Sunday, September 20, 2009

Ong Bak 2 (2009)


After his family is killed, a young prince, Tiang (Tony Jaa), is taken in by a group of pirates and trained in the arts of fighting. When he grows up he puts into effect a vast plan to get back at those responsible for his parents death.

Having been available with english subtitles for some time now overseas I decided it was worth the effort to check out Ong Bak 2. I'll openly admit now I'm among the group that was not especially impressed with the original Ong Bak. I found it incoherent, not necessarily creative, and obsessed with instant replaying just about everything. Well I'm happy to report, by most accounts Ong Bak 2 is the exact opposite. With a solid back story, allowing us to attach ourselves with the main character, creative fight scenes, reminiscent of early Jackie Chan gags, and over the top Jet Li fight scenes.

Jaa and Rittikrai pull together to form an amazingly fun, well rounded action film that offers more than just a couple of running stunts. In its stead the movie offers a wide variety of fight scenes utilizing just about every weapon you can imagine, minus a gun, in just about every setting you could want (top of buildings, side of buildings, on water, in a swamp, etc.). At the same time, Rittikrai takes careful care with developing a backstory, something depressingly not present in the original.

This backstory gives us a reason to care, a reason to cheer, and get into ever punch. As such we get knocked down with our main character, the best asset any action film can possess. Now the movie does have nothing in common with the original (though a rumored tie in is out there), but I have to say, for me, it surpasses everything the original tried to accomplish as a martial arts film. The movie does have one downside, unfortunately enough: the ending. I won't spoil it for you, but as the film was being made the studio quite literally ran out of money, production shut down, and Jaa left the project. As such we're left with a simple, seemingly out of place narration, a quick shot, and bam credits: *paging writers of Lost*.

Though since it's a studio issue, I won't hold it against the film, much in the same way I didn't when I reviewed Hell is for Heroes a long while back. And at the same time, it offers some early anticipation for Ong Bak 3, which is already under way and filming.

Ong Bak 2 doesn't offer anything new to the genre, instead it creatively combines old motifs, puts them together with its own spin, and presents a film you'll enjoy right up to the credits.

0 better thoughts:

Related Posts with Thumbnails