A young fighter named Kham must go to Australia to retrieve his stolen elephant. With the help of a Thai-born Australian detective, Kham must take on all comers, including a gang led by an evil woman and her two deadly bodyguards.
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In Bangkok, the young Kham was raised by his father in the jungle with elephants as members of their family. When his old elephant and the baby Kern are stolen by criminals, Kham finds that the animals were sent to Sidney. He travels to Australia, where he locates the baby elephant in a restaurant owned by the evil Madame Rose, the leader of an international Thai mafia. With the support of the efficient Thai sergeant Mark, who was involved in a conspiracy, Kham fights to rescue the animal from the mobsters. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Tony Jaa has developed a new style of Muay Thai specially for the film: "Muay Kotchasan" is based on elephants' movements ("throw, stamp on, grab, break"). See more »
During the bone-breaking scene, if you look carefully at those whose arms are broken, the hands are the wrong way around, so the elbow was actually bending normally. This is particularly apparent when Tony Jaa uses his knee on one guy's arm to break it. See more »
The makers of 2003's Ong-Bak are back with bang, a crash, a couple of elephants and many, many cracks. In fact, every other word spoken appears to be "Argh!". Muay Thay expert-extraordinaire Tony Jaa returns to lead us once again, as his sacred elephants are poached from Thailand and sent to, of all places, Australia. As our hero Kham, he must travel there himself to basically kick the living snot out of anyone who steps in his way. And that's about it.
The maker of this film, Prachya Pinkaew, is either a really shoddy storyteller, or has clocked on to the fact that no one goes to see martial arts films for the plot. Warrior King has an almost identical structure to his first film Ong Bak: a good 25 minutes or so of religious Thai imagery, villagers roaming around with animals before someone comes along and messes everything up. Petchtai Wongkamlao essentially reprises the comedy role he played in the previous release, although this time he hogs all the comic moments, as the wafer-thin script offers little in compensation for its action scenes. All the English-spoken acting is terrible. With that said I'm assuming most of the foreign language acting is terrible too, but for obvious reasons the Australian acting stood out more. The script is full of age old Hollywood clichés such as cops being taken off the case, only to go vigilante, gold-hearted prostitutes and a whole host of colourful looking gangsters (former WWE reject Nathan Jones makes a hilarious cameo) that wouldn't look out of place in a straight-to-video Steven Seagal flick.
And yet despite the glaring faults with a film as silly as this, none of the criticisms truly matter for one simple reason: Tony Jaa is absolutely amazing. Watching our protagonist fly kick the hell out of everyone before performing all sorts of acrobatic stunts will have your jaw on the floor. The man can obviously smash through thin plot points as fast as he can human bones. The film isn't badly shot either. Apart from getting a nice sense of Thai culture and a splendid view of Sidney, Warrior King is expertly choreographed. There is one remarkable sequence in which our protagonist battles his way through four stories of the same building absolutely smashing the hell out of anything thing that moves, which seems to go on forever, taken all in one single steady-cam shot. It would make David Lean jealous.
Granted if you've seen Ong Bak watching Muay Thay for a second time won't have the same head-crushing impact. Whilst Warrior King boasts plenty of superbly choreographed action sequences, it doesn't peak as well as the much more pure Ong Bak managed to. The movie does, however, generate a sense of darkness amidst the stalking threat of campy buffoonery. So it's an impressive sophomore effort, obviously catering more towards an ever increasingly cognizant western audience.
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