!!Ong Bak 2!!

OMG! A new Tony Jaa movie:

Back in 2003, a little Thai movie called Ong Bak introduced the world to an elephant-herder-turned-martial-artist named Tony Jaa. Directed by Prachya Pinkaew, the movie became a global sensation and rocketed Pinkaew and Jaa into the international celeb-o-sphere. They quickly collaborated on a follow-up called Tom Yum Goong (aka The Protector) that became the most successful Thai film ever released in America. Two times lucky, the Thai studio Sahamongkol Films eagerly green-lighted Jaa’s dream project: Ong Bak 2 (Magnet Releasing), to be written, directed, produced, choreographed, and starred in by Jaa himself.

I have seen both of Tony Jaa’s earlier movies. They are jaw-droppingly amazingly awesome, if you like that sort of thing (which I really, really do). Jackie Chan? Who’s that?

You should read the review I linked to, written by Grady Hendrix at Slate both for the inside scoop on why this film has been so long in the making. You should also read it because it is one of the funniest movie reviews I have read in some time.

Warning: There are some spoilers ahead.

But, c’mon, there really is not much to spoil in a Tony Jaa movie. We’re talking simple, linear, predictable “plots” here.

The subhead on the article: Bow down before the awesomeness of Tony Jaa. I think ‘m swooning. Here are a few excerpts:

Just to be clear, Ong Bak 2, takes place 500 years before Ong Bak 1 and it starts with Jaa slapping an elephant in the brain so hard that an entire herd of them bow down before his might. That’s the kind of awesome he’s selling. By the time we hit the half-hour mark he’s fought a samurai, wrestled a crocodile, and killed a vampire. Also: elephant surfing.

I will be seeing this movie over and over again.

The plot sees Jaa orphaned and raised by a band of jungle pirates. They teach him to fight in many different flavors, and then flashbacks break out like a rash, and we learn that Jaa’s parents were royalty and that he needs to take revenge on the people who killed them. So he does. The end.

In his last movie Jaa was trying to recover his stolen elephants, which he did by asking random people, “Where are my elephants?” and then beating the stuffing out of anyone who gave the wrong answer. Looks like they have taken the basic premise to dizzying new heights this time!

Jaa shot the majority of this movie himself, and it’s staggering to see just how much crazy is inside his head. Filmed in every color of the fungus, from lichen-gray and mushroom-brown to rich, moldy black and rotten-mildew green, the screen is soaked in liquids. The few times it actually stops raining, someone immediately spits, bleeds, or drools on the camera. The visuals are primitively powerful, as bold and savage as pounding tom-toms, all warped short lenses and bizarre Dutch angles. Half the dialogue is maniacal laughter; the other half is savage screams.

If I were on a deserted island and could only have one movie with me…

Hendrix concludes with:

Apparently, it worked. Ong Bak 3 is slated to hit screens by the end of this year. Given the madness on display in Ong Bak 2, I expect it will be set in Precambrian Thailand; and Tony Jaa will play a trilobite taking revenge on the nautiloids who killed his parents; and using his martial arts powers alone, he will grow his very own exoskeleton on-screen without using special effects or trick photography.

!!Ong Bak 3!!! It’s too much! I’m only human…


  1. #1 Sophist
    October 23, 2009

    In his last movie Jaa was trying to recover his stolen elephants, which he did by asking random people, “Where are my elephants?” and then beating the stuffing out of anyone who gave the wrong answer.

    Heh, yeah. You could replace the dub track with a loop of Bart Simpson shouting “where’s my elephant” without making it any harder to follow the plot.

    And I mean that as a compliment.

  2. #2 J Max
    October 23, 2009

    Speaking of Thai movies, one of the more unique films I have seen in the last couple of movies was the Thai Western “Tears of the Black Tiger.” You don’t often see gorgeous hand painted backgrounds coupled with a bit of the ole ultra-violence.


  3. #3 Damien
    October 24, 2009

    Welp…guess human creative output can come to an end now, because nothing but nothing will beat a movie where a guy fucking fights a vampire AND pimp slaps an elephant.

    And I’m sorry if that sounded sarcastic, because it totally wasn’t. It. Totally. Wasn’t.

  4. #4 Leni
    October 25, 2009

    Tom Yum Goong (aka The Protector)

    Isn’t tom yum goong that awesome Thai soup with shrimp, chili and lime? I’m struggling to understand how this is related to a “protector”.

    It would be like if Superman’s name was “Chicken Noodle Soup”. Which is kind of funny, if completely baffling.

    October 25, 2009

    Who You Gonna Call
    Tel 44-(0)208-323 8013
    Fax 44-(0)208 323 8080

    Hi Jason,

    On behalf of Magnolia Pictures and the movie’s producers, many thanks for plugging “Ong Bak 2” … .. thanks also, on behalf of the distributors and producers, for not posting any pirate copies or non-trailer clips of “Ong Bak 2” and if you / your readers want good quality, non-pirated, previews, then the official trailer for “Ong Bak 2” is available for fans and bloggers to post/ host / share etc at http://www.apple.com/trailers/magnolia/ongbak2 … .. for further details of on-line promotions for this movie and Magnolia releases generally, check-out http://www.magpictures.com and their official YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/MagnoliaPictures .

    Thanks again for your plug.



  6. #6 Christian A.
    October 27, 2009

    I haven’t seen Ong Bak (1) but I always wanted to. Well, I made the mistake and went to see part 2. Previously I thought cool fighting would make any movie good. I was wrong.

  7. #7 Jason Rosenhouse
    October 27, 2009

    Well, thank you Doctor Buzzkill! I’m going to see it anyway.

  8. #8 B8ovin
    October 28, 2009

    I saw Ong Bak 2 through a limited free preview on HD Net Movie channel on Direct TV. I’m not going to participate in any pretentious reviewing. This movie is kick ass. There are one or two moments where you have to suspend disbelief (bitch slapping elephants) but the pure COLOR of the film takes this beyond the majority of such films. Notice I haven’t even started to talk about the fight scenes yet. Here is the best thing I could possibly say: my wife enjoyed it, and she hates martial arts films.

  9. #9 rob
    October 29, 2009

    i went to my netflix queue to add it…and it was already there. i must have been browsing through releases and clicked on it after selecting a Jet Li movie brought it up.

    now i gotta go home and watch it.

  10. #10 EastwoodDC
    November 2, 2009

    @Jason: Just out of curiosity, do you have any background in the martial arts?

  11. #11 rob
    November 6, 2009

    well i did it. i watched Ong-Bak.

    i really enjoyed watching Tony Jaa during his fight scenes. the chase scenes were pretty enjoyable too. it won’t be winning any oscars for screen writing, but as a martial arts action flick it was wonderful.

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