It’s not up on the distributor’s site yet but word on the street is that Magnolia Pictures has picked up the amazing Thai martial arts film Ong Bak and will be giving it a wide release throughout North America in November. This will be the Luc Besson edit of the film which apparently runs about seven minutes shorter than the original (wonder if he left in the graffitti asking him to pick up the film?) and while western companies cutting Asian films often leaves me frothing at the mouth I don’t actually have a problem with this one. Ong Bak in the original version is a good film made absolutely essential to martial arts fans thanks to the jaw dropping stunt and fight work of Tony Jaa – this man will be the next major international action star – but it could be a great film if not for some pacing problems. Knowing Besson’s fixation on martial arts he won’t have touched any of the action sequences that make up the film’s heart so hopefully he’s just made some cosmetic changes to keep things running along a little smoother.
Click here to see the French teaser and here to see the full French trailer and prepare to be amazed … this man’s got the straight up fighting skills of Jet Li (though in a much harsher discipline) combined with the willingness to do insane stuntwork not seen since Jackie Chan was in his prime.