Published on October 26th, 2009 | by simeon0
Ong Bak 2
Returning to the western screen with more Muay Thai action then ever before, is Tony Jaa in “Ong Bak 2”. Set in a time far before the first film, “Ong Bak 2” tells the tale of Tien (Jaa) the son of a great leader who looses his status when his parents are brutally murdered. Eventually joining a band of thieves impressed by his will to survive, Tien learns the skills he needs to seek revenge on the man who killed his family.
The question fans of the original movie are sure to bring up is: what is the relevance to the first Ong Bak film? The answer is simple, not much. The statue of Ong Bak, seen in the original, “Ong Bak: Thai Warrior”, makes an important plot appearance at the end of the prequel. Beyond that the film lacks cohesion, aside from Tony Jaa’s always interesting martial arts form.
The plot is simple yet exceptionally challenging to follow. The complicated references to aspects of Thai culture are likely to loose most western audiences who will spend much of the film trying, impossibly, to connect it to the original. Yet the fighting and translatable ideas of sacrifice and honor make “Ong Bak 2” an impressive marital arts film.
Most of the film is set in Thailand so there is also the visual environment to take into consideration. At times the film seems hazy, and awkwardly shot despite a budget that is obviously stronger than that of the original film.
Due to the empty plot and challenging cross-cultural metaphors “Ong Bak 2” is simply not as good as the original. If you decide to see this prequel make sure it is for the exceptionally strong fight sequences and not plot, that is unless you happen to have a degree or background in Thai history or culture.