If you’re an action movie fan then you’ve probably seen or heard of Ong Bak: Muay Thai Warrior. The Thai movie was a balls-to-the-wall action fest with some of the most inventive fighting choreography to be seen in such a long time. Ong Bak did not rely on the already established and very popular Chinese fighting or martial arts choreography. What it gave action movie fans are cool hand to hand combat scenes and acrobatics that didn’t rely on camera tricks, CGI or even wire-fu. This was the freshest looking action movie to come out in quite a long time. The movie would not have been successful though if not for the amazing fight skills and talents of its lead star Tony Jaa.
Tony Jaa is the breakout star of Ong Bak: Muay Thai Warrior and it was the movie that finally made people notice him. Jaa drew from his long experience as a stunt man (he once doubled for Sammo Hung when the famed Hong Kong action star filmed a commercial in Thailand) and as a practitioner of Muay Boran (an ancient form of Muay Thai) in performing his beautiful and fluid action scenes. Jaa is one of the few action stars that didn’t use any kind of body double. He performed all of his stunts and didn’t rely on wires to perform them. The naturalness of the choreography and the fact that Jaa could move freely sans any support translated well into film and what we have is an action movie everyone loved.
Jaa’s amazing performance has captured the imagination of action fans all over the world, with many of them calling Jaa as the next Asian action superstar and a likely heir to the mantle of Bruce Lee.
Jaa will eventually make two more Ong Bak films and also star in the equally exciting Tom-Yum-Goong. Jaa is set to return to the big screen this year with Tom-Yum-Goong 2.
Craig is a travel write, blogger and journalist. He has been backpacking all over Asia for the last three years. His current base is Thailand where he plans to learn Thai in Bangkok, specifically at the Language Express School.