Friday, October 23, 2009
Ong Bak 2: The Beginning
Thai martial art blockbuster "Ong-bak: Muay Thai Warrior" is not only a smashing hit, it also makes Tony Jaa a super star. Building on its success, Tony Jaa goes both in front and behind the camera in his directorial debut "Ong Bak 2: The Beginning" (องค์บาก 2 | Thailand 2008 | in Thai | 98 min.), a spectacular showcase of kung fu fights with little else in it.
This "Ong Bak 2" is supposed to be a sequel to "Ong-bak" (in case you miss the "2" in the title). However, the story and the time line obviously are not thought through when "Ong-bak" was made. As a result, this sequel becomes a prequel, because it is push back hundreds of years in time. Perhaps to indicate this detour, the phrase "The Beginning" is added to the film's title (why not just take the number "2" out?).
Does it matter? Not really. The film looks pale on both its story and characters, which can be replaced pretty much by any kung fu flick. What the film is really about is to show off all the carefully choreographed impressive fighting sequences, one after another one, from beginning to the end.
The film begins with Tien's escape from a genocide becoming an orphan. He falls into the hands of bandits who teach him martial arts. After Tien grows up (Tony Jaa), he seeks his revenge and fights off his enemies like a superman.
In the film, Tony Jaa appears to posses superpower. No matter how many enemies he is facing and how many times and how hard he gets beaten up, he will not only rise up miraculously, and he also can still fight like a "hero" during a pro wrestling performance.
And the show must go on, as well as the fighting.
Although it is hard to predict the next "Ong Bak 3" will be a prequel or a sequel to this film, one thing is quite certain: there will have plenty glorious fighting, no matter who beats up whom.