By Fred Topel | Image property of respective holders
Given what they had to work with, Ong Bak: The Thai Warrior (Muay Thai Warrior to those who know better) looks as good as can be expected. Shot in Thailand on Thai film stock and set in underground fight clubs and caves, there wasn’t a whole lot of hope for an HD version.
Ong Baks on Blu-Ray
By those standards, the fact that Ong Bak holds up at all is a triumph. The locations do give a brown tint to all the scenes, but the transfer remains solid even in low light. You may get a little bit of graining up but it still looks like film.
Overall, Ong Bak looks like film but it’s clear. You never get that sense that the grains disappear and you’re just looking at Thailand. It’s not completely sharp and definitely not particularly colorful, but it looks respectable, which may be all they could pull from this rough source.
On the other hand, Ong Bak 2 looks like a real Blu Ray. There’s still the brown settings but a much sharper, clearer transfer. It could just be that a different distributor transferred it, but more likely it’s a newer film. By the time of Ong Bak 2, the Thai film industry had become international so they could probably afford higher grade materials.
The clarity lets you see all the grimy detail of some of the down and dirty fights. It also shows off some of the lavish color of the jungles and temples. It is definitely a drastic difference watching an Ong Bak Blu Ray double feature.