Long time reader, first time writer . . . oh wait, that‘s not true. Well, when I wrote for Sword’s Edge it was back in the day of the real e-zine. Back when there was a cover and everything. Before the, what do we call it? Blog-zine? B-zine? Zine?
Anyway, I’m here to burst Fraser’s bubble about Ong Bak 2. I’ve seen it. I’ve seen it with the HK subtitles. And I am not happy. Nope, not one bit. You see, Ong Bak was about fight scenes with a story existing only to link those awesome fight scenes. Ong Bak 2 is about story, with fight scenes only because that’s what one wants out of an Ong Bak movie.
I don’t know how they can honestly call this one Ong Bak 2. The Protector, that could’ve been Ong Bak 2. It followed the same basic formula as Ong Bak. Ong Bak 2 is set in the past (15th century) and Tony Jaa plays Tian/Teean (depending on the transliteration), who is some kind of special heir with a special destiny. Blah, blah, blah.
The movie goes on and on with Tian’s backstory, with his inner “conflicts,” and doesn’t have nearly enough cool fighting. I’m not going to relate all the story, because frankly it was crap and you can read about it elsewhere. Seriously, there is nothing original or even particularly interesting about the story.
I think Tony Jaa wanted to play some kind of dramatic, historical character. He’s got writing credits. He’s also been credited with directing. I get to blame him for this trainwreck. Ong Bak and the Protector both had other people running the show, you know, real directors. Tony has got to step back, take a deep breath, and recognize he’s a great action movie star, but he’s not Tsui Hark. He’s not even Albert Pyun. Well, maybe he’s close to Pyun.
So don’t get your hopes up about this movie. It’s certainly not the worst actioner I’ve ever seen. It sure ain’t the best. Maybe on it’s own it wouldn’t have seemed so crappy, but Ong Bak casts a long, long shadow.