Ong-Bak (Ong Bak: Muay Thai Warrior) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Ong-Bak (Ong Bak: Muay Thai Warrior) Reviews

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Super Reviewer
June 20, 2010
Like so many martial arts movies out there, it lacks in structure and is clearly more of an excuse to show great fighting scenes - and those are definitely great, with Tony Jaa performing all his spectacular Muay Thai stunts without the use of wires or special effects.
Super Reviewer
½ May 9, 2007
I admit, I don't watch a ton of martial arts movies. I wouldn't have the first clue if this were a film full of cliches or a complete reinvention of the genre. What I did love was the simplicity of the story - true to Kurt Vonnegut's rule: every character wants something! - and the riveting chase and fight scenes. An adrenaline fest, for sure! I wanted to see it because of all the marketing - No CGI! No wires! - and choreography-wise, it didn't disappoint. It was also neat to see the little notes to Spielberg and Besson (maybe others, I only noticed the two) scrawled on the sets in certain scenes. Wicked guerrilla film-making, an absolute blast! Exclamation marks!!
Super Reviewer
January 15, 2012
Tony Jaa burst onto the scene with this high octane Muay Thai fighter which really turned my head, a long time fan of good old JCVD I knew of kickboxing and Muay Thai but this film really displayed it properly.

Its a silly film lets be honest, like all fighter action films the plot is childishly basic and revolves around revenge, as they all tend to do. From there on you obviously get many excuses for Jaa to fight many guys who are much bigger and to show his prowess whilst remaining firmly faithful and good to his religion at all times.

The film is slick and well made with decent stunt sequences but its all about Jaa and his abilities which are impressive and very well choreographed. Could of done without the constant cheesy replays at different angles of virtually every little thing Jaa does, but if your a fan of these films you'll be used to that.
Super Reviewer
½ August 23, 2011
A young country man travels to Bangkok to recover the stolen stone head of Ong-Bak, the Buddha statue of his village. Though he is an incredibly skilled Muay Thai fighter, his master asks him not to use his dangerous skills, in an effort to keep him from accidentally killing someone and being forced to live the rest of his life in regret. Circumstances and the corrupt people of the city force him into situations where he must fight, though, and he's willing to do anything to bring the stone head back to his village, which is cursed by its absence.

The fight sequences in Ong-Bak are so fun that they completely make up for the fact that the rest of the movie is fairly dull. That won't matter at all, though, as you're watch Tony Jaa deliver endless flying elbows and kicks,
while pulling of some absolutely insane stunt and fight choreography. Sit back, relax, and grin while you watch him literally kick the dust off people's heads.
Super Reviewer
May 10, 2011
One of the best martial arts movies in recent years.
Super Reviewer
May 30, 2011
From one hopelessly over-the-top stunt to the next strewn together by predictable unimaginative plot typical to Asian cinema.

Not doubting Tony's athletic ability but his action sequences have no context and as a result grow redundant from one flip n' kick to the next in this never-ending display of "look-at-me"

The next Jackie Chan? Please. Jet Li? maybe... after he pulled all those ridiculous Hollywood flicks Tony has a chance of achieving equivalent "excellence".
Super Reviewer
May 22, 2011
This was pretty disappointing. Ong Bak tried way to hard to be cool and I found it very hard to like. The characters were annoying and the dialog was horrible. At points in the movie they tried to implement humor, but it seemed forced and wasn't funny at all. Also, the production value was rather shitty. I for one hated the replay scenes.
Super Reviewer
March 24, 2011
While kicks to the face are certainly enjoyable to watch, one should not try to center an entire film around them.
Super Reviewer
½ January 22, 2007
this film really excels and suffers at the same points as jaa's "the protector". the stunts and martial arts work were impressive, although some of the stunts in this film were a bit too contrived, but the story was barely serviceable, the editing choices were awful, and there were just way too many silly moments. jaa is enough of a phenomenon that i'll continue to watch anything he puts out, but better execution with the story would serve him well.
Super Reviewer
January 16, 2011
Tony Jaas muay thai is nothing short of awe-inspiring, and that took what was essentially a mediocre movie, and made it nearly mind-blowing. It's the kind of movie a martial artist will want to watch over and over in the hopes of figuring out the body mechanics of some of the stuff this guy can do. If you like martial arts, this is absolutely a MUST SEE.
Super Reviewer
½ January 31, 2007
Big Bear, a Fighter: Come on! Fuck Muay Thai!

Above are the words you don't say to Tony Jaa.

Little things happen to set this film in motion, and the motion then kicks off, literally. After an extended opening sequence involving a painful capture the flag game and other rituals, the movie begins. Tony Jaa stars as Ting, a practiced student of Muay Thai fighting, living in a small village. Soon he must save the village, as the statue head of their diety is stolen. Now Ting must go into the city and fight to get it back.

Tony Jaa kicks his way through all sorts of situations, and it's a lot of fun to watch. There are points where he jumps through, around, and over things, simply because he can. Then there is an insane Tuk Tuk chase, which includes gratuitous explosions. Many of these actions are even repeated in slow motion to show how crazy or awesome it is. Then you have the kick ass fight sequences.

This movie becomes more and more fun with repeated viewings. Jaa dishes out so much pain, and pretty much everyone deserves it. It also helps that there are no wires and no CGI. People are taking real hits throughout, all sorts of dangerous action is going down.

It doesn't help that Jaa is a terrible actor, but this is still a kick ass Thai martial arts movie that is well shot to make you see what's going down.

Old woman: Knives for sale.
Super Reviewer
December 13, 2009
Basically an hour and a half stunt reel, which are impressive, but much too light on plot for my tastes.
Super Reviewer
May 6, 2007
Awesome martial arts! Tony Jaa is truly out of this world, and some of the things he does here almost makes Jackie Chan look like an amateur. What's even more amazing is that he doesn't use a single wire (nor any CGI for that matter) for his stunts. Regrettably, however, that's more or less the only great thing about this movie. Because if you removed all the cool fight sequences, there really wouldn't be much left to enjoy. With a better script, and some more qualitative acting, I might have been more generous in my rating. But in its current state, I can't think of it as anything more than an average martial arts flick.
Super Reviewer
June 16, 2007
KICK ASS action!! Brutal, real and absolutley amazing !!!!

This is a martial arts movie which does not revolve around a story, a character, and action scenes for that matter: it revolves around Muay Thai itself. when I watched the interview with Tony Jaa, he stated: "Muay Thai came first, everything else came after." The focus was to show Muay Thai to the world, let it be the star.

And this is what this movie did..... it shows the beauty of Muay Thai boxing as it is never seen before, and the absence of wire fu, CG and special effects make this a daring masterpiece on the heels of Martial Arts classics such as Bruce Lee's Way of the Dragon and the much acclaimed Jackie Chan's Police Story.

Tony Jaa is the stuntman turned star, taking 4 years to train in Muay thai, showing what a natural, athletic martial artist he really is. When the head of a Buddha Idol is stolen from his village, monk to be Ting takes on the duty of recovering the head at any cost, which takes him to the seedy underworld of Bangkok, where Ting's paitence, serenity and Muay Thai skills are put to the ultimate tests, and also drawing upon the wrath of the local crime lord who is responsible for the theft of the idol's head.

Now, this isnt a movie known for a sharp script and great acting, though there a few good moments, such as the "knives for sale" scene. But the real star is the action > We are all familar with kung fu and karate, but they seem tame compared to the sheer brute force of Muay Thai, and Tony Jaa executes it to perfection on screen, where every single action shot is GOLD.

Fight scenes are long and eye opening.... and can cause people to cringe. ^_^ - All good I say!!

Best scene in my opinion would be the Second round at the fight club between the 3 opponets, in contrast to the famous chase scene, but i prefer fighting.

Best Thai film ever..... best martial arts film of the 21st century. So far.
Super Reviewer
August 2, 2007
"A new breed of martial arts hero is born"

Jaa plays Ting, a young man living in a village in rural Thailand. Discovered as an infant on the steps of the town's temple and raised by monks who taught him the Thai martial art of muay thai, Ting is sent to Bangkok when the head of the town's statue of the Buddha, to which they pray to bring the annual rains to their drought-stricken region, is stolen. The country boy is plunged into the big city's seething criminal underworld, and forced to use his fighting skills to dispatch a parade of thugs in an underground fight club on his way to finding the criminal mastermind who stole the Buddha head so he can return it before drought and starvation bring his hometown to ruin.

The most exciting Asian success of recent times is, surprisingly, of Thai origin, not the film as such (it's a pottering drivel of a story line) but rather the movie's star, Panom Yeerum, or 'Tony Jaa' to us Westerners. Perhaps one of the most remarkable finds in the evolution of martial arts cinema, Jaa resembles a spirited Jackie Chan in his stunt work, only with enough ferocity to make Steven Seagal look like a prancing mary. Ong-Bak is all about full contact Muay Thai kickboxing, and Tony Jaa is so remarkable to watch, he will quite literally leave you breathless: a chase scene through Thailand's market streets has the boy scaling walls in a single leap, glide underneath moving trucks while in the splits, and somersault his way through bustling traffic with split-second execution. You think that's something, wait until he starts beating people up, with enough force to bring down a Jumbo Jet, his knees and elbows can split through cycle helmets, he performs wildly acrobatic kicks that defy gravity, even when his legs are on fire! The final brawl sees a succession of stuntmen line up as canon fodder for his exhilarating skills, which emphasises the movie's selling point to such a degree that it literally beats any kind of wistful cynicism clean out of your brain. The movie's secret, and Tony Jaa's, is the impressive lack of wire gimmickry, stunt doubles or computer generated nonsense, a rare thing in this new age of the instant kung fu hero. Ong-Bak reverses the genre back to its bare essentials and emphatically embraces talent over trickery. What Jaa also makes us neglect is a pitiful story line, another herald to the golden age, where he travels into the dark, gambling infested underworld of Thailand to recover the stolen head of his village's sacred Buddhist statue, but in a movie this explicitly crowd pleasing trivial issues like plot and characterisation are by the by. This movie kicks ass and should come with a packet of plasters ? as for Tony Jaa, with a debut this strong, it will remain to be seen how long he can resist the call from Planet Weinstein.
Super Reviewer
June 14, 2006
If this movie had only fights and chases and action it would get a fantastic rating for me, but I can't get over how poorly written the dialoges were and that there wasn't much of a story to speak. Funny when people complain about such things in major blockbusters but let it slip in small, likable films like this. That being said, the fights and chases are breath-taking. You actually see that it's all been done for real, I never felt worse for stuntmen after a movie and was literally flinching at some of the impacts they had to endure with their bodies. Too bad the rest of the film didn't make for a more engaging experience. Worth seeing for the action anyway, but don't expect even decent acting or dialoges like people actually talk.
A few days later now, I add half a star because I catch myself still shaking my head about the awesome stunts.
Super Reviewer
½ August 3, 2006
Probably the best Martial Arts film ever made. With huge fight scenes, stunning choreography and comical chase scenes.

Tony Jaa has been described as Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan and Jet Li all rolled into one. His speed, agility are a true force to be reckoned with, I hope he goes on to make many more films.

For any fan of Martial Arts, this is an absolute must see, don't be put off by the sub-titles - you'll be pleasently amazed.
Super Reviewer
February 5, 2007
It's Incrediable. Sensational and cool. Wild, funny and explosive. The most incrediable martial arts action sequences i've ever seen. Posiablely one of the greatest action movies ever made. Tony Jaa delivers in his physical performance to show us things that we were not thought possiable
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