We all know that Tony Jaa is the new Bruce Lee. We all know that the man can do enough crazy gymnastical feats of ass-kickery to make your head spin. With Ong Bak 2, we also know he’s a pretty decent director as well. Not quite in the same league as Prachya Pinkaew, the guy who did The Protector and the first Ong Bak, but he’s better than most action hacks.
As a kid, Tien (Jaa) sees his parents slaughtered by some ruthless bastard. He gets sold into slavery by some Richard Kiel looking asshole who makes him wrestle a crocodile. Tien wins and is taken in by a spiritual geezer who teaches him Kung Fu. Tien quickly shows everyone what a badass he his and is chosen to lead the tribe. Before he accepts the position, he opts to run out and avenge his parents’ death. From then on, the movie is a bunch of swordfights and ass kickings.
Ong Bak 2 is sloppily paced and features ill-fitting flashbacks that run on way too long. I’m giving Jaa a Mulligan on that though because it was his first time in the director’s chair. He also kinda forgot to give us an ending too. My main criticism of the film though is more of a case of personal preference than anything. It has to do with the fight scenes. Most of them center around swords and spears rather than fists and feet. They are still well choreographed, but Jaa barely gets any use out of his lethal knees. When Jaa does drop the weapons and fights Muay Thai, shit does get cranked up to 11 though. The last twenty minutes of the film is more or less non-stop fighting and there is one drunken boxing scene in this movie that is the best of it’s kind since Drunken Master 2.
Overall, I think I said “DAMN!” out loud about six times while Jaa was showing off his Kung Fu wizardry. That’s about half as many “DAMN’s!” as I said throughout The Protector. That film was the pinnacle of the Tony Jaa Fighting Alongside Elephants Movies. Ong Bak 2, nitpicks aside is still a worthy entry into the subgenre.