Saturday, April 2, 2011

Ong Bak 2: The Beginning

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

Ong Bak 2: The Beginning - 3 out of 5

Martial art movie fanatics wet themselves when they first saw Tony Jaa's Muay Thai smash hit; Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior. In fact, it became such a hit that a sequel was made and, unlike the first one, the film is actually an improvement.

Most sequels don't ever learn their lessons when it comes to mistakes from the first film but, shockingly, this film did. The first movie, while having some awesome action and stunt sequences, was lacking heavily in the technical department as the film quality looked weak, the music seemed to be free-use crap downloaded from the internet and the story wasn't the best. However, it was clear that the film's focus wasn't story, character or acting--it's focus was the action. In fact, the movie seemed to follow this very specific formula: A pinch of story and cut to ACTION!!! Kick, punch, fight and cut to a stunt--then immediately show the same stunt from several different angles with one of those angles possibly being slow-motion. Wash, rinse, repeat. But this time around, the film actually puts together a story that has a little more meat to it, the music actually fits what's happening on screen and there's no repeat of stunts seen over and over again, there's actually some editing going on here. This may have to do with the fact that Jaa took over as director for this film.

Ong Bak 2: The Beginning acts as a prequel to the first film despite not having any real connection to the events that took place there. Instead, this film takes place in 15th century Thailand and focuses around Tein (played by Tony Jaa--who looks like Thailand's answer to Michael Jackson with the long hair he's sporting in this film), a child of a nobleman who becomes an orphan and is taught to fight for his life among a tribe of guerrilla fighters. The film focuses on Tein learning and perfecting his martial arts before setting out to seek revenge on those who wronged him--and this means action, action, ACTION!!!

Like the first film, there is some great action sequences and cool stunts but the film suffers slightly as, and this is a rough guess, but at least 30 minutes of the film acts as filler and pads the movie out to a feature length. Add this together with a dry story that was only slightly better than the first one and you have yourself an action film that doesn't disappoint, but doesn't completely satisfy me either. The movie is just good enough to land at a respectable 3 out of 5.

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