Tony Jaa is a genuine tornado of power, energy, martial-arts-skills and charisma.
From the get-go Warrior King is unashamedly more videogame than movie but this is a positive as it does have the effect of making the violence slightly stylised - although no less breathtakingly genuine.
Indeed despite innumerable bone-crunching moves and more broken limbs than you can imagine Warrior King is no bloodbath making it infinitely more watchable than films such as Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill.
The fight scenes really are top-drawer and as they contain quite a lot of variation they don’t become too repetitive or boring. There are no wires, no CGI - just Jaa. And I imagine a lot of other martial-arts-trained actors taking a good kicking as undoubtedly many of the punches and kicks made actual contact.
To say that Warrior King is strictly one dimensional is not a criticism - there are zero plot curveballs here, it’s a simple man-on-a-mission to rescue his elephants affair and that’s fine. But it also has to be taken for granted that many of the characters will sprout cornball dialogue in very standard martial-arts-film settings and be kicked, punched and thrown through doors and over staircases in a first-come-first-served fashion. But Warrior King doesn’t claim to be anything else.
I’m not a fan of the balletic style of Asian films (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, House of Flying Daggers) nor the style of films that Jackie Chan or Jet Lee make but I admit to being taken for a ride by Warrior King and now I’m even looking forward to backtracking to watch Ong Bak.
3.5 / 5
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