Prachya Pinkaew created the first movie ever to deal with the Thai martial arts known as Muay-Thai. 27 year old Panom Yeerum (aka Tony Ya or Tony Jaa), a well-known stuntman (who used to be the stunt double of Robin Shou in “Mortal Kombat“), became head actor. The movie was an instant success in Thailand, and thanks to the Internet it didn’t take long until the rest of the world took notice of this uncommon movie as well. Luc Besson bought the worldwide rights (except Thailand) for Ong-bak and adapted the movie for the Western audience. Some secondary storylines and a fairly boring sequence during the final battlewere cut as well. On top of that there are several more changes which I will summarize in the following:
• Storyline: Muy‘s sister
• All references to drugs, except one, have been removed
• New color filters
• The music in some scenes was replaced with versions of higher quality. Contrary to rumors there is no French rap music in the actual movie itself, but only in the credits. The main part of the music remained untouched whatsoever.
The original Thai version is 201 seconds longer than the international version, aka Besson-cut.
Comparison between the international version and the original Thai cut. As the international version was created by Luc Besson, it is often referred to as Besson-cut. I used the French Europa Corp DVD for the international version and the Thai Mangpong DVD for the Thai version.
Iv = International version / Besson-Cut
The International version contains around 30 seconds of studio logos
Duration: Iv is 33 sec. longer.
6:41 min. - 7:18 min.
Some women and girls busy with crocheting. The viewer gets to know that the abbot of the temple took Ting in after he was dropped off there by his parents.
Duration: Thai version 38 sec. longer.
14:33 min. - 14:50 min.
In the Thai-version the guy first pulls some drugs out of his pocket in order to pay his betting debts with Ham Lae (aka George). This scene is missing in the Iv, which starts off with the guy pulling some additional money out of his jacket.
Duration: Thai version is 17 sec. longer.
21:26 min. - 22:12 min.
An unspectacular part of the fight between Pearl Harbor and Arun is missing. The scene afterwards, in which Muy (Pumwaree Yodkamol) finds out that her older sister Ngek has started dealing, has also been cut.
Duration: Thai version is 46 sec. longer.
22:25 min. - 22:50 min.
Muy confronts Ngek with her drug-dealing.
Duration: Thai version is 25 sec. longer.
26:56 min. - 27:58 min.
Ham Lae cat-calls some insults at Ting, Muy then asks him where Ting is supposed to be sleeping tonight. Ham Lae answers he could stay with her.
Change of Scene: Ham Lae asks Muy to sell drugs for her, but she refuses to get involved into it at first. Han Lae keeps pushing her and due to her fear of the thugs she finally accepts it, the scene ends with the two of them haggling about their respective shares.
Change of scene to the temple. The beginning of the track shot of the bells is missing.
Dauer: Thai 62 sec. longer.
57:24 min. - 57:26 min.
After Ting passed the ring to renter the Thai version features a shot of the sad-looking Ham Lae. The Iv meanwhile shows the renter descending the stairs in slow motion.
Dauer: Thai version is 1 sec. longer.
64:42 min. - 64:49 min.
In this scene the Iv corrects a mistake in the storyline continuity. The Thai version shows Ham Lae standing clearly in front of the bridge’s dead end, while in the next scene he suddenly is shown hanging over the edge. The Iv now includes different shots featuring the scooters falling off the bridge. However, in the Thai version there are several more scooters speeding over the edge.
Duration: No difference.
69:40 min. - 70:46 min.
Missing scene at the hospital. Ngek has perished, her little sister Muy is desperate and cries bitterly for being alone now. Ham Lae undeceives Ting about her family background and hands an envelope over to Muy, containing the money Ngek saved for university.
Duration: Thai is 66 sec. longer.
90:51 min. - 91:08 min.
The workers let go off the giant Buddha head and start to bail as Ting gets near. However, they resume work hesitantly after their boss orders them to.
Duration: Thai 17 sec. longer.
91:49 min. - 92:06 min.
Ting and Sa-Ming are choking each other. Sa-Ming thrusts his knee repeatedly into Ting’s stomach, Ting retaliates with several kicks. Sa-Ming hurls Ting against a wood frame and then stomps on him until Ting can free himself. Afterwards they exchange a few blows with their fists. Thus the Iv cuts the most unspectacular part of the final battle.
Duration: Thai version is 17 sec. longer.
100:40 min. - 101:40 min. (iF)
The English credits of the Iv takes one minute longer than the credits of the Thai version.
Duration: Iv is 60 sec. longer.
The original Thai version is 201 seconds longer than the Iv, aka Besson-cut.