Thai Martial Arts Choreographer Panna Ritthikrai Dead At 53

James Marsh, Asian Editor
Reports are surfacing from Thailand that celebrated martial arts choreographer and film director Panna Ritthikrai has died from liver disease, aged 53.

Ritthikrai is probably best known for his work with action star Tony Jaa in films such as the Ong-Bak and Tom Yum Goong series, but he also directed a number of features including The Bodyguard and the fantastic olympian-actioner Born to Fight. He was an integral player in the new wave of Thai action cinema that took the world by storm at the start of the 21st century, and continued to be a pivotal force until the very end. 

Gareth Evans, director of Indonesian action flick The Raid, tweeted earlier today "What Panna and Jaa did w/ Ong Bak revitalised martial arts cinema. The importance of that film on the genre is huge."

Ritthikrai's most recent credit is as Action Co-ordinator on the as-yet unreleased A Man Will Rise, starring Tony Jaa and Dolph Lundgren. He will be sorely missed.
Around the Internet:
  • Rage72

    RIP Mr.Ritthikai, my thoughts and prayers goes out to your family.

  • Hanajun Chung

    My deepest condolences. I've made some of the closest friendships due to this man's work. I wasn't sure if the man had plans to retire or anything, but I was more excited for this man's collaboration than Jaa himself. His films are definitely playing all week long at my house.

  • Mike

    Shit.

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