Ever got in a fight, thought you could take the guy and then wake up 20 minutes later because he hit you in the top of your head with his elbow? Felt your chest burning from both his knees being buried in it? Or have your Adams’ apple manipulated with such force, you felt like you would never savor pizza and wings during the big game again? Neither have I, luckily, but the bad guys and anyone else who stands in Tony Jaa’s way can’t say the same. International thai martial artist, Tony Jaa, follows up his debut break out hit, Ong-Bak: Thai Warrior, with a bone crucifying second installment. Inspired by greats such as Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan and Jet Li, Jaa takes martial arts stunt fighting to a new level with every movie.
Ong-Bak 2, supposedly served up as a prequel to Ong Bak: Thai Warrior, tracks Tien (Tony Jaa) from his days as a child. The son of a powerful family and a great fighter in his father, Tien longs for the day his father will teach him to fight. But his father refuses and forces him to learn to dance instead. Of course what kid wants to learn the waltz when he can learn how to snap arms and break legs in an instant? He is taken to his grandfather to be cared for; his parents fear he will be in danger among them with their country in turmoil. During his stay with his grandfather, he develops a close friendship with a young girl named Pim (Primorata Dejudom). Without warning, one day Tien is kidnapped and witnesses the death of both his parents. Afterwards, he finds himself the property of a savage tribe. Warrior pirates then raid their village, yes warrior pirates, and take him under their wing. He learns to fight with and without numerous types of weapons from training with them.
The leader of the clan makes Tien second in command and he leads them in pillaging and plundering, thai warrior style. He exacts revenge on the tribe who kidnapped him and tries to hunt down those responsible for the demise of his parents. All along the way, breaking heads, literally, but without taking any names. The audience is introduced to part of the Thai culture during a dance performed by a grown up Pim for the man responsible for the death of Tien’s parents. The fists really hit the face when these two finally meet.
Of course I’m going to talk about the fight scenes, which were amazing by far and masterfully choreographed. Move after unbelievable move of muay thai kick boxing is like nothing you have never seen before in a martial arts movie. Even more exhilarating than part one, Jaa pushes the envelope with the fights and stunts in this film. From him doing a back flip off of an elephant’s tusks to the younger Tien (Natdanai Kongthong) wrestling with a real life alligator to Jaa actually using an elephant as a weapon and film prop. Tremendous stuff to say the least.
From a story aspect, the film kind of falls short however. We may all agree that we have not yet seen a great martial artist who is also a great actor or a great actor is who is also a great martial artist. So, I’m not going to knock Jaa on his acting performance or anyone else in the film for that matter but the story made the film unable to be a prequel or a sequel for that matter. Although the two films were done by different directors, Prachya Pinkaew and Panna Rittikrai respectively, Jaa did partake in helping to write both scripts. Basic and pretty generic in nature; boy loses parents, learns to fight, raises complete hell while on a revenge streak sums this storyline up. The end was rather confusing as well. It felt like the movie just stopped as opposed to being closed out the normal way. Later this made a little more sense when I realized there’s a part 3 on the horizon. But we don’t watch martial arts movies for the plots, do we? We watch them for the ass kickings that take place. In that area, Ong-Bak 2 gets “two broken fibulas, one fractured skull and half of a cracked rib to equal 3.5 shattered bones out of 5” from me.