Ong Bak 2 is the follow is the sequel of a movie that several years ago surprised me. I had heard much about it on the internet so I decided to check it out. It blew me away. It was a simple action movie, not very different from 80’s action flicks by Seagal and Van Damme, but the action was so breathtaking and wel choreographed. I loved that film! It got an unofficial sequel in the form of Tom yum goong by the same director and star. Even plotwise it didn’t stray too far from Ong Bak. It’s a bit like the relationship between Coffy and Foxy Brown.
Well after 3 years since the release of Tom yum goong now finally comes the highly anticipated sequel of Ong Bak. The imaginatively titled Ong Bak 2. This one isn’t really related to the first Ong Bak. It’s a period piece in which the events occur a couple of centuries ago. Jaa plays Tiang, son of a highranked armyman. After his parents get killed young Tiang ends up being taken in a clan of pirates (not the sea-crusading kind) and learns martials arts there. He eventually makes it up to second in command but decides to part ways with the pirates to find out who killed his parents.
For a simple revenge driven plot this movie is a bit pretentious as it’s basically a 85 minute movie in a 110 minute one. Jaa, now also directing, gives us extensive flashbacks to show us what happened before and right after the killing of his parents and also really likes to keep the fighting scenes very long. On that I admire the effort but a good director knows what to cut. Less is more as they say, but Jaa doesn’t realise that yet. A compliment goes out to some of the actionsequences especially the ones with elephants. Unbelievable how they pulled that off using live animals. Unfortunately that’s the only jaw-dropping stuff we get this time. Most of the other stuff we’ve already seen before in the first Ong Bak and Tom yum goong. Don’t get me wrong, this is quality martials we get presented, but it’s something we’ve gotten used to + the fights go on and on which isn’t helping.
The element of parcours is missing in this film, so no long chase-sequences in which the environment is heavily used this time. I miss it, this movie focuses mainly on the fights. What we do get this time is some more freaky adversaries like the crow ladyboy.
I hope Tony Jaa’s next movie will be under direction of someone better than himself and more focused on his entire athletic skills, not just fighting. In the meantime, this is a very good choreographed martial arts movie, but too long and too focused on just fighting.