Legacy Review

Ong Bak: Muay Thai Warrior (2003)

When I was 21, I made a list of my 100 favorite movies and I put this at #93. Of course today, it would be nowhere near my Top 100. But I do think there’s some college-bonehead reasoning to my selection at the time. It’s the perfect movie to watch in a dorm room with beers and buddies.

Tony Jaa’s combat and stunt work is really amazing and visceral — so many of his moves are iconic, up to and including his survival of a gas explosion after which he beats up some bad dudes with his clothes literally on fire. The slow mo replays of some of the best moves makes this feel even more like a fighting video game come to life.

The story is a total afterthought, obviously. It has a pleasntly comedic and slapstick tone for most of its run-time (the last 15 minutes turn slightly more brutal and dark, with snapped limbs and crushed bodies, for the worse). But we all know why we’re here — the hand-to-hand set pieces that truly dazzle.

Is It Good?

Very Good (6/8)

Note: This review was originally published elsewhere. Please excuse brevity or inconsistencies in style. If you have questions or feedback, please leave a comment or contact me.

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