Reviews

Ong-Bak

4

Let’s not muck around: you’ve never seen anything like Tony Jaa. Think Bruce Lee’s class, Jet Li’s crunch and Jackie Chan’s flex. Then double it. With no CGI, no wires, no stunt-doubles and no pretences, Ong-Bak is a stripped-down, greased-up, teeth-rattling showcase of full-contact Muay Thai boxing (all elbows, knees and pain) and its star’s astonishing gymnastic face-smashing. In fact, the only thing that comes close to watching Jaa fight is watching him flee: through barbed-wire coils, between sheet glass corridors, over shambling cyclists and under moving trucks. Slamming a fresh gasp out of a tired genre, it storms past the clichéd plot with a breathtaking display of grace and power, a sheer delight in the balleticism of the human body not seen since Buster Keaton. But then, Keaton never set his legs on fire and started taking out opponents like a human Catherine wheel.

 

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