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The Asian ApertureOng Bak 2 & 3
POSTED BY JASON FETTERS, March 27, 2011    Share

Ok, I was searching through various movies for Netflix streaming and came across Ong Bak 2 and I also found Ong Bak 3. Now, the first Ong Bak is a fun and entertaining Thai action movie that all fans of martial arts movies should check out. My hopes were not high or low as I settled in to begin Ong Bak 2.

Ong Bak 2 is a prequel that is set in 15th century Thailand. In the beginning I knew that I would be in for great action shots as a young boy, played by Tony Jaa, with long hair, is thrown into a watery pit and forced to wrestle a giant angry crocodile. The boy succeeds after a tiring battle that never seems to end. Tien is the boy's name and he sets out on a journey and discovers a village of martial artists and weapon specialists who agree to train him. As Tien progresses in skill, it is interesting to watch the challenges the masters put him through to see if Tien really has what it takes.
In typical kung fu plot fashion, after Tien has required enough skills, he sets out to attack those who have wronged him and his family.

The best thing about Ong Bak 2 is the fight scenes which pop up all the time. Sadly the plot is very weak and I found myself pausing the movie and coming back to it, not a good sign. Ong Bak 2 is definitely a movie that I am so glad that I did not pay to see it at a theater. Ong Bak 2 ends on a cliffhanger that takes us right into Ong Bak 3.

Ong Bak 3 resolves the cliffhanger from part 2 in a way that would make Batman from the 60's TV series turn green and vomit. It just does not work at all.

The action is toned down for part 3 and the focus is on the spiritual side. The entire plot of 3 is mainly Buddhist philosophy that is simply boring to watch. I found myself thinking about the first Ong Bak and how fun that movie was while watching this one. It does not work at all.

Ong Bak 3 is the weakest of the trilogy. Not even Tony Jaa's end fight scene can save anything about this movie. If you want to watch a movie about being a good Buddhist, then Ong Bak 3 might work for you. I don't mind watching philosophy in a martial arts movie. It can be good such as the old 70's Kung Fu TV series or Circle of Iron. The latter does a great job of combining Zen with cool action shots in an entertaining manner that never gets boring. The problem is that Ong Bak 3 is a confused script that leaves the viewer confused and really does not work on any entertainment level at all.

For my final verdict I would say to skip both 2 and 3 and re-watch the first Ong Bak.

1 star out of 5 avoid!!

"The Asian Aperture" is ©2011 by Jason Fetters. All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2011 by Nolan B. Canova.

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