Combustible Celluloid
 
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With: Tony Jaa, Pattama Pantong, Sorapong Chatree, Saranyu Wongkrajang, Nirut Sirijanya, "Dan" Chupong Changprung, Santisuk Promsiri, Primrata Dej-Udom
Written by: Ake Eamchuen, based on a story by Tony Jaa, Panna Rittikrai
Directed by: Panna Rittikrai, Tony Jaa
MPAA Rating: R for sequences of violence
Language: Thai, with English subtitles
Running Time: 98
Date: 12/04/2008
IMDB

Ong Bak 2 (2009)

2 Stars (out of 4)

Kung Who?

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Tony Jaa turns director as well as actor and stunt coordinator on Ong Bak 2. The result is a good deal smoother and better-looking than the original Ong Bak, but way more needlessly complicated and dour. It's a lot less fun. The new film has nothing to do with the original film, and Tony even plays a different character. (It's even more complicated when you consider that "Ong Bak" is not the name of the hero, but rather the name of the Buddha statue from the first film.)

The plot of the new film involves a lot of training, an army of bad guys, a pretty girl, and at least one traitor, though I was unable to discern who any of these supporting characters were; the movie does not expend any extra footage that could be devoted to its hero. In one scene, Tony attempts to free some slaves from a market square and a bunch of bystanders start attacking him. Who are these people, and why are they fighting him? It would have made sense if they were paid lackeys, but it seems that they're only passerby.

The film doesn't even follow through with the romance angle; Tony takes one look at the girl and storms away. We never see her again. I could have enjoyed the film if it didn't present itself as some kind of self-important epic, which only makes the ridiculous dialogue and hackneyed plot stand out. Panna Rittikrai co-directed.

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