After the thrill-a-minute brilliance of his international debut 'Ong Bak', new martial arts legend Tony Jaa reunites with director Prachya Pinkaew and fight choreographer Panna Rithikrai for 'Warrior King', a film that will convince you that any stunt, no matter how outlandish or dangerous, is humanly possible.
Growing up in a little Thai village, Kham's (Jaa) life revolves around his father, their two pet elephants, Por Yai and Korn, and learning the Muay Thai fighting skills of his ancestors, members of the elite elephant- protecting royal guards the Jaturungkabart. Kham's father's lifelong dream is for Por Yai to be accepted as a devotional gift by the King of Thailand and, at the New Year festival, it seems that his dream will come true, when he presents Por Yai to the head of the village for his opinion.
But not everyone is as noble as Kham and his father and Por Yai and Korn are kidnapped, forcing Kham to travel to Sydney where he must take on the underworld, martial arts henchmen and crooked cops in his bid to reunite his family.
If you saw 'Ong Bak' and came away convinced that Jaa couldn't up the action movie ante any higher, think again: while 'Warrior King' needed a stronger script and supporting characters, you'll be too busy shaking your head in amazement to really care.
What Jaa does here - with no wire work, CGI or stunt doubles - is, once again, staggering. His fighting skills, athleticism and timing have you gasping and grasping for superlatives by the minute and, like all the best, he lets his moves do the talking.
Granted, there are a few lulls here when the plot trudges more than it glides, but the downtime is always short because there's always another melee-to-end-all-melees around the corner.
Here we get heavies on BMXes, rollerblades and quad bikes in a tram warehouse; a speedboat chase that's up there with Bond; a fight with an entire room of black-suited henchmen that makes 'The Matrix' look like a cartoon; a showdown in a temple with a wrestler, Wu Shu fighter and Capoeira master and, best of all, a four-minute, non-stop, unedited battle scene through a four-storey building. Put simply, you've never seen anything like this sequence in any other film – and it will still be talked about 20 years down the line.
Forget every summer blockbuster: this film deserves repeated viewing.