Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Birthday and Ong Bak 2

Welp, birthday came and passed without fail can now officially say I am 21 years old (and / or one day older than yesterday) WOOOOO. Unfortunately I didn't get nearly enough money to deal with my computer problems so I'm still weighing my options on that front but hey blogging with text isn't so bad. Went out had a nice dinner with my family good food and a good time outside of some of my father's outbursts of headdeskery proportion. I got some nice shirts, a bit of money, a Dave and Busters gift card, and as is custom with my family the standard fare of gag gifts including a pair of Squirrel Underpants

but a nice evening was had and at the end of the day I went back to my mom and bro's place for a bit and watched a movie on demand. This is a movie I have been looking forward to for quite some time.

Ong Bak 2

I loved Ong Bak and Tom Yum Goong Tony Jaa is a beast I personally believe he is the next big face in the action martial arts genre like Jet Li or Jackie Chan before him. The man is a masterful gymnast it's like gravity doesn't affect him the same way it does anyone else. And just some of the things the man can do in a shot is amazing. The Chase Scene from Ong Bak was increadable especially when you consider that no wires or special effects were used to augment any of the action in that movie. Also Tom Yum Goong had some of the best fight choreography (group mainly but one on one was good aswell) I have seen in a long while namely the one shot fight scene as Tony Jaa is working his way up a building fighting his way past about 25-50 guys in one continuous 6 minute shot. Anyone who knows something about film making must know how hard a flawless 6 minute shot would be to obtain let alone one with so many variables.

Unfortunately Ong Bak 2 could not live up to either of those films. I had my doubts when I first heard Tony Jaa was going to be directing and choreographing this film himself. The man is an awesome star for these kinds of movies but behind the camera I just wasn't feeling it. All the hard hitting blows and long shots I loved in Ong Bak and Tom Yum Goong were replaced with flash cuts and choreography that was showy but not flourished. It just felt like there was no real soul in it. The movie made me feel like I was just watching a series of scenes rather than a film it just felt lifeless.

This could be due to the Story or lack there of. It wasn't until about 40 minutes into the movie when I started to see a real hint of a plot. Basically Tony Jaa is the orphanned son of a noble family in ancient Thialand. He ends up getting picked up by slavers and eventually saved by a group of bandits, he is trained in standard mantage format and then tested and I kid you not, his first test involved running on a herd of Elephants and then smacking the "Alpha Elephant" on the skull to prove his utter superiority... something tells me a scene like that wouldn't have flown in the states. He then becomes the leader of the raiding parties and from that point on for about 20 to 30 minutes it's just a series of raids and fights that just seem to be there for no reason other than to show Tony Jaa and crew wrecking people.

*The Following Paragraph Contains Spoilers Skip Past If You Don't Want Them*

Eventually we learn that his family was killed by another noble while Tony's character (Tien) was sent off to dance school. The Dance school which by the way lead to a series of boring scenes which proved to do nothing but introduce a young girl whom we assume to be some sort of love interest to be shown later on. Tien then leads off on his randomly decided apon quest for revenge. He makes it to the temple or shrine or wherever this guy happens to be living and who is there dancing for him? Why it's the grown up version of the little girl that young Tien had known (WHAT ARE THE ODDS?!). We are treated to a 10 minute sequence of 2 dances one from the girl and then one directly after of a mysterious man in a mysterious mask whom nobody knows who it *cough TIEN cough* excuse me. The following fight scene is decent but accomplishes nothing. Tien then goes back to his bandit camp which is mysteriously empty only to find soldiers and random masked fighters undoubtably hired by the guy he just attempted to kill. He fights through them like they were nothing eventually being injured and facing off against the masked man who killed his father who turns out to be his teacher / bandit captain who raised him (DUN DUN DUNNNN). Then after he kills him the movie just sort of randomly ends with him being captured... no mention of the girl at this point mind you we just assume she's still alive. It all ends with the loosest of loose tie ins to the first movie claiming that Tien was the sacrificial figure that the Ong Bak was based on, even though I'm pretty sure that was supposed to be Buddah.

*Spoilers End*

The last fight scene of the movie was pretty cool looking standard 50 on 1 "I'm the Juggernaut Bitch" fare. I gotta say one of the coolest parts was his use of various weapons. Tony Jaa is no Jackie Chan when it comes to weapons but it was a nice demonstration. And the use of scenery to add to the choreography was nice in this scene although not on par with the EXTREEEME FIGHT SCENE in Tom Yum Goong. Though I will say this scene in Ong Bak 2 did have the best use of an Elephant as a fighting prop that I"ve seen since well... Tom Yum Goong.

Overall I was only dissapointed to the point that the movie just couldn't live up to what I was hoping and the story wasn't really there. It's always nice to see Tony Jaa wreck someone and as a first attempt at directing it could have been much worse. I want to see Tony Jaa in more movies hopefully teaming back up with the director of the original Ong Bak and Tom Yum Goong... that reminds me I still need to see Chocolate.

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  1. wait your younger then me I always assumed you were older then that

  2. Happy birthday. As you seem to have a similar taste in films to myself, I thought I'd leave a comment. I wouldn't get my hopes up about Chocolate if I were you. The climax scene that goes up and down the face of a building is worth watching, but there's little else to recommend it. I found the lead actress unconvincing and got the impression that the cannon-fodder stuntman were the ones doing most of the work in selling the action. If she keeps making action films, she will no doubt improve, but this just seemed poor to me.

    I'd suggest 'Born to Fight' if you haven't seen it already. One of the few martial arts films I've seen that had a smidge of touching drama to it. And if you're into classic Golden Harvest kung-fu comedy, I'd recommend 'Wheels on Meals' and the extended Japanese cut of 'Dragons Forever' if you can find it. Both star Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung and Yuen Biao.

  3. lol you dont look just twenty one.lol but hey happy birthday.and sounds like a badass ill have to see cause i love kung fu movies.

  4. Glad to know someone else was massively disappointed by Ong Bak 2 as well. Chocolate is a good film - the martial arts aren't spectacular (except for the last fight, which is pretty epic) but it's a very nice story. it has characters in it and everything. Leaves me thinking:

    1) Ong Bak
    2) Chocolate
    3) Tom Yum Goong
    27) Ong Bak 2

  5. Dude, I just turned 21 as well (Sept. 22), so happy belated b-day to us both, lol!

    I'm glad that you posted a review for this movie, because I was looking forward to it, but now not so much. Hopefully Tony Jaa will get a bit more attention and maybe get put with a really talented director and put out a great movie in the future.

    Oh, and I just finished watching the YuYu Hakusho series, all because I watched your abridged series on Youtube. Was a great nostalgia trip, so thanks for that. I hope that you're going to continue making the YYHA series, because they're funny as hell and a great way to watch the show.

    I hope you get that computer working soon!

  6. Hey Lani. Jija Yanin, the lady from Chocolate, had a new movie come out in Thailand a few months ago. It's called Raging Phoenix. Be on the look out for it.

  7. Happy B-day! When my first episode of my abridged series comes out Plz critique. I'd love to have you cameo in it some time! First episode should come out around the same time as yours! Thnxs for reading...

  8. Yo, Lanipator, this is NOT a spam message.
    First of all, I'm a brazillian that appreciate a LOT of your work (specially on DBZ Abridged).
    Now, the reason I'm posting this comment is because I want you to see one video I worked in and I wanted your opinion, that's all.
    Here's the video:

    Thanks a lot and keep the awesome work!