- Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
- Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
- Resolution: 1080p/24
- Audio Codec: Thai DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
- Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish
- Region: A
- Rating: R
- Discs: 1
- Studio: 20th Century Fox
- Blu-ray Release Date: February 2, 2010
- List Price: $24.99[amazon-product align=”right”]B0035G5IQ2[/amazon-product]
Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures
(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)
Plot? What plot? This is all action, blood, sweat, and muscle, as Thai action star Tony Jaa takes the martial arts genre back to basics, eschewing wirework and epic drama for nonstop brawling and smack downs.
Orphan Ting (Jaa), raised in his tiny village of Nong Pra-du by an elderly monk who has trained him in the ancient art of Muay Thai has to go off to the big city of Bangkok to find and bring back the head of the Ong-Bak, the village’s Buddha statue. It has been stolen by a gangster name Don working for a mob boss. The village thinks they are doomed without the statue, so this is serious business. Once in the city, Ting runs into someone he thinks he used to know from the village, a guy named George (Petchtai Wongkamlao), who spends his days gambling and swindling other gangsters out of their money. Ting enlists a reluctant George and his sidekick, a girl name Muay (Pumwaree Yodkamol) to help him find Don and the Ong-Bak, but he gets caught up in a set of fight club matches run by mob bosses — one of them being the very mob boss that had the Ong-Bak stolen, Khomtuan (Suchao Pongwilai).
Jaa does all his own stunts, uses no wirework and no CGI effects in Ong-Bak, bringing the martial arts film back to its roots. Once Ting hits Bangkok, the film is a plethora of throw downs and nonstop bloody action. Plot is sacrificed and a bit hard to follow, but since when have classic martial arts films ever been about the story? Maybe in recent years, more so than in the past, but this isn’t Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, this is a Muay Thai explosion and Jaa proves his worth as a master.
Due to its low budget production, Ong-Bak is never going to look great, no matter how hard they try to polish it up for any format, high definition Blu-ray included. So, the most viewers can hope for is that they don’t ruin the presentation any more with unnecessary processing like edge enhancement or heavy compression artifacts. I’m happy to say that Ong-Bak’s 1.85:1 AVC/MPEG-4 1080p encoding is free from those things, but the picture still suffers from an overall murkiness, softness, and lack of detail that is just unavoidable.
Thai and English dub DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtracks are available. I used the Thai soundtrack as my reference for reviewing the title and it was above average in comparison to the video quality, but nothing out of the ordinary. It didn’t quite pack the “punch,” if you’ll pardon my pun, which I was expecting it to, but it was still enjoyable. The soundtrack’s bass reached down to the mid-low frequencies and the action sequences’ punches and kicks didn’t quite land with the authority that more support from the LFE would have given them. Otherwise dialogue was clean and the surrounds were relatively active and audible.
In keeping with the feel of the film, even the supplements on Ong-Bak feel and look low budget and they are certainly nothing to get too excited about.
The supplements provided on this release are:
- Live Tony Jaa and Stuntman Performance Before French Auditorium Audience (1.33:1; 480i/60; 0:02.34)
- The Movements of Muay Thai (1.33:1; 480i/60; 0:01.43)
- French Rap Music Video with Tony Jaa (1.33:1; 480i/60; 0:04.03)
- Making of Music Video (1.33:1; 480i/60; 0:07.14)
- Selected B-Roll (1.33:1; 480i/60) — A selection of raw footage cut from the final film.
- Promo Video Featuring The RZA (1.33:1; 480i/60; 0:01.00)
- Teaser Trailer
- Trailer Featuring The RZA
- Thai Teaser
- Thai Trailer
- French Teaser
- French Trailer
- About the Feature Film Transfer
The Definitive Word
Ong-Bak is a back-to-basics martial arts film with one superbly choreographed action sequence after the other. It may be light on plot, but the action makes up for it; too bad the picture quality suffers under even the lightest of scrutiny and doesn’t even come close to looking great on Blu-ray. I’m sure it still looks better than any DVD version, but don’t expect to be blown away.
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