CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON has nothing over ONG-BAK (2003), and for a martial arts marvel, check out ONG-BAK. I caught a copy with English subtitles, and boy, was it nothing short of breathtaking! Based on a recommendation by Matt Stover's fan-based community, I'm glad I finally watched this, as rare as my movie-watching days are. Fasten your seat belt, prepare to be awed by some of the moves and exhilarated by the stunts. ONG BAK qualifies as a wondrous martial arts spectacle molded for the modern age.
Tony Jaa plays Ting, a muay thai fighter from a small village in Thailand, sent on a quest to Bangkok to retrieve a revered statue of Buddha, Ong Bak. Villagers worship the statue and believe it ensures the safety and prosperity of their village both in terms of violence and a fruitful harvest. Don, a former villager turned criminal, removes the head from the statue and takes it to Bangkok, to curry favour from the crime lord Khom Tuan. Ting follows Don to Bangkok and fights to return Ong Bak back to its rightful place.
Nothing special in the story here or the characters themselves. The action and fight scenes however -- wow! Nothing short of impressive, masterfully-choreographed, intense, exhilarating, thrilling, eye-popping and aesthetic in its own style. In the end, thoroughly entertaining and I'm sorry I don't see more movies like this.