2003 Running time: 108 Certificate: 18 Rating: 4

Synopsis

An adrenalin rush of action which would floor the most jaded highkicks fan, this Thai rollercoaster of stunts is so impressive in its own right that you don't really require the niceties of plot or character. Tony Jaa is the practically superhuman righter of wrongs sent to Bangkok to retrieve a stolen statue. A bone-crunchingly conducted symphony of flying fists, loose limbs and underused brain cells, the lid's about to come off the Jaa.

Director

  • Prachya Pinkaew

Cast

  • Tony Jaa

  • Mum Jokemok

  • Pumwaree Yodkamol

Review

Hop off Jackie Chan. Move over Jet Li. Don't bother coming back, Bruce Lee. There's a new kid in town. Step (or glide) forward Tony Jaa.

He's the lowly village orphan raised by a kindly monk and schooled in the ancient martial arts system of Muay Thai - Nine Body Weapons.

When the head of the Buddhist Ong-Bak statue is stolen - rendering the village vulnerable to harm - Tone (or Ting as he's cast here) is charged with getting it back.

Quitting the simple rural life, Ting heads for the drug-ravaged streets of Bangkok where he discovers the statue has been pinched by a local gang boss. Let battle commence.

The big selling point here is the total absence of CGI special effects, wire-stunts or jazzy camera trickery.

Instead, every awesome setpiece - such as Jaa levitating over thugs chasing him through Bangkok's teeming streets - is the real deal with not a sniff of computer software.

The only purpose of the plot is to vaguely establish the paper thin characters and form a framework into which any eye-popping stunt can be inserted.

So we see super smooth moves such as The Rat Walks on the Line and The Monkey Presents The Ring (not too sure about that one).

But so visceral are the perfectly staged fight scenes that you can forgive the fact this is little more than an all-guns-blazing showcase for the talented newcomer.

A bone-crunchingly conducted symphony of flying fists, loose limbs and underused brain cells, the lid's about to come off the Jaa.