Bruce Lee (李小龍) achieved a huge hero screen persona with the filmEnter the Dragon (唐山大兄). Jackie Chan (成龍) is remembered for the movie Project A (A計劃). And now in Thailand, with the movie Ong-bak, Tony Jaa has come of age. \nOng-bak is also the kind of movie that will make Thai people proud of their own martial art -- muay thai, or Thai boxing. It has successfully presented muay thai as a visually stylish and enjoyable martial art. \nIt is not like the Thai boxing we see on TV. The martial arts action is well-designed and done with more grace, under director Prachya Pinkaew's ambitious lens and with Tony Jaa's impressive performance. \nThe story of Ong-bak is very simple. Ting (Tony Jaa) is from the countryside, where he has learned martial arts from monks. \nOne day, the head of the statue of Ong-bak Buddha -- the symbol and guarding spirit of the village -- is stolen by an urban thief. Without Ong-bak, the annual ceremony cannot be held and the well-being of the village will be affected. So, Ting vows to go Bangkok to track down the thief and reclaim Ong-bak for the village. \nOn the way, Ting naturally gets involved in a series of fights and gangster acts. These include a chase-and-run sequence where Jaa performs stunts no less entertaining than Jackie Chan's. He effortlessly jumps through a few tables like walking on the moon and does a high split in the air, flying through a pile of swords. Then he somersaults through a collection of woks full of boiling oil. \nThese are fast-paced and compact action scenes. All of them are done without the help of computer graphics or wires. To prove it, director Prachya shows each of these actions more than once, from different angles and in slow motion, just in case some of the audience misses out on the action. \nIn conclusion, Tony Jaa not only shows off the flying elegance of muay thai but also the fierce aspect of kung-fu. Language is in Thai, with Chinese subtitles.
Directed by: Prachya Pinkaew
Starring:Tony Jaa, Petchtai Wongkamlao (Geroge), Pumwaree Yodkamol (Muaylek)
Running time: 105 minutes
Taiwan Release: Aug 13
June 1 to June 7 In February 1988, Robert Wu (吳清友) set aside NT$17.5 million to purchase two Henry Moore sculptures from London’s Marlborough Gallery. He never bought the pieces. Feeling slighted that the gallery manager initially looked down on him as a Taiwanese, he decided that night to use the money to open his own art space back home. “Without selling any art, that money could support the gallery for four years. If I feature one artist per month, that provides a stage for at least 100 artists,” Wu said in the book Eslite Time (誠品時光) by Lin Ching-yi (林靜宜).
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