Ong-Bak 2: The Beginning (2008) Movie Review

Ong Bak 2 The Beginning

All martial arts lovers, action movies enthusiasts, everyone who likes to see some fighting scenes in the movie and hold your seats tight while you watch the hero of the movie kick lots of asses in a masterful way – this movie is just for you!

The first part of this movie, portraying Ting (Tony Jaa) is one of the best martial arts movies of the last decade. However, this second movie comes with the premise to be even better than the first, trying to deliver the same action and excellently choreographed fighting scene to push the bar up when it comes to martial arts movies. Read on the third of the movies edition.

Tony Jaa, as an actor did a wonderful job in this movie. Actually, when it comes to action movies like this one, the core factor to make people like the movie and eventually feel more invested in it comes completely from who’s going to portray the main character. And Tony Jaa delivers the perfect performance in all of his movies, from the first Ong-Bak to the also acclaimed Tom Yum Goong in 2004, who made a lot of his fans very proud for his development as an actor.

However, when the first movie was totally filmed in Thailand, this second one goes to another location: Australia. And of course, the language also changes from time to time, when the first one was almost completely in Thai, this one offers a lot of different expressions, especially in English form in order to maintain its marketability in the rest of the world.

Director, Writer, and Story

This movie was directed by the one and only Tony Jaa, alongside a more artful director who helped him in the realization, Panna Rittikrai. In addition, the whole story was also made up by Jaa, who wanted to make this movie an almost masterful piece of  the action by himself.

The story talks about Tien, a boy who flees in order to save his own life because his family has just been murdered and he needs to find a shelter to hide away from the murderers. He then is captured by some slave merchants, but his courage and spirit of a fighter will save him from a secured death.

Finally, Tien is rescued by a group of bandits who would give him shelter and make part of their group. They eventually make him practice their martial arts, making of Tien a wonderful Muay Thai fighter, the best of its kind. However, when Tien becomes an adult, he decides that all the secrets of his childhood must be discovered, so he decides to leave the group that gave him shelter as a kid and goes in search of those who murdered his family in all means for vengeance.

The story is a total travel to the past in order to explain the great abilities of the main character as a fighter, even though it is not entirely original (just as the first wasn’t), it promises great doses of hand-to-hand battles, wonderful martial arts expressions, the best action and a lot of the best Tony Jaa performances.

A Movie That Impresses – Ong Bak 2: The Beginning

Ong-Bak 2 might not have improved the entire story, creating a totally new set of ideas and a totally different environment which bring the movie a little more originality – even though the movie has a normal and similar plot to many other past action movies. However, the movie enhances a lot when it comes to cinematography, wonderfully choreographed fights, the designs, and even the way Tony Jaa performs, making it a little better than the first one.

But what really impresses about this movie is how it could capture the best of the Thai culture, from the way the characters were made to the wonderful scenery and even the dressing choices were on point, making it a well-made piece of work from one of the most interesting and experts fighters who made his footsteps be heard in the world of entertainment.

The spectacular images shown in this movie are almost perfect, giving the total essence of how the Thai jungles are, with all sorts of animals and the best characters which employ the perfect performances in order to bring this movie a sense of total realization.

Avoiding getting the foreign influence most movies do after they get western approval, this movie achieved much more originality on this part, making it a really great addition to the world of martial arts movies in the world.

About the Action and the Plot

Even though the movie is mostly an action movie, there are some non-action scenes that eventually seem actually good. In contrast with the first Ong-Bak, this movie was well-made and offers some scenes that may not be as interesting as the action scenes, but are still interesting enough to make any viewer feel good about it.

But what actually has to be said about this movie is the way the action scenes were made. They were totally bad-ass and super exciting. Not only could Tony Jaa bring back the excitement of the first movie in the action, but actually made it even better with some awesome additions that make this movie one of the best of its kind – if not the most interesting martial art movie in many years.

However, when it comes to the plot, there are various different opinions resulting from the way it was made. The movie story itself is not bad, but the way it was managed made it a little difficult to watch sometimes. Even though the movie has the best visuals, great performances, wonderful scenes and a very interesting idea to begin with, the way the story was delivered left a great hole in the quality of the movie. But still, the movie was a lot better than the first one.

And that’s a lot to say from a movie that was made almost 6 years before, with the help of a more experienced director and the support of a bigger production company. Now, the second one delivered a story that didn’t impress many but still could surpass the high bar the first one left.

What Happened with Jaa

Tony Jaa made his debut as a director with this movie. However, it didn’t go as well as he thought it would be. The movie in itself is not badly directed, nor his acting was low quality and even the story wasn’t that bad. But the movie couldn’t hold itself in total. Maybe because the story was a little too ambitious or because Jaa wanted to achieve much more recognition working on everything he could to make this movie happen.

He had a lot of trouble with both the production company and with some members of the cast. He even left the movie filming one day and was somehow suspended from the contract he made for the movie. However, he later appeared in a TV show claiming that he wanted to come back to the filming and finish this movie that somehow depicted the best of his abilities as an actor, amateur director, and movie writer.

And when you see the movie you will know why the movie wasn’t that bad at all. Even though his master on directing had to finish the movie, Tony Jaa created one of the best action flicks of the past decade, making himself a future to the industry.