When “Ong Bak” got a U.S. theatrical release in 2003, it was one of those limited release deals, playing in only one theater in town, and only playing there for a couple of weeks. It wasn’t even one of the better theaters, either. It was a dingy piece of crap that ain’t even open anymore. But still. I have fond memories of that shithouse. Because that is where i saw “Ong Bak” on the big screen and it thoroughly kicked my ass and I have never forgotten that.
“Martial arts movies are made all the time all over the world, but it is only on occasion when a movie is made that signals the break out of the world’s next big martial arts action star. And in 2003, one of these movies was released. And it was good.
Ong Bak: Muay Thai Warrior features stuntman turned lead actor Tony Jaaa and it is pretty easy to see how this movie positioned him to be the Next Big Thing. Of course thanks to hindsight we all know he went a little nuts and buckled under the pressure of making Ong Bak 2, but back in ’03, people were throwing around the ole “the next Bruce Lee” adage in reference to his incredible work. And it all really started with this movie.”