98 Min | Action | December 2008
IMDB Rating: 6.2
Directors: Tony Jaa, Panna Rittikrai
Starring: Tony Jaa, Sarunyu Wongkrachang, Sorapong Chatree
Ong-bak 2 Review: Ong Bak 2, the Beginning is not a continuation of the first film, neither is it a prequel in the true sense, the story takes place several hundred years ago, and tells of Tien (played as an adult by Tony Jaa), the son of a murdered lord, who becomes a powerful warrior after a clan of outlaws adopt him and teach him their combat skills. This period setting allows for a far more epic feel than the first film, but the broader scope of the plot ultimately means less minutes devoted to pure, bone crunching action, a fact that has understandably disappointed those hoping for another relentless, adrenaline fuelled, juggernaut of a martial arts movie. Add the fact that Jaa’s impressive Muay Thai skills are often overlooked in favour of weapons based action, and it’s not surprising that Ong Bak 2 hasn’t been as overwhelmingly well received as its predecessor.
So, how does Ong Bak 2 stand up to these requirements? First, it has a hero, and he has AWESOME fighting skills – Tony Jaa joined the elite ranks of Jackie Chan and Jet Li with his first two movies, and he hasn’t lost a step here. Second, it has a bad guy – in fact, a few bad guys – and lots of henchmen. Third, it has a plot based on oppression, kidnap, and murder, forming the basis for a seething revenge movie. Fourth, it has a training sequence, and this one in particular is something fans of martial arts cinema in general will all be able to appreciate.
On a more positive note, Ong Bak 2 looks absolutely fantastic, with beautiful cinematography, sumptuous costumes, and some truly outlandish characters, and when the action does kick into top gear, it is utterly breath-taking, especially during the flawlessly executed, bone-crunching final battle between Tien and a host of enemy warriors, where we finally get to see the star delivering his trademark punishing blows with knee and elbow. In short, Ong Bak 2 is a very enjoyable slice of solid action entertainment—not quite as jaw-dropping as part one, but then what is?