Tien is a boy living in 15th century Thailand, who is orphaned after the murder of his parents. After being picked up by a travelling group, he shows intense aggression and upsets the man responsible for his capture – leading to him being thrown into the Crocodile pit to fight for survival.
An onlooker named Chernang is impressed by the fiery nature he sees in young Tien, and after attacking everyone in the area and taking control, he throws Tien a knife. Tien then kills the crocodile, and leaves with Chernang for a new life.
Growing up Tien is taught a vast array of martial arts, weapon work and the ways of the warrior. He grows up to become a fierce and almost unbeatable fighter and takes Chernang’s place in his raids.
After sometime, Chernang decides he wants the now grown up to Tien (played by Tony Jaa) to take his place but notices his unfinished business. He lets Tien step back out into the world and sort it out, to take revenge on those who killed his family.
Tien then sets out kicking ass and chasing down his revenge.
A change of Pace for Tony Jaa
In Ong Bak 2, presumably a prequel to the first Ong Bak movie, we’re show character development as Tien grows, and learns the ways of the world. Also a few plot twists and deeper, more thought out characters seem to give this movie a few added notches in the story telling department.
We see Tien as a small child, very aggressive, grow up and embrace his fighting abilities before continueing on with an almost righteous anger to take his revenge.
But we also see a kinder side to Tien as he is freeing slaves during his raids – this shows that although he is a vicious warrior, that innocent side of him still exists.
(spoiler) This innocence resurfaces when he discovers that Chernang is actually the man who killed his father. Chernang turns on Tien temporarily, claiming if he knew who his parents were he would have killed him years ago. But he regrets turning on Tien and allows himself to be killed.
Even the change in setting is quite a contrast! With Jaa’s previous movies being set in present day, with very modern themes of general crime like drugs, theft and murder, this movie tells the story of Tien in a completely different time with different surroundings and motivation behind each fight. Gone are the ‘showreel’ fight scenes of old!
The Martial Arts
First and foremost, the variety of styles taught to Tien is impressive – he learns Muay Boran (and ancient form of Muay Thai), Krabi Krabong (a more military style), Kendo, Ninjitsu and other Chinese Arts.
It’s pretty out there that this village has such a deep knowledge in all of these arts! 🙂
So naturally Tony Jaa’s character Tien uses a variety of fighting styles and movements on his enemies, but what I noticed the most was more usage of weapons in his fight scenes.
The fights are grittier and deadlier thanks to added weaponry like swords, but still carry that impressive pace that Tony Jaa is known for.
The fights are intense and take up a large chunk of the film as they are spread throughout the movie keeping it constantly entertaining, with a visual style that gives the movie that epic feeling. While it’s not his greatest film, it’s still pretty damn fun to watch!
Great Action, Great Story, Tony Jaa – need I say more? Check it out!
On Blu Ray –
Region A (US & Canada)
Ong Bak 2: The Beginning [Blu-ray]
Region B (UK, Australia, New Zealand, Europe etc)
Ong-Bak: the Beginning [Blu-ray]
On DVD –
Region 1 (US & Canada)
Ong Bak 2: The Beginning on DVD
Region 2 (UK, Europe, etc)
Ong-Bak: the Beginning [DVD]
Region 4 (Australia, New Zealand, etc)
Ong Bak 2 on DVD