Ong Bak

Ticket from the closing night session

A lot of trouble to go to for a little head...

When the head of a Buddha named Ong Bak is stolen from a rural village in Thailand by drug dealer Don, the villagers entrust their favourite son and best young Muay Thai fighter, Ting, to go retrieve it for them.

Arriving in Bangkok Ting tracks down a former village member who has changed his name to George and his getting himself in trouble all the time. Predictably George fleeces him at the first opportunity and runs off to bet the money at the local fighting club. They are joined by Muay, a young woman and partner in George's many money-making schemes.

There is a funny scene in the club where Ting tries to walk over to the betting window to get his money, only to walk into the ring and ends up having to fight. He wins it with one kick. The watching big boss (with his robot voice "HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!") is impressed even though he loses his money. It turns out Don is working for the same man who is annoyed with him for bringing him the head of Ong Bak when he wanted something else.

As the action scenes are really what make this movie impressive, I won't ruin them by going into too much detail. Just to say that the hits in his movie really look like they hurt and it is all satisfyingly real. This is really great and a breath of fresh air after movies such as the Matrix just about CGI'ed the genre to death.

There is also an excellent chase sequence that looks like it belongs in the Blues Brothers, but with Tuk-tuks instead of cop cars. I really liked how they really played on things that are unique to Thailand like the Thai boxing traditions and the form of Buddhism in that country and role in society.

The best thing I heard about this movie is that the company Madman Entertainment looks as it is going to pick it up for distribution in Australia so everyone who missed it will get to see it fairly soon.


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