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It's Crunch time with Ong Bak


Out in theatres this week is kick-ass film Ong Bak: the Thai Warrior. Much like most action films involving martial arts, the plot is about getting from A to B through an incredibly elaborate series of obstacles as the present martial artist du jour leaps through numerous plot holes. I'm reminded of Game of Death somehow but not as accidental.

Tony Jaa plays Ting, a country boy trained in the ancient martial art of Muay Thai boxing by a monk who joined the ministry after the overwhelming guilt of taking another man's life. He is sent to the city to take back the head of Ong Bak, the village's deity that was stolen by a city punk with ties to gambling, drugs and selling national treasures.

He wants the head, but they won't give it to him, but he refuses to use his training as a form of intimidation. In other words, they prod him enough to unleash his fury upon the evil doers.

What's most impressive is not the acting or the plot, but the action sequences. Having no stunt doubles, wirework, or computer graphics, the result is bone crushingly organic and raw. Every knee to the chin and elbow to the head is met with head snaps, flinches and winces of pain from the audience. An "I feel you man, but I'm glad I ain't you" wave comes over you.

It leaves you satisfied that an action movie is what you came for and an action movie is what was delivered.

However as my boyfriend pointed out, "All he wanted was head, couldn't they have given the guy a break?"


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