Monday, April 18, 2005
Who said I didn't watch action flicks? Oh, right. I did. :P But this was the first Thai film I've had an opportunity to watch so I thought, why not take it? Plus, my friend was real convincing when she asked me to go with her. I admit I was a little reluctant to watch it because, as I said, I don't normally watch action movies. But then this was about martial arts, not guns and explosions. And sure, to me, boxing is also boring as hell, but this was Thai Boxing. Anyway, I'm glad I watched it anyway because I actually liked it. Enough, to make me think that maybe I'm not giving action films enough credit.
Okay, the plot was reasonably cliche. Some guy steals the head of a sacred Buddha statue (called Ong-Bak) this superstitious/religious little village in Thailand owned, so their most able-bodied man, Ting (Tony Jaa) went to Bangkok to get it back, and to do so he had to undergo a series of boxing matches--first, to get his cousin's (who's lived in the city for some time) help in finding the address of the guy who stole it, and next, to actually get back the head, which happened to be in the possession of a mob-type boss who smuggled Buddha statues to make money.
Admittedly, some parts were fairly predictable. But then, it didn't have a love story at all, and that was a surprise. Or at least it was to me. I kept looking for traces or hints of romance between the protagonist and the girl, as there still was a girl who was also essential to the story (and she was real cute too), but there was none. So, despite my being partial to love stories, it was sort of a relief that this movie didn't have one as a side story. For once, I was able to encounter a story wherein the motivation for the hero was not the heroine. Actually, just the girl's "heroine" status is already questionable.
Anyway, it was good that the story concentrated on just one thing, instead of having a bunch of side stories. There were no tediously long backgrounds about the characters, no irritating problems on the side, and yet the characters were all firmly established, and in the end, there were no loose ends. Okay, maybe one--they never said what happened to Muay (the girl) afterwards, but like I said, she wasn't that much of a main character anyway, and even from the start you already knew that she was pretty independent, that you would know that any extra scene for her sake was something the movie could do without, and did.
Something else I shouldn't fail to mention is how obvious it was that this movie was made for an international market. The scene with the tuk-tuk (tricycle-type vehicle that was in that James Bond/Credit Card commercial) was such publicity for Bangkok City. And having the fight scenes in different settings, was such a set-up to show the different places in Thailand. It was really cool to have a fight scene in a cave though. That's something I've never seen before. I am kind of questioning the plausibility (?) of the whole black market and boxing thing--it just seems too exagerrated to actually exist in the real world. But I guess it was pretty good on film, and isn't that what matters anyway?
On a final note, the production, story, cast, etc. were nowhere near those of Hero's (Jet Li), Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon's (Chow Yun Fat), or Jackie Chan's movies (although the fact that they didn't use digital effects and were pretty old school about all stunts, etc. was really cool), but it was definitely enough to make an impression (and I do mean a good one) for the Thai film industry, and I'm hoping that with that as a start, it would be safe to say that there's another Asian country we'd have nice movies to import from.
I guess there are times when it's good not to be so patriotic. You get to know more about the world.
The last reason, by the way, why I like this film, is because I haven't seen a movie in ages (the last I watched was Hitch, and I saw that on the first week it was playing), so just getting to be in a movie theater again felt so great.
Posted at 01:40 am by miriyammqx
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June 29, 2011 05:22 PM PDT
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May 12, 2005 10:12 AM PDT
They do actually end up tying in Muay's ending. They showed her walking with the funeral procession in the ending scene, right before they zoom up to Ting in his monk attire on top of that one elephant.
I thought that bit was cute, at least, that she ended up seeing George's (that was the cousin's random made-up name to avoid being called Hum Lei, or whatever, I think...) hometown and he got to keep his promise to take care of her in an indirect kind of way.