Ong Bak 2 is Tony Jaa’s third and most anticipated movie and here he takes on not just the starring role but also wrote and directed (most) of the film.
With more than two years in production, Jaa plays Tian, a young boy whose family is brutally murdered but somehow manages to escape. Picked up to be sold into slavery, the boy is present when a group of ruthless bandits murder the slaves to rob them. Impressed by his spirit, they take him to their camp and offer him the chance to become one of them and train in a variety of martial arts skills. He quickly rises to prominence, but as he is about to be made the bandit king, he decides it is time to track down the people who murdered his family and get revenge.
Anyone expecting a retread of the first Ong Bak should look elsewhere as this is a much more darker film set in Thailand’s murky past. It has an epic feel even if it is very disjointed and the pacing uneven. He surrounds himself with colourful characters and the cinematography is excellent at times.
As far as Tony Jaa’s acting, well its difficult to judge as he doesn’t really say a great deal using his physical skills to put across his point!
Now coming to the choreography, it is what you have come to expect from him, but much more advanced as he mixes many different styles such as Tiger, Snake, Drunken Fist as well as the usual knees and elbows of Muay Thai.
His weapons skill is extraordinary using samurai swords, rope darts and 3 sectioned staff to great effect. The film does end on a confusing cliffhanger and hopefully, Ong Bak 3 will answer some questions left hanging when it’s released, apparently in December 2009.
Go in without any pre-conceived ideas from his previous films and you will find a violent and exciting addition to the martial arts genre.
Available in the UK on DVD and Blu Ray as Ong Bak The Beginning
8.5 OUT OF 10