Saturday, April 02, 2005

Ong-bak (2003)

"Uh, just cause it's in his name, doesn't mean we should actually PUT his back in the poster boss..."

Genre: Adventure Crime Thriller (Thailand)

Starring: Tony Jaa (The Protector; The Bodyguard), Petchtai Wongkamlao

Directed By: Prachya Pinkaew (The Protector)

Overview: A skilled young fighter is sent to retrieve the stolen head of their sacred village Buddah.

Acting: These movies are never about the acting. Yes Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon raised the bar, but it's hard to go against tradition. The main character does the best job of acting. He's very minimalist, a very strong, silent type.
Rating: 6

The scenes are often too dark. Open that aperture for God sake. Nothing innovative, they do slo-mo repeats of particularly fancy shots, and they do it a lot. As for anything good besides the well shot action sequences? Not really.
Rating: 5

The script is really stupid. The version I saw had subtitles with bad grammar here and there. As for the Hum Lae character, he was a selfish two-dimensional caricature who swore too much to be worth taking seriously. By the time he comes around and realizes that he should do right, we already hate him too much to care. As for the character building scenes, it was more force fed background for the audience than two people talking. Corny and poorly written. I really hope it was the translation.
Rating: 2

The plot's premise is decent, rescue the sacred relic, etc etc. But in the end the head is oddly irrelevant. The theft was for no good reason, and Hum Lae does a great job of leaving a Jar Jar Binks impression on you. Wait, wait, I'm being too harsh. It's a martial arts movie after all.
Rating: 4

The mood is about the Thai Boxing and the incredible feats of physical prowess. Damn straight the end battle is awesome, I mean some guy uses a saw as a weapon, and that fight with the crazy table-throwing fridge-wielding live-wire-sweeping assailant, wow, exciting stuff. If only Ting, the main character, wasn't bogged down by his supporting cast.
Rating: 7

So tough he punched Buddah through time and space, right in the eye

Overall Rating: 48% (Off By A Long Shot)

Aftertaste: The movie is one I think I'll watch again, since I own it... But frankly, I think I'll skip all the plot development, you know? Seriously the fighting is good, I dig the Thai Boxing and all, it's brutal. But overall it's badly written and forgettable.