Tony Jaa knows how to jump over, around and through environmental objects. He knows how to punch, kick and spin with both power and speed. And he definitely knows how to deliver airborne knees to the head and crushing elbows to the cranium. What eludes the agile martial artist, however, is how to act, a shortcoming compounded, in the case of Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior, by the fact that Prachya Pinkaew’s replay-heavy direction is generally as inept as his star’s emotive skills. Boasting the flimsiest of narratives – Jaa’s country boy heads to Bangkok to retrieve the head of a deity statue stolen by underworld criminals – the film is really just a showcase for Jaa’s athletic abilities, and to be fair, they’re quite impressive, whether he’s leaping between golf cart-style taxis or felling larger opponents in Lionheart-type battles to the death. Unfortunately, much of Ong-Bak’s action – despite its lack of computer or wire-aided effects – feels over-choreographed, even during the entertainingly hectic middle section during which most plot-related concerns take a back seat to remarkable physical acrobatics. Book-ending such adrenalized excitement is a thoroughly creaky intro and a finale that fails to match the preceding mayhem, with Jaa’s Muay Thai fighting skills regularly showing more personality than his blank face, and much-needed humor coming only via a villain who, during the climactic showdown, doesn’t know when to say when regarding steroid use.