The Best Movie Critic + review

Thai Piracy: Onk Bak 2 Revisited, Ong Bak 3 preview!

Hey everybody, Ben here. Looks like our resident Thai Pirate is already proving to be quite the little overachiever. Not one week after the initial post of what was going to be a monthly column, Ed emails me to rub it in my face that he's seeing Ong Bak 3 right now! That's right babies, in the next day or two we here at The Movie Advocate are bringing you the first Ong Bak 3 review on the internets! Who loves you? As a warm up for his Ong Bak 3 review, Ed forwarded a few thoughts on last year's Ong Bak 2, which he appears to have enjoyed much more than I did. Though admittendly, watching Tony Jaa-invented Drunken Thai Boxing is one of the greatest pleasures cinema has to offer... Here's Ed:

Before I head off to down a few beers in preparation for tonight’s showing of Ong Bak Sam, I thought I should share my feelings on Ong Bak Song, the prequel to one of my all-time favorite action flicks. In general, I have to say that it is magnificent. The numerous homages to Lee, Fat, Chan and others were pulled off with a grace that we expect from Tony Jaa. I thought perhaps I would have had enough Muai-Thai-on-elephants action to last me for a decade or more after Tom Yum Goong (The Protector), but I was apparently way off base. I need more and more and more.

Of course, nobody has a problem with the action here; it is the stuff surrounding the action that might need discussing. The plot lost me on occasion, or at least failed to engage me. This doesn’t really bother me though — it feels more authentic somehow, in the mystical vague sort of way many people use the word. This movie was so much more Thai than Jaa’s previous efforts. Legends combining Animism and Buddhism are a Thai cinematic tradition, though they usually have much more crying and less elbows to the head, and therefore less of a global audience and a fraction of the budget.

Certainly, the characters are more believable here than the previous Ong Bak. There is nobody sawing off Buddha heads to store on ropes underwater, after all.

When I saw Ong Bak 2 the first time, I had no idea a sequel was already mostly completed. I dug on the ending, I have to say. It reminded me of the whole audience interaction thing involved with ‘if you believe in fairies, clap your hands.’ A brilliant choice — or, as so many internet squealings have protested, just a lazy way to make way for the next in the franchise.

All right, I’ll talk at you tomorrow.

-Ed

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