I was spoiled for choice of which version of Ong Bak to get from Moviesville, but eventually set on the VCD version featuring the original soundtrack, the original uncut film and complete with the original not so sweetened ending. This was a version I’d never seen before and it looked extremely interesting.
I knew I was taking a hit on the VCD side though, they just don’t have the quality or content of DVDs. Moviesville were also good enough to offer the suggestion to look for the DVD version if you couldn’t listen to the dual audio tracks mixed with Chinese subtitles. I could live with that, in order to see the uncut original version.
Ong Bak is a very basic storyline pieced together to be able to showcase the amazing talents of Tony Jaa, and talents he has in vast quantities. Jaa is a stunning martial artist, he seems to be able to control every muscle of his body and perform some amazing stunts, as well as some of the most thrilling fight scenes I’ve witnessed in a very long time.
The stunts and choreography are what makes the movie, and the rest is a fair attempt at a story around it, and to be fair it’s not bad it’s just that the stunts and fight scenes are so good to watch that you are absorbed in waiting for the next choreographed sequence rather than the next moment of the plot.
From the amazing tree sequence at the opening you’re hooked, and you can hardly fathom the work involved in choreographing the entire sequence, much less how these stuntmen (you have to presume they are stuntmen) survive the flips and falls. This carries through the brutally realistic fighting scenes in the underground fighting den, to the final buddha battle which brings together all the elements of the fighting you’ve seen previously and adds them into one big sequence between characters of equal skills.
I’m not going to begin to review the VCD as I would a DVD. The picture quality is far inferior, and with the dual audio languages takes a bit of getting used to. Yet you have to realise what you are getting, a version of the movie which you can hardly get your hands on. This is something that Moviesville seems to specialise in, unique versions of movies as well as some stunningly crafted and limited edition boxsets.
If I were you, I’d get your hands on the normal DVD to watch the movie in it’s full visual and audio splendour, and then get this VCD to appreciate the full uncut version.