June 4th, 2011

kusanagi/batou: loony fangirl

The Loony Fangirl Lives and is obsessed with Tony Jaa

I just realized it’s been more than three weeks since I posted to [community profile] multibeautiful about Tony Jaa for 3W4DW, and it is therefore OK for me to make a post in my own journal about the brilliance of this Thai actor, martial artist, and beautiful, beautiful man.

Tony Jaa is one of the nicest gifts that Josh gave me while I was visiting California. First we watched Ong Bak, a film about a country boy (Tony Jaa) who goes to the big city (Bangkok) to retrieve a stolen sacred relic (the head of Ong Bak). His village is in the midst of a drought, and the people believe that without the relic, the rains won’t come.

Since this is a martial arts film, naturally he must fight rather a lot of people - very bad people, of course, very few of whom have guns - to get to it. And since this is a martial arts film, I don’t think it’s really a spoiler to say that he succeeds. What’s spectacular about it is that it has no CGI and no wirework. And it has Tony Jaa, who has to be one of the finest athlete-actors ever. Not only is he an extraordinary boxer, he does parkour as well as a parkour practitioner. For your delectation, I give you a breathtaking two-and-a-half-minute chase scene from Ong Bak, set to The Prodigy’s “Breathe”.

(Ong Bak chase scene, YouTube, 02:34)

Let’s break that down, shall we? In these 2.5 minutes he:

  • Jumps through a coil of barbed wire
  • Cartwheels through a pair of glass plates
  • Breakdance-kicks his way past several attackers on a table
  • Double-front-flips over his attackers and hits the ground running
  • Runs on top of the shoulders of his attackers
  • Jumps over a stationary vehicle
  • Jumps over a moving vehicle
  • Reverse and forward flips down a set of wooden platforms
  • Scales a wall that’s double his height

If that hasn’t convinced you of his athletic prowess, watch this 14-second clip from Tom Yum Goong, in which a young man from a country village (Tony Jaa) has to go to the big city (Sydney) to retrieve a sacred relic (a, er, live baby elephant). There may be something of a pattern in the plots of Tony Jaa films.

To put this into context, Tony Jaa is 5’6” (168 cm) tall.

(Tony Jaa kicks the light out of a lamp-post, YouTube, 00:14)

To be fair, it’s partly the fabulous expression on the face of the guy threatening him when he lands that makes that worth watching, but it’s still incredible that he can do this from a standing start.

The final clip I want to share is of a continuous fight scene from Tom Yum Goong.

(Tony Jaa fights his way up a staircase, YouTube, 03:55)

He thrashes an eye-watering number of baddies in this scene, but what makes it really impressive is that the entire four minutes was filmed in a single shot. It took five takes over the course of several months to get it right. I find it amazing that it was that few.

And finally, I give you a Tony Jaa pic-spam, because he is a joy to behold.

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