High-kicking maestro Tony Jaa reunites with director Prachya Pinkaew and comedy partner Petchtai Wongkamlao for a follow-up (but not sequel – that’s to come later) to their 2004 hit “Ong Bak”.
Jaa plays Kham, a mild-mannered villager who spends his days in the Thai countryside perfecting the martial art of Muay Thai and messing about with his pet elephants. But when an international mafia syndicate kidnaps his beloved pachyderms and takes them to Sydney, our peace-loving hero hops on a plane to Oz and opens an industrial size can of whup-ass on his animal trafficking enemies.
Worst movie plot of the year so far? Probably, but who cares when you have the new king of chopsocky taking on 50 bad guys in an unedited, 4-minute, “no wires, no stunt doubles, no CGI, no tricks” scene that is a first in the genre. Other bone-crunching highlights include a one-on-one duel in a burning church (which is also under water confusingly) with a bloke who looks bizarrely similar to Martin Fowler from Eastenders. Admittedly, the dialogue is awful (Pinkaew struggles with his English), there are some plot strands that go nowhere – what happened to Johnny? – and the film is appallingly edited at times.
After such a bone-crunching movie, it will come as no surprise that this jam-packed bonus features package also packs a real punch (we’ll forgive them for not providing a commentary as there wouldn’t really be much point in us sitting through 90 minutes of Thai banter). There are hours of video diaries, interviews and behind the scenes footage of everyone from director Prachya Pinkae to stunt coordinator Panna Rittikrai and the man himself Tony Jaa. The highlight though is a collection of multi-angle fight sequence in which you are given three views (theatrical angle, alternate angle and split-screen) to chose from as Jaa leads his one-man wrecking crew through swathes of would-be assassins.
It is impossible not to enjoy a movie that has its tongue placed so firmly in its cheek, as is most evident in the scenes that show Kham running around Sydney wearing a red cravat and shouting “where the hell’s my elephant?” at the top of his voice. Watch out too for an entertaining showdown with 6' 11", 360lbs WWF star Nathan Jones, and a brief encounter with Jackie Chan who metaphorically passes on the mantle of martial arts king to his young successor.
Staring: Tony Jaa, Petchtai Wongkamlao, Bongkoj Khongmalai, Jing Xing, Nathan Jones
Directed by: Tony Jaa
Extras: Interview gallery with Tony Jaa, Petchtai Wongkamlao, Bongkoj Khongmalai, director Prachya Pinkaew, stunt co-ordinator Panna Rittikra, 'Revolution Uprising': pre-production action
'A Different Line': multi-angle sequence, 'Making The Warrior': interviews with cast and crew, On the press trail with Tony Jaa