Being as busy as I am these days with eating, working, eating, sleeping, eating and eating, I never get the time to watch new films. I rarely rent new DVDs because of this. I can take the kids to the cinema, but if the film I want to watch is 15 certificate or above, it means sorting out babysitters and that gives my arse headache.
What normally happens is that I see a film I want to watch for £3 in Music Zone (which, funnily enough has less and less music in it every time I go in), so I'll buy it. Last Saturday I saw Ong-Bak in the sale for £2.97. I'm a big fan of Martial Arts movies, ever since I was about eight and allowed to stay up to watch Enter The Dragon on the telly by my Dad, who was a big Bruce Lee fan, and wanted me to see what all the fuss was about. I saw what all the fuss was about. I was knackered at school the next day though, and got told off for yawning.
When I say Martial Arts films, I mean the proper ones from Hong Kong, not Jean-Claude Van-Damme, Chuck Norris or Steven Seagal, or the American efforts of Jackie Chan or Jet-Li.(Hollywood has a tendency of squeezing all the energy and talent out of talented easterners- Jackie Chan, John Woo, Chow Yun-Fat, Jet-Li, Sammo Hung. Ang Lee sort of saved himself with Brokeback, but it was looking dodgy for a while after Hulk. Bruce Lee's career died after his American debut Enter The Dragon, but only because he did as well.) Many an evening or afternoon during my formative years was spent watching Project A, or Armour of God or Police Story (All classic Jackie) or Once Upon a Time In China or Fist Of Legend (Jet) or loads of shitty but still enjoyable chop-socky movies starring either Yuen Biao, Cynthia Rothrock, Sammo Hung and Michelle Yeoh, or combinations of them all.
Since Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, the martial arts movie has had a bit of a renaissance, with Hero, House Of Flying Daggers, Kung-Fu Hustle and Ong-Bak.
I finally got round to watching Ong-Bak at the weekend after wanting to watch it for ages. It is awesome. Finally, there is a worthy heir to Bruce Lee's vacant throne in Tony Jaa. The man moves like a hyperactive monkey. His style is Muay Thai, (or kickboxing to you and me) so he uses his elbows and knees as weapons rather than his feet or fists, and his fight scenes and stunts make Jackie Chan look like Mollie Sugden. The film also has a lot to say about the rape of Thailand's history to find antiquities to sell to western Buddhists, and the unwelcome side of the tourist boom. See it.
I've posted a clip from a chase scene, which has been re-edited and re-scored for some strange reason, but even in this diluted form it's still phenomenal.