make it more accessible to the international audience. This unfortunately means you get English speaking actors who can't act to save their lives and Thai actors concentrating more on speaking properly than giving a decent performance. Luckily the fights scenes save this movie from being a complete failure though. They are some of the best you'll see today and highlights are a fight in a warehouse against a gang of skaters and a beautifully shot single take fight up 3 floors.
Usually when I watch an action movie I don't expect much from the whole plot/acting side of things but when it starts to interrupt the whole enjoyment of the movie I find it hard to be forgiving. So to conclude this is an incoherent mess with an absurd plot and poor acting but some bloody good action. Although Tony Jaa is still a long way off of Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan and Jet Li status in terms of screen presence, his martial arts skills are some of the best and most entertaining you'll see today.
on 11 October 2006
Lets be honest yes we do like a story line and good acting and yes this film does involve both, no oscars will be awarded but thats not saying the acting is poor. The acting and plot is clouded over by the sheer brilliance of the fight scenes! I love martial art films and have not been this amazed since seeing Enter the Dragon for the first time when i was 10. The fight scenes are unexplainable and for me there is currently no rival in existence to some of the fight scenes in this film. Vastly entertaining and will be added to my collection as soon as possible!!!
on 25 August 2006
One of my favourite films from last year was Ong Bak. A welcome shot of wire free, no cgi martial arts that left me giddy with excitement during and after I'd seen it. Needless to say that the star, Tony Jaa, had been working on another film which I'd been keeping tabs on for when it would arrive over here. It was a film from Thailand and subtitled to boot and because of this was only available on limited release over here in the UK.
The movie started and in many ways it was quite poor. The acting from some people, the story, some of the dubbing and the way that things had been dreamt up that would look good in a set piece but no explanation given as to why they would be there. Some of the graininess on the film was so shocking, particularly in the fire/water fight scene, that it could have been filmed on a mobile phone. You could tell the film wanted to be a western one or at least appeal to the western audience and had it's share of flashy camera movements and quick editing which I did get a little concerned at. I don't mind some of the flashy stuff but I was worried that I might not be able to see some of the fight moves. The story didn't have a lot of cohesion or explanation and was shot on some of the grainiest stock I've ever seen but after a time you didn't really mind. What it had was imagination and energy. It spent a lot of time showcasing the elephants which then paid off near the end and explained why Tony reacted as he did.
It wasn't your staid Hollywood film that follows a series of tick boxes and although a little jumbled and chaotic, it was it's energy that dragged you along with it. When the fight scenes started you couldn't help but gasp out loud, maybe put together a little clap or even just quietly mouth obscenities. The fights in Ong Bak are excellent and I did wonder if they could be improved upon and amazingly they were. The first major fight in this bus/tram warehouse had some amazing stunts but still didn't catch fire for me. The next was this continuous four-five minute shot as Tony worked his way up this circular staircase dispatching goons at every opportunity. By the time he got to the top you could see his was completely knackered but it was still amazing.
The best fights though were the ones where he was upset. Then he was fighting angry and you could see the rage coming through in his fighting. There are so many martial arts films where the hero talks about his combat skills only being a form of defense and he seems to just parry blows and push others away. In this one though, and certainly at the end fight which seems to last for about 15 minutes, he fought annoyed and intent on causing some serious damage. This is the kind of fighting I've always wanted to see. A fighter who has had something taken from him and is so enraged he wants to take it out on everyone else. Tony goes through this troop of bad guys snapping arms, knees and any other bones he can think of in mind boggling, wonderful style. The moves are breathtaking and so inventive. I couldn't stop giggling in a mixture of shock and awe. He really gave the impression that he was dangerous and you felt like you wouldn't want to enter his body zone for fear of coming out with a dislocated shoulder and your arm broken in three places. The film even managed to inject some x-ray style footage of bones breaking and snapping.
You've got to hand it to the main lead. He researched the ancient art of Muay Thai for Ong Bak and in this film even went some way to invent a new style which related to the elephants (ie breaking, stomping etc). He is incredibly athletic, creative and does possess some emotional range. When he is torn apart by the death of those close to him you can really see it and the rage that the sorrow creates is unleashed in a wave of bone crunching fury. I hope he goes from strength to strength, getting more fame and bigger budgets. One can only hope that a Hollywood studio doesn't get hold of him and water down his style and impact to the insipid level that it did with Jet Li in Lethal Weapon 4. Considering this is only his second major film (take a look at Chan, Li and Van Damme's early films) I think he has a very promising future and one that he richly deserves.
Such an entertaining film. When I left the cinema I felt exactly like I had after Ong Bak. Tingling, breathless and light headed from what I'd seen. OK the makers might have chucked just about everything in the film to push it along but in a way I respect them for doing their utmost to entertain the audience. Like I said before in this age of sanitised films where studios are wary of taking chances and want to put everything into the trailer this was a really welcome blast of exuberant film-making that dazzled, enthralled and exhilarated me.
After the jaw-droppingly impressive array of he-must-be-out-of-his-****ing-mind stunts in Ong-Bak, Tony Jaa's follow-up Warrior King (released in a heavily cut version in the USA as The Protector) is something of a disappointment. You can see where the time and effort have been put into the stunts, many of which are more impressive on paper than onscreen, but it never quite pays off proportionately. A big part of this comes down to the fact that the characters are poorly integrated into the action while the plot is a mess even by Asian action standards (imagine a cross between Tarzan in New York and The Freshman), not helped by the casting of some of Australia's worst and most effeminately-voiced actors in the supporting roles. Still, the four-minute single-take restaurant fight up several floors is VERY impressive and there aren't many movies where the villains throw an elephant at the hero...
on 13 December 2006
I've seen some of these reviews slagging off the storyline and the acting and it's not as bad as some people are saying. If i'm being honest i couldn't care less about the story as long as the action is top notch and this movie has action in spades. Warrior king is one of the best martial arts films i have ever seen. I haven't been this impressed since Bruce Lee. Tony Jaa is astounding and easily surpasses the stuff he does in Ong Bak. The choreography of the fight scenes is superb and for the first time since Bruce Lee you truly believe that this man could take on 50 men and win. All in all a top notch martial arts romp and i recommend it to anyone who likes martial arts films.
Warrior King had a hard act to follow - Onk Bak is simply amazing - and sadly this film failed to live up to its predecessor. That said it's still good.
The story is a little wierd - revolving around a kidnapped elephant if I remember rightly, but we're treated to the same incredible stunts and demonstration of figthing skills we come to expect from the incredible Tony Jaa.
Although this film is only a 7 out of 10 it's still a must see - simply because of 1 incredible scene; there's lots of amazing fighting in this (as you'd expect), but one scene is simply staggering - one of the greatest fight scenes I've ever seen in my opinion. I talk of a scene were you witness Tony fight his way up a huge, sweeping,spiral staircase. Shot in one take - with people flying over the balcony and falling what seems like 15 floors, with only tables to break their fall 4 foot from the ground, it's quite something to behold. The most amazing thing though - the fact this 5 minute or so battle was all done in one take: by the time Tony Jaa has dispatched the 50 or so henchmen and reached the top of the stairs he can barely walk he's so tired (he's not acting - he's just exausted) and yet he fights on. It's quite incredible, and watching Tony fight to his last; until he can barely stand or throw a punch, is something very special to witness: a phenominal human being giving it everything. I felt it an honour to have witnessed something so special even once in my life. To have the luxury to watch it over and over again on DVD is a blessing. Here we see a man bare his soul and fight to his last. Exposed, he gives it his all. The scene is a truly staggering peice of cinema.
Overall this film doesn't come close to Ong Bak - but that one scene, in some ways, blows the whole of Ong Bak - and every other martial arts film out of the water. I'd happily buy it for that alone.
If this review was helpful at all please give it the thumbs up. Thanks.
on 31 August 2006
Ok, first of all, forget the plot, forget the acting, this movie is simply a vehicle for Tony Jaa to demonstrate the best ass kicking martial arts ever committed to celluloid. If you've never seen Tony Jaa before, i recommend you watch ONG BAK first,....then buy this and settle down to witness an opus in screen fighting.
Two scenes are particularly fantastic, a tracking camera shot that lasts for over 10 mins and takes you through about 4 floors in a club with head punching and kicking of the highest order and a bone breaking scene where Tony demonstrates how deadly he could be if you actually got him angry.... at least 30 guards get wassed in varying and generally hilarious ways, each having one or multiple bones snapped in the process !!! Genius !!! All this and no wire work etc.... mindblowingly superb... buy it now !!!!!
on 10 December 2015
I love it, Great Quality and a memorable movie. Tony Jaa is unbelievable. The fight scenes are masterpieces of acrobatics, martial arts and supernatural agility. I am a die hard Bruce lee fan. I saw Enter the Dragon with my Father at the Cinema when I was about 5 years old and I firmly believe Tony Jaa, easily, belongs among the Greats along with Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Donnie Yen, Jet Li, Wu Jing, Mark Dacascos etc etc. He is also a gifted Director, having directed Ong bak 3, which I believe was a masterpiece in story, atmosphere, settings, acting and action. I loved it. I love this guy aswell, any martial arts movie associated with him, or more importantly, has him in it, just has to be Gold. Big Thumbs up. An enjoyable romp and great action movie.
on 25 June 2007
Tony Jaa is an extremely talented martial artist and this fact hits you in the face (metaphorically) in the stunning action setpieces in this film. I think Western audiences are too convinced that good fight sequences can only be achieved by wires and computer graphics, but as Warrior King shows, this is definitely not the case.
Tony Jaa takes months to come up with sequences and practises, practises, practises them to make them look intensely real on screen. You have to feel incredibly sorry for the stuntmen who only get 5 seconds on film just to have their arm convincingly broken in 12 places(!) And unlike, most films, where the choreography is mainly based around one style of martial art throughout the whole film, Warrior King (and its predecessor, Ong-Bak) highlight the varied combat forms that exist throughout the world and basically put these fighters up against each other - hence live-action Tekken! Although, of course, Muay Thai has to win out!
However, I did only give this film 3 stars because although, the fight scenes define the movie, it is technically a movie first and I was quite disappointed with the story, dialogue and characterisation.
The story is pretty much the same as Ong-Bak with a naive Thai man having to go to the city to rescue something and on the way beat up hundreds of villains to reclaim what was stolen. I would have forgiven the plot were it not for the fact that the dialogue between characters really is not slick, mostly due to the fact that there are 3 different languages being used in the film (Thai, Mandarin and English) and as none of the characters share a common tongue, having to rely on the subtitles all the time ruin the movie. Furthermore, unlike Ong-Bak, you do not see any development of the characters as the film goes on: Tony's character simply repeats himself each time with "Where's my elephants?" and then beats up every obvious villain in the shot; the comic relief provided by, once again, Phettahi Wongkhamlao, is not great because his character is more of a "go-between" between the Thai and English characters, therefore he cannot be as funny as he can be; and the villains are just your typical one-sided comic book bad guys. They may not say cliched lines as often, but they still act like them.
Out of the whole film, there are probably just about 5 scenes which are really great watching, but they just don't last long enough, and there is quite a lot of film to get through before the key action. People who loved Ong-Bak, like myself, will be disappointed and as a stand-alone action film, it may be too incoherent for general consumption. But for some real high-kicking, bone-crunching, visceral-tearing, mind-stupefying action sequences it really does show off. Look at it this way: Bruce Lee's Game of Death, technically, was a long film with only a few cool fights, and that became classic...
I bought Warrior King after being blown away watching Ong-Bak. Tony Jaa is quite something but unfortunately even he cannot save this film from mediocrity with his performance. The plot is similar to Ong-Bak, only this time a peaceful Thai boys elephants are stolen so he heads for Sydney to get them back. In Ong-Bak the simplistic plot was just an excuse for some spectacular fight scenes which is also the case here, but unfortunately the script is so bad that it becomes difficult viewing pretty early on.
The tubby sidekick from Ong-Bak returns as, you guessed it, a tubby sidekick. In Ong-bak he was mildly amusing but he struggles with English lines in Warrior King, speaking Thai only half the time for some reason. This isn't his fault but the directors. I don't know why because his English is so bad you can't take him seriously. Similarly, the pointless news breaks are read in broken English. The whole trip to Australia was a pointless attempt to Westernise the brilliant Ong-Bak. It would have been far better to keep the tale within Thailand and keep the script in Thai. That said, the action is what most people will watch this for. Jaa throws himself into some ever impressive scraps, breaking bones in his own spectacular and brutal way. The stunts are unbeliveable and Jaa rescues this from being rubbish. With better direction, this could have been a belter.
Like this? Try: Ong-Bak