View Full Version : Ong Bak 2: Electric Boogaloo Review!

02-12-2010, 11:50 PM
Director(s): Tony Jaa, Panna Rittikrai
Cast: Tony Jaa, Dan Chupong, Sorapong Chatree, Sarunyu Wongkrachang

Plot: After destroying the Death Star, Luke and the rebels find themselves on the ice planet Hoth....where Ozone and Turbo are trying to stop the Empire from developing an Imperial Recreation Center!

Sorry about that. It happens when I haven't gone snowboarding in a while.

The Real Plot: A local lord's son, Tien, is left to fend for himself after a war-mongering general kills his family in his plan to become emperor. Slave traders pick him up and after a harrowing ordeal at a slave auction, Tien is brought into the fold of a band of outlaws. He rises to the top after rigorous training but his past forces him to confront the very villain who slew his family... .

Synopsis: While this may not be the film that does 'it' for Tony Jaa, Ong Bak 2 is a very good martial arts film, one that full judgement needs to be reserved for until Ong Bak 3 is released. The story is not great but much better than Ong Bak or Tom Yung Goong certainly were. The premise is simple and cliched- revenge for his murdered family- but it serves as a good enough backdrop to propel the movie forward. Without the action, this movie would be a good-looking, middling Thai soap opera but of course that is not the case or why would we be here? The action is spectacular: Tony really pushed himself (as did all the supporting cast) with the quality of action here. Although the realistic stunts and hits have lost a little of that first-time, virginal sheen, the martial arts on display is top-notch. Amazing weapons work and a great variety of styles keep your attention glued to the screen. And I have to say although I know this is the movies, the hitting and stunts seemed pretty close to real force, which just immerses you in that much more. A favorite part for me in the film was the test for Tien as he faces off against three opponents in the Garuda Wing Cliff outlaw group: the last opponent, a large, freakishly-proportioned guy and Tien face off in a brilliant combination of Muay Thai, capoeria and grappling that makes you think " Oh yeah, that's how someone his size could possibly do beat someone so crazy huge". It's convincing! I mean Tony on the street looks like a in-shape dude but you know, not exactly imposing. But I don't think I'd want to be hit by him, he's got that quick and precise physicality like Bruce Lee had. And the climactic battle before the movie ends is plain nuts with weapon work and crazy stunts and bone-crunching, so much so that I'm curious how it will be surpassed (if that is a fair expectation) in the next film.

There are some dull spots in this film- Tony's first time in the chair shows a little as there are pacing issues (some pieces dragged on a bit and other parts were rushed and slightly confusing) and there is a lot of serious atmosphere about Tien and his overwhelming desire for revenge; much of the movie focuses on just that and I really would have liked a bit more of Tien hanging out with the outlaws, as they really have no presence other than when there is some action set-piece going on. Another part that needs work is the background story, where Tien as a child is sent to a dancing school of some sort and meets an orphan girl named Pim (all through flashbacks, natch). There is some time spent on this section and it's not wasted entirely but it just is a little flat- young Tien is a ringer for Tony Jaa but I failed to empathize with him much as he just seems kind of bland. Pim appears later in the film, and she grows up to be a cute dancer (for the new king) but it's too bad that section just makes you not really care about that relationship.

But I was mildly surprised this film wasn't a mess and in fact, more coherent than Tom Yung Goong or perhaps even Ong Bak (which was so simple that it shouldn't be compared to anything besides Scooby Doo cartoons). The cinematography was great, borderline excellent and I love the setting- folks, using natural settings like this just should be done more, it really contributes to the epic-ness of a movie. The locations and design rocked! And I liked the actors/actresses used as they were obviously chosen for their suitability for a particular 'type', for lack of a better term.

All in all, this has me excited for the final installment and while this production may have put Tony through personal and financial hell, I'm glad he did it because it is this close to being a shoo-in for the classics (pending Ong Bak 3, in which I may revoke that status, hopefully not).

Rating withheld until OB3!!

(OK, 4 out of 5 elephants)

The Silver Fox
02-14-2010, 02:52 AM
Good review !

02-16-2010, 09:38 PM

Anyone know the locations where Tony shot in Thailand? Just curious.