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:: Ong Bak

This Thai film offers a nice retreat from the new-style martial arts films. With Tony Jaa, we’re introduced to an extraordinary physical specimen, a man to whom it appears the laws of gravity only partially apply. We witness him leaping over moving cars, diving through barbed wire, leaping on top of a group of men and running over them, bouncing from head to head, shoulder to shoulder. In watching some of his more breathtaking stunts, its easy to assume that wires were involved, which makes his physical feats all the more breathtaking.

As for the story, it’s typical martial arts stuff: the small village rests outside of contemporary culture; it is a village steeped in tradition, devoid of modern technology and fanfare - kind of an eastern version of an Amish village in North America.

The village has remained simplistic thanks to its devotion to Buddhism and the appreciation and expectation the villagers’ hoisted upon Ong Bak, a Buddha statue and resident Idol. But the villagers’ morale drops when a two-bit thief steals Ong Bak’s head. Charged with the task of retrieving the statue’s head, Ting (Tony Jaa) travels to Bangkok to locate the thief and the sacred idols head. From there Ting encounters small time and big time gangsters, fight clubs, and any other device implemented to create intense action sequences.

Like most other great martial arts film, the story isn’t as important as the action you see on screen. Tony Jaa and his physical abilities provide the impact that makes good viewing. If “Ong Bak” is any indication, Jaa has a terrific career ahead of him. He is simply the most exciting thing to happen to martial arts films since Jackie Chan’s breakthrough from serious martial arts films to comedic fare.

This DVD is highly recommended. The movie has high production value, brutal action, average acting and solid directing. The extras are quite extensive and informative. This is the best version because it includes the two versions of the movie.

Best is a detailed ‘making of’, also a documentary on Thai Boxing, interviews with the punchers, kickers and creators of the film, some behind-the-scenes footage of the fighters getting ready and prepped, and an interesting bit on different Thai fight moves. In addition, there's an option to watch the French cut of the film or the uncut two versions

DVD Extras

Disc 1International feature + special uncut Thai feature

Disc 2“Born For The Fight” Thai boxing documentary
Making of Ong Bak
Tony Jaa interview and Director interview
Hong Kong and French film premieres
French music video
Storyboard comparison
Rehearsals
Muay Thai 9 moves demonstration
3D Animatic comparison
Audition videos
Tony Jaa fight demonstration
International trailers
Deleted scenes
Alternative ending
Hidden messages
Sketch gallery
Poster gallery
Stills gallery
Ong Bak screensaver