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Ong Bak 2: The Beginning
BLU-RAY disk
Mar 9, 2010 By: Jason Adams
Ong Bak 2: The Beginning order download
Director:
Tony Jaa, Panna Rittikrai

Actors:
Tony Jaa
Sorapong Chatree
Sarunyu Wongkrachang

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
An orphaned prince is raised by outlaws to be the greatest warrior ever, but first must avenge his parents death with asskickery.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
If youve become a fan of Tony Jaa and his brand of muay thai martial arts since 2003s ONG BAK and 2005s TOM YUM GOONG (released in the States as THE PROTECTOR), you may be in for something unexpected with this follow-up, which really has nothing to do with ONG BAK aside from Thai people elbowing each other in the face. While the original film was more about showing off Jaas impressive skills and introducing the world to his brutal style of fighting, ONG BAK 2: THE BEGINNING is all about artistry. Huh?

Instead of more modern adventures of the Thai asskicker, ONG BAK 2 opts instead for an elaborate period setting and a complex story about warring feudal states and heavy handed Asian mysticism. Rumors abound that Tony Jaa went crazy during filming of the prequel, which also marked his directorial debut, abandoning the production for two months only to return with a new story and a new co-director to finish it. Even if thats not true, the film sure does feel like ita jumbled mess that makes little sense.

The main problem here is that ONG BAK 2 tries too hard to be epic. The story is confusing and unnecessarily complicated, full of flashbacks, jumping timelines and overlapping characters. Its not that its necessarily hard to follow; its just boring and takes away from time that could be better spent on actual martial arts sequences. The prequel does look great and is a more polished film than any of Jaas previous work, but again a lot of that is utilized not for fights but instead for stuff like spiritual folklore, supernatural prophecies and more than one dance sequence. (Yes, dancing.)

While the story may be tedious, there is still a fair amount of martial arts in the film and of course its really impressive. Nobody is going to argue that Jaa isnt one of the best fighters working in cinema today and ONG BAK 2 is all about showing off the mans skills. Part of the plot involves Jaas character unifying not only different parts of the country but also their styles of martial arts as well. This is a great excuse for the man to really go nuts with the choreography, often fighting in different styles constantly and using different weapons. The last 20 minutes where things really get cooking is a sight to behold and worth putting up with the flicks lamer aspects for martial arts fans. Its a great mix of Jaas abilities as a Jackie Chan-style superstar stuntman (jumping from elephant to elephant in the middle of a stampede, fighting an alligator) and a much more violent and aggressive tone than his previous work. Unfortunately it ends with a cliffhanger that doesnt answer anything and highlights everything thats wrong with ONG BAK 2 as a film. But, boy, does the fighting still make you look forward to ONG BAK 3.
THE EXTRAS
The disc boasts an Alternate Cut of the movie thats about 10 minutes shorter than the original cut, highlighting more of the action and less of the story. Worth checking out.

Making of ONG BAK 2: Three featurettes that add up to about 20 minutes and go over the standard elements, including the characters, the story behind the story and the fight scenes. Each is fairly short and kind of gloss over the material, so dont expect too much depth.

Behind The Scenes: Another trio of features, this time raw B-roll footage from three different sequences. A good look at how big the production was and how much work it was, but they couldve picked more interesting scenes to focus on.

Interviews with Cast and Crew: Theres close to half an hour of material here, mostly with Tony Jaa, with a lot of it being repeated from the other material. Although they dont directly discuss the mans mental breakdown, the depths in which they discuss the story and the action clearly shows the passion that may have made for a stressful filming experience.

HDNet: A Look at ONG BAK 2: Short and worthless PR fluff. Trailers and Previews, including a quick look at ONG BAK 3 that looks almost exactly like ONG BAK 2.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Despite higher production values and a more epic scope, ONG BAK 2 is a disjointed mess of a movie. Thankfully, theres a fast forward button that martial arts fans can use to get to the amazing action scenes featuring Tony Jaa. Worth a rental for fans.

Extra Tidbit: [SPOILERS] Since his character ends the film being taken away by to be brutally tortured, apparently ONG BAK 3 will see Jaas character fight using a new boneless style of martial artsto fight as someone whos bones are all broken. At least thats what I read on the Internet.
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