Tuesday, January 11, 2005


First off, I will say that in the 6 years I’ve been going to Midnight Madness films at the Toronto International Film Festival, this is the first film to get a full standing ovation from the crowd. (The programmer for the MM section, Colin, later confirmed that this was the only standing ovation given to a MM screening in it's entire 11 years). This was sustained for 2-3 minutes. Ong-Bak was a deserving action movie. The story follows Ong-Bak, a monk-in-training in a small village in Thailand. Shortly after winning the village ritual where all the young men climb a tree simultaneously to capture the flag, the village idol (also named Ong-Bak) is desecrated and the head taken by crooked artifact dealers to Bangkok. Sent by the village elders, our hero goes to Bangkok to recover the stolen head. Of course in a movie like this, which is not too far off the path ventured by Jackie Chan and Jet Li, the story is just an excuse to string together a lot of great fight and action sequences.In this respect, Ong-Bak sets the bar to a new height for this type of picture. There are nearly twice as many action sequences as a typical Chan or Li picture. These include a mini-cab chase through the streets of Bankok, many one-on-one street fights, a chase through the streets by a local gang which involves obstacles that are both creative, and plentiful, and this doesn’t cont the climax of the film which is non-stop for about 20 minutes. Adding the Muay Thai fighting style into the mix, a local form of Thailand Kickboxing involving mainly elbows, shin-, and knee-lunges is the master stroke which really adds a fresh look to the movie. This is coupled a lack of CGI and wire-fu which are becoming overly relied upon in American and Hong Kong films. Another fun trick the movie uses is something akin to an instant replay. After an interesting blow or stunt is executed, it is re-shown from several different angles to underscore the impact.I can’t remember the last time I exclaimed aloud so many times while watching a movie. My throat was nearly raw at the end. Those poor stuntmen that take blows from the hero, I feel for them...Ouch.


Blogger grace said...

very cool... thanks for the tip...

4:57 p.m.  

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