Continuing with the movies to watch this summer, Movies for Martial Artists series; I am adding Ong Bak to the list. I saw this a few years ago and loved it. Below is the plot taken from Wikipedia.
In the rural northeastern Thailand village of Ban Nong Pradu lies an ancient Buddha statue named Ong-Bak. The village falls in despair after thieves from Bangkok decapitate the statue and take the head with them. Ting, a villager extremely skilled in Muay Thai, volunteers to travel to Bangkok to recover the stolen head of Ong-Bak. His only lead is Don, a drug dealer who attempted to buy the statue one day earlier.
Upon arriving in Bangkok with a bagful of money donated by his village, Ting meets up with his cousin Humlae, who has dyed his hair blond and begun calling himself “George”. Humlae and his friend Muay Lek are street-bike racing hustlers who make a living out of conning yaba dealers. Reluctant to help Ting, Humlae steals Ting’s money and bets all of it in an underground fighting tournament at a bar on Khaosan Road. Ting tracks down Humlae and gets his money back after stunning the crowd by knocking out the champion in the ring with one kick. His extraordinary skill grabs the attention of Komtuan, a gray-haired, wheelchair-bound crime lord who needs an electrolarynx to speak. It is discovered that Don had stolen Ong-Bak’s head to sell to Komtuan, who sees no value in it and orders him to dispose of it.
The next day, Humlae and Muay Lek are chased all over town by drug dealer Peng and his gang after a botched baccarat game scam at an illegal casino. Ting fights off most of the thugs and helps Humlae and Muay Lek escape in exchange for helping him find Don. They return to the bar, where Ting wins the respect of the crowd after defeating three opponents consecutively. The trio find Don’s hideout, triggering a lengthy tuk-tuk chase. The chase ends at a port in Chao Phraya River, where Ting discovers Komtuan’s cache of stolen Buddha statues submerged underwater.
After the statues are recovered by local police, Komtuan has his thugs kidnap Muay Lek and have Humlae tell Ting to fight his bodyguard Saming near the Thai-Burma border in exchange for Muay Lek and the Ong-Bak head. Ting is forced to throw the match against the drug-enhanced Saming, and Humlae throws in the towel. After the fight, Komtuan reneges on his promise to release Muay Lek and return On-Bak, and he orders his henchmen to kill the trio. Ting and Humlae subdue the thugs and head for a mountain cave, where Komtuan’s men are decapitating a giant Buddha statue. Ting defeats the remaining thugs and Saming, but is shot by Komtuan. Before the crime lord attempts to destroy the Ong-Bak head with a sledgehammer, Humlae jumps to protect it, taking the brunt of the hammer blows. The giant Buddha statue head suddenly falls, crushing Komtuan to death and critically injuring Humlae. Humlae gives Ting the Ong-Bak head, and with his dying breath, asks him to look after Muay Lek and make sure she graduates from college.
The head of Ong-Bak is restored in Ban Nong Pradu. Ting, now ordained as a monk, arrives into the village in a procession on an elephant’s back while the villagers and Muay Lek celebrate his ordination.