Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Sounds and visons: Ong-Bak

Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior:
"Mr. Jaa is a gifted athlete, and there's something to be said for a fighter who dances on heads only for the honor of the Buddha."

"[Jaa] delivers a constant stream of suicidally crazy-legged stunts that would make the Jackass crew reach for their Blue Cross cards."
-- Andrew Wright, THE STRANGER (SEATTLE, WA)

The Thai Warrior "No stunt doubles, no computer images, no strings attached"

Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior
If the stories are true - and only a scene or two in "Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior" made me question their authenticity - Tony Jaa is not human.

The stories are that Jaa performed his amazing string of acrobatic stunts in this otherwise-dreadful crime drama without benefit of the usual assists (invisible flying wires, spinnable harnesses, CGI, etc.) found in Asian martial-arts movies.

Nope. This Thai superman can jump over your head, and do three or four somersaults in midair, from a standing position, all powered only by his own muscular agility. He's pretty convincing at this throughout "Ong-Bak." Convinced me he was born on Jupiter, anyway.

Besides making the likes of Jackie Chan and Buster Keaton look arthritic, Jaa is also as fierce a fighter as Bruce Lee was in his prime.


The movie's strong points are its clever chase sequences, in which Jaa outruns (or levitates over) gangs of murderous baddies through obstacle courses of everyday Bangkok commerce and street traffic. They're like running sociocultural travelogues - guided by a guy from Jupiter, so you never have to worry about getting bored.
-- Los Angeles Daily News

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