Tag Archives: Petchtai Wongkamlao

The Bodyguard #1 & 2: Not Your Average Thai Film

I’m gonna combine the first Bodyguard and the second, as one flows into the other. I loved this movies so much that I even watched them back to back. Petchtai Wongkamlao is a hilariously funny guy and he did a great directorial job with the onscreen humor and action. The movies didn’t focus too heavily on himself and he did this quite humbly. A lot of the humor comes from plays on words and references you have to get from knowing his work with Panna Ritikrai and Tony Jaa. Either way, these movies will kick your ass with their in your face guns and side splitting foreign comedy.

The first films starts off with Wong Kom (Petchtai Wongkamlao) as a bodyguard/official operative. He has come to this international convention to guard a major player named Chot Petchpantakam (Surachai Juntimatom). With the ensuing attack and lots of wire fu

Wongkamlao, the unconventional action star.

(Kung Fu with wires. Think a la Crouching Tiger.), Wong attempts to save Chot, but he is shot in the crossfire. The rest of the film focuses around Wong’s committed attempt to regain his honor and Chot’s son, Chaichol (Piphat Apiraktanakorn) trying to keep his father’s business running. With assassination attempts, a crew of street rats, and a rags meet riches story, this movie has a lot of humor and heart.

Just some Thai humor for ya.

In the second Bodyguard, things are a bit different. Wong is an undercover agent attempting to take down a crime syndicate that is dealing in weapons of mass destruction. After infiltrating a night club as a “provocative dancer”, Wong screws up yet again. Some explosions and gunshots later, Wong must become a famous luk thung (basically, a Thai country singer) star and keep everything from his wife, Keaw (Janet Keaw). With more laughs and quite a bit more explosions, this film surpassed the budget for Ong Bak with 1 million Baht (Thai currency), becoming the biggest film to be made in Thailand. It would be eclipsed by Ong Bak 2 shortly after.

Tony Jaa makes an appearance as the shopkeep boy.

What made these American standard B-rated action films so great is that they didn’t take themselves seriously. Wongkamlao is spinning through the air with two guns cocked and completely infinite in bullets, whipping around the room, absolutely annihilating people in very strange ways. The actors aren’t to serious about their villainous ways and it really shows throughout. Biggest example is the Thai comedian that shows up in both films. In the first, he (and I wish I could decipher which character he was) always wears something inappropriate and never talks. In the second, he dies at the end without saying anything. What makes this so great is that (and I hope it was fake) at the end of the second film, this guy blows up at Wongkamlao for not including him more in the film. I think the Thai sense of humor is spot on and could do very well over here in America.

There are so many over the top explosions and gun fight scenes that you can’t take this movie too seriously. It’s all the

That’s a bit vulgar… and a midget.

kind of action that makes Tony Jaa’s films so popular, but even more so. And that’s another great thing. They advertised in Thailand and America that Tony Jaa was going to be a big player in both these films, and he shows up to do a 5 minute action scene. It always has something to do with one of his other films, and it’s great to see that he can laugh at himself. (Where’s my elephant?)

All the heart and guns in the world.

This movie really shows just what Thailand is like. It’s more than all the action scenes and comedy that comes from these movies. And Wongkamlao knows that. There’s poverty and crime, burgeoning cities and night life, even a rich cultural aspect you don’t always see in an action film. And that’s where the heart comes from in these movies. It’s a movie you set out to do with your friends and come to love making and showing off. I’ve done it myself a dozen times. It’s not serious, it’s just showing that you can make an entertaining movie, and it doesn’t have to be award winning. And that’s why I think American audiences should check out these movies. Embrace this new culture and realize we’re a lot more alike than we think. And for this, The Bodyguard series deserves a comedy induced and action packed 7.5 out of 10.

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Ong Bak 3

Okay, so let me start off by saying Tony Jaa makes me want to poop my pants. He is insane. Amazing. The things he can do with martial arts are just unspeakably ridiculous. He is hands down the most lethal man on the face of the planet. Okay, got that out of my system. But seriously. Ever since I found The Protector at my library and took it home to watch it, my pants have never been clean. Now to the movie at hand.

Tien (Tony Jaa) is a defeated warrior in the fourteenth century who has been captured and beaten to death. It is important to note that this is the third in the trilogy, although the first takes place in modern day and has nothing to do with Ong Bak 2 or 3. Tien was trained in the mountains in the ancient martial arts, bretrayed by his clan (in Ong Bak 2) and kills the very man who taught him those arts and killed his father. Pretty standard.

What’s not standard in Ong Bak 3 is what makes this movie stand out. The things they do to Tony in this movie are ridiculous. This movie is brutal. The torture is insane. And after all that, his entire body disfigured and broken, he comes back to beat the hell out of all those who oppose him. No mercy. With every movie, Tony Jaa improves his skill and dominates more than before with breathtaking moves. It’s a sight to see. Tien learns martial arts through the art of dance, (in an all to long scene, I might add) and uses his ridiculous skills in Muay-Thai boxing to destroy everyone. Literally, run train on all his foes.

That’s not to say that the whole movie has no plot. It’s pretty much like any other martial arts movie. But, Tony Jaa one ups every single movie by what he does. No stunt doubles, no wires, no CGI, no breakaway shots. Pretty much what you see in the movie, was done by Tony Jaa himself. It’s incredible. I know it may seem that I’m in love with Tony, but I’ve been watching martial arts movies for a while, and really, to be honest, nothing compares.

Tony Jaa and Panna Rittikrai, Tony’s mentor, did an amazing job writing and directing the Ong Bak series. Petchtai Wongkamlao is always funny as the bumbling partner that seems to always appear in all of Tony Jaa’s films, the cinematics and scenery of the shots in Ong Bak 3 are unrivaled, and the fight scenes will baffle you into disbelief. This movie, although not as good as Ong Bak 3, is still definitely worth the watch. It ends the series well and keeps me wanting more. Watch out rest of the world, Thailand has an ace in the hole. 10 OUT OF 10.