THE SANCTUARY is an ultra low budget Thai martial arts flick starring some unknown guy called Michael B. alongside Chinese star Russell Wong. The plot begins with a historical flashback involving some priceless treasures being stolen; cut to the present day and various characters are now hunting for them. What follows is a story with boring plotting and extremely limited characterisation, alongside the usual dodgy acting. But there's also plenty of action liberally spaced throughout, and it's pretty decent. Our hero gets beaten for most of the running time only to discover his true powers in the last 20 minutes, which offer one kick-ass fight after another. The choreography thankfully avoids wirework and CGI for full-bodied realism and it generally works well, lifting this film above its constraints.
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In 1897, the "Poisoned Knife" clan broke into the royal palace of Thailand to steal the Royal Antiques, but the thieves didn't escape with their lives. Before their deaths, they hid the antiques somewhere close to the palace.Today, Wisa (Winston Omega),the mafia boss whose ancestors masterminded the theft of the antiques wants to find them. He hires Patrick (Russell Wong - Romeo Must Die, Mummy 3: Tomb Of The Dragon Emperor),the former Director of the U.S. military National Subterranean Exploration Unit, to search for the lost antiques. Patrick and Selina (Patharawarin Timkul - Bangkok Dangerous) the beautiful and sexy assassin, retrieve the antiques from beneath the Thai temple where Krit (Mike B - Brave, Ong Bak),a gifted martial artist, resides as a temple boy. When they steal the antiques from the temple, it's down to Krit with the help of Praifa (Intira Charoenpura - Nang Nak, Brokedown Palace, King Naresuan Trilogy),an Archaeology student, to retrieve them. Together they fight against the powerful and greedy group of thugs. Will they be able to rescue Thailand's national treasure and protect the world from evil?
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A routine low budgeter with decent action
Not much to wonder
The story seemed intriguing enough and the military man in the beginning looked tough enough to carry the movie. Unfortunately, after 3 min of good combat, I find out that he is no more and the movie shift to nowadays. Bad idea ! The kids in the movie turned out to be less than thrilling and more pop stars than fighters. The bad guys, a mix of European and eastern descent, can't act because kicking is mainly their thing and not impressive there also. Russell Wong is the only one who can act, but his martial arts are wooden, a far cry from Romeo must die.The rest of the movie is just a mish mash of bad action and martial art, with the usual religious kind of experience who make the hero, suddenly, invincible.
Okay low budget action - don't expect ONG BAK!
Kirk (the amusingly named Michael B.) discovers an ancient Thai vase buried under the ground at a temple he visits. What he doesn't know if that this is one of three stolen national treasures and he is quickly killed after he pawns the vase he found. His twin brother Krit (also B.) then deals with a group of mercenaries led by Patrick (Russell Wong) who are posing as geologists to locate the other two items. Once they do, Krit must stop them from taking the priceless items across the border.
A Thai action film about a guy fighting to save something stolen? No way! Michael B. (sometimes credited as Mike B.) started his career as a stunt man/punching bag for Tony Jaa in ONG BAK. This is his second feature as a lead following BRAVE (2007) and re-teams him that film's director Thanapon Maliwan. While B. does perform some impressive moves, the movies are just kind of there, sort of like low end Isaac Florentine ripoffs. The fights are plentiful in the short 80-minute running time. On the plus side, this one isn't an editing and wire-work mess like the recent RAGING PHOENIX, JeeJa Yanin's disappointing wire- work laden follow up to CHOCOLATE (2008). I would say the last 15 minutes are worth the view as B. takes on Erik Markus Schuetz (also from Jaa's features) and Russel Wong (still looking fit in his 40s).