Howdy all you Supercultists out there on the interwebz! I’m Bad Movie Professor Cameron Coker (BS in “Muay Thai” with a minor in “Ruining Somebody’s Day”) and I’ll be posting my hype-tacular speeches every week along with some long lost speeches from past Supercult Shows!
This week Supercult runs through the streets screaming, “It’s Real! It’s Really Really REAL!!” after experiencing Ong-Bak: Muay Thai Warrior!
In a small village in Thailand, protected by an ancient Buddha statue named Ong-Bak, a skilled fighter lives in peace. But when a band of thieves cut off and steal the head of the cherished statue, this Thai warrior will begin a journey of honor, purity, justice, and kicking the crap out of drug lords and gangsters! A new breed of martial arts hero is born… Ong-Bak: Muay Thai Warrior!
Let’s cut to the chase people. The 2003 film Ong-Bak: Muay Thai Warrior is not a good movie. It starts with a simple premise but quickly loses itself in the weeds as the character wanders aimlessly around Bangkok looking for his stolen Buddha head and kicking all the mean people he meets along the way. It’s possible that the director, Prachya Pinkaew, was simply using the film as a stepping stone to bigger projects. During the foot chase through the alleys one of the shop house doors reads “Hi Speilberg, let do it together,” and during the three-wheeled taxi chase one of the buildings has writing that reads, “Hi Luc Besson we are waiting for you”. Spielberg is of course the American director of Saving Private Ryan, E.T, and Schindler’s List, while Besson is the French director of The Fifth Element, Léon: The Professional, and The Big Blue.
That being said, Ong-Bak is awesome for one simple reason: Muay Thai.
Muay Thai is probably one of the most bad ass forms of martial arts in the universe. Muay Thai is referred to as “The Art of Eight Limbs” because it makes use of eight different points of contact: punches, kicks, elbow and knee strikes as opposed to the two of boxing and the four of more regulated combat sports. When Muay Thai was being developed as a practical martial art during times of war in the 16th century, these eight points of contact mimicked various weapons; the hands became the sword and dagger for quick strikes, the shins and forearms became shields for blocking blows, the elbows the mace and hammer for delivering powerful crushing blows, the knees and legs the axe and staff for attacking at a distance and sweeping the opponent to the ground for a killing strike. Muay Thai was developed into a brutally efficient way to ruin somebody’s day, became super popular with commoners hoping to defend themselves against oppressive aristocrats, and soon became a national sport, which might tell you something about the Thai people.
Ong-Bak may not be a coherent story, but it has some of the coolest fight scenes around. The film’s main character Ting is played by Tony Jaa who trained in Muay Thai since childhood and the concept of the film was born of his desire to bring Muay Thai to the mainstream. Critics have said that the true star of the movie isn’t Jaa but his martial arts abilities, and those abilities never cease to amaze. Ong-Bak uses no CGI or wire tricks and Tony Jaa performed all his own stunts. When Ting jump kicks a guy off a motorcycle, that shit is real. When Ting does a front flip to kick a guy in the face, that shit is real. When Ting kicks a gangster through the side of a wooden building, that shit is real! When Ting kicks a guy through a second floor glass window and then jumps after him to the ground, that shit is real!! When Ting gets in a fight at a gas station, gets his pants lit on fire, then kicks a thug in the face with his fire legs…THAT! SHIT! IS! REAL! So real in fact that the fire spread upwards too fast and burned Jaa’s eyebrows and nose. Then, you know what he did? He did it two or three more times to make sure that shit was real!!!
Ong-Bak has a 7.2 on IMDB and an 86% on Rotten Tomatoes. With a modest budget of $1.1 million, the film made over $20 million worldwide and paved the way for two prequel films.
Ong-Bak was so mother-fucking real that when it was gearing up to be released in the west, Steven Seagal was so impressed with it that he planned to release the film through his production company with newly-shot scenes featuring himself as Ting’s teacher. Leave it to Seagal to see something cool and then want to take credit for it. Leave it to Supercult to simply kick-back, relax, and enjoy the spectacle.
The Supercult Show is proud to present, Ong-Bak: Muay Thai Warrior!