Movie Review – The Ong Bak Trilogy (2014)

The Ong Bak Blu-ray Trilogy
Ong Bak: The Thai Warrior
Directed by Prachya Pinkaew
Ong Bak 2
Directed by Tony Jaa & Panna Rittikrai
Ong Bak 3
Directed by Tony Jaa & Panna Rittikrai
Courtesy of Magnet Releasing
Original Release Dates:
-Ong Bak: The Thai Warrior – 2003
-Ong Bak 2 – 2008
-Ong Bak 3 – 2010
Trilogy Blu-ray Release Date: July 29, 2014

Ong Bak

When it comes to martial arts movies, I want to be blown away by the fight scenes, but there needs to be a story in there as well. If there are tons of fight sequences just for the sake of fighting, my interest wanes. Fortunately, the Ong Bak trilogy has plenty of fighting and drama both. The fine folks at Magnet Releasing saw fit to group all three films together and issue them on Blu-ray in a special package. The result is an excellent collection that will be a welcome addition to any film-lover’s library.

If you are not familiar with these films, here are the plot synopses courtesy of Magnet Releasing:

Ong Bak: The Thai Warrior
Tony Jaa, the fighting superstar “destined for film’s martial arts pantheon,” (New York Daily News) electrifies as a religious young warrior who swears an oath of peace. But when a gangster steals the head of Ong-Bak, his village’s deity, Ting heads for Bangkok to get it back. In a film Time Magazine calls “exhilarating” with relentless, fever-pitched action free of stunt doubles and special effects, Jaa performs some of the most awesome physical feats ever seen on film.

Ong Bak 2
Martial arts superstar Tony Jaa stars in and directs this epic tale of revenge set hundreds of years in the past. Featuring a huge cast and hordes of elephants, this prequel takes Jaa’s skills to the next level, showcasing him as a master of a wide range of martial arts styles – while proving him to be a promising director as well.

Ong Bak 3
Martial arts legend Tony Jaa returns with more insane kicks & mind-blowing stunts in the finale to the ONG BAK trilogy, facing his ultimate challenge: a deadly showdown with a fierce supernatural warrior.

I had never seen any of the ONG BAK films prior to receiving this trilogy, so it was a real treat to be able to sit down and watch them in a single marathon. And seeing them in HD makes the action much more engaging; I love to see every jaw-dropping stunt and bone-crushing kick in crystal-clear clarity.

Each film is shot well and looks great onscreen. The production values look high, although the sets are, for the most part, very low-key. This is not a negative at all; on the contrary, it’s nice to see action films taking place outside of big-city venues.

The acting in each ONG BAK film is pretty good overall as well. Actor/director Tony Jaa is an amazing talent, and I hope to see much more of his work in the future; he is one of the few action stars that can actually act, so seeing him onscreen is always enjoyable, even when he is not breaking limbs and cracking skulls.

If I were forced to pick a favorite out of The Ong Bak Trilogy, I would have to say the first one is the one that jumps out at me. While the action is excellent in all three films, the first ONG BAK feels like it has more heart and more drama to it. I will definitely go back and revisit it again.

The Ong Bak Trilogy is a big win for me, and I highly recommend giving it a shot. Even if you don’t want to buy all three films at once, at least check out the first one; if you do, chances are you’ll be eager to snatch the Blu-ray trilogy up afterwards. This set is available now.

MSB

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