co-written by Suphachai Sittiaumponpan
cinematography by Nattawut Kittikhun
Thailand, 2003, Swank, color, 35mm, 105 min.
Cast: Tony Jaa [aka Panom Yeerum], Petchtai Wongkamlao, Pumwaree Yodkamol, Suchao Pongwilai
Thai and English with English subtitles
striking contrast to LAST LIFE IN THE UNIVERSE, Prachya Pinkaew’s film
is all action – frenetic, ceaseless, and jaw-dropping. Tony Jaa is the
answer to all the fans who still mourn the loss of Bruce Lee. As he
confronts various obstacles and enemies, Ting (Jaa) leaps, tumbles,
kicks, smashes, rolls, whirls, and defies all the laws of gravity –
without any wires or computer generated imagery. The story is rather
irrelevant – a valuable jade head of Buddha, stolen from a small
Eastern Thai village, must be brought back to ensure the health and
safety of the struggling villagers.
What really matters is Tony
Jaa’s body moving through space. The film sounds far more violent than
it looks with lots of cracking bones and smashed bodies, but if
squeamishness keeps you away, you will have missed one of the finest
examples of contemporary choreography. There is nothing that can compare with ONG-BAK.
-- Chale Nafus, Director of Programming, Austin Film Society