Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior
A country boy from a village in Thailand (Tony Jaa) travels to Bangkok to retrieve the stolen head of the village’s sacred Buddha statue, and his prowess at Muay Thai kickboxing catches the eye of a local crime lord, who happens to be the boss of the thief he’s looking for. The plot is both predictable and absurdly complicated, but it’s serviceable enough as a showcase for Jaa’s moves. The action is virtually nonstop, and director Prachya Pinkaew can’t resist repeating many of his more spectacular moves (and even some of the simpler ones) two or three times, letting us savor them from different angles. It’s a little annoying, like a musical where the performers insist on taking encores whether or not you like it. Still, the fight scenes are impressively staged, and Pinkaew’s pride is understandable.