Ong Bak 3 Movie Review
This Movie is what I would call a good martial arts movie, where the first two movies of this trilogy are what I would call great martial arts films. Having said that, this movie is worth watching but if you are comparing it to the first two then you will be in for a little bit of disappointment
If you are reading this movie review, then you most probably have watched the first two instalments of this title. But for the sake of those who still haven’t, let’s have a recap of its prequel first. The story has of part 3 has nothing to do with part 1.
Ong Bak 2 features Tony Jaa in a 1420s setting as the young prince in Siam named Tien. The antagonist, Lord Rajasena (Sarunyoo Wongkrachang), sends assassins to kill Tien’s family but Tien is able to escape this massacre.
Not long after, he is picked up by a group of slave traders. But after finding Tien to be too difficult to control, the slave traders decide to throw him in a pit to be fed to crocodiles. He is then saved by Chernang (Sorapong Chatree) who is a leader of a guerrilla tribe known as the Garuda Wing Cliff. This is where Tien learns the art of fighting in different styles when the group decides to keep and train him.
At this point Tien is now becoming the most skilful and powerful fighter of the group. He then leads the guerrillas to attack the slave drivers and to assassinate Lord Rajasena. But he is betrayed by the guerrillas and the foster father himself, who reveals that it was really he who killed Tien’s real father. Tien was able to fight most of his opponents but the Crow Ghost, Bhuti Sangkha, (Dan Chupong) suddenly appears.
The movie ends with Tien being surrounded by several of Lord Rajasena’s men, and this is where Ong Bak 3 starts. Literally.
The first thing that some of you might notice is the relatively long voice over narrative at the beginning. Perhaps not everyone would mind it but the makers of this film should have thought twice about telling part of a story through a voice over. Some wouldn’t even listen to it because the people came for the action. By the time an action movie starts, the audience is already bracing for some good fight scenes which, in fairness, the audience sees after the story telling.
Tien is unable to defeat his opponents here and a great display of him being tortured almost to death follows. However, after this the movie progresses with less if not without any good fight scenes. A big chunk of the movie in the middle doesn’t show what you were hoping for- Tony Jaa getting into some heart-stopping action. In fact, the movie was mostly about contemplation and seeking inner peace to succeed.
The fighting aspect was a downgrade as compared to the two films that preceded, after the movie makers left most of the fight scenes to the less-skilled. It didn’t help that there were some very obvious wire assistance for the Crow Ghost.
The CG effects also affected the quality of this film. Although this could be forgivable since this was made locally and was not expected from this kind of an action film. This is not to ridicule the skills of local CGI companies but let’s face it: when we say local we usually refer to those who produce – besides literally locally – with lower quality. Even the local CG effects here in my country are admittedly of poor quality. The CGI in Ong Bak 3 is not the worst, but also not the best.
Now what can be regarded as flawless, not only in this third part but the entire story, is the plot itself. But since this is a review for the third movie, let’s focus – for one – on the fight scenes of Tony Jaa in this particular movie with the village people whom the Crow Ghost has enslaved. One would notice how Tien fights, or rather subdues these now warriors of the Crow Ghost, which goes in line with the fact that Tien is trying to save the people and not fight against them. It could have been the movie’s chance to show some bone-breaking and blood-spilling action but doing so would have destroyed the plot. Here he doesn’t kill the people, he only subdues them. Tony Jaa deserves a big thumbs up for this reason.
In case you didn’t know, this movie was co-written and directed by Mr. Jaa himself together with Panna Rittikrai. Some would say that he failed in this regard after he left the action-craving audience unsatisfied with the lack of realistically great fight scenes.
That is understandable since both first and second movies contained some of the best fight scenes there is in the action genre. And as a sequel it is expected that it would beat the previous movie by having more brutal and realistic action.
However, we should also give credit to him for trying to produce a good story. A few factors might be at play in here which made it seem like Tony Jaa did not do well. It could be the theme of this movie, which is about learning how to achieve inner peace and the strength within you. But at least now we can see that he is not only a man who knows nothing but to do unassisted stunts. He is also a movie maker who tries to make use of his mind and expand his horizon.
Yes, Tony Jaa may not be the best as a man behind the camera because this is an action film in the first place. Perhaps it would have worked more for the people if this movie was categorized as drama or anything other than action. But I believe he still deserves a thumbs-up for this one.
You cannot rely on Ong Bak 3 if you are looking for some high quality action. It was basically just a few sentences to give an ending to Ong Bak 2. He survived and recovered after being held captive. He spent time soul searching, and when he was ready he defeated his greatest enemy. That’s it. You won’t be seeing any new moves that you haven’t seen before.
It may have been better if the movie was made longer, or there were less contemplating in the woods and more fighting episodes between Tien and the Crow Ghost. That way the movie could stand on its own, especially if we see Tony Jaa doing what he does best. After all, people watch each of his films because of his great talent in martial arts.
Those are suggestions for improvement, but there’s nothing we could now because we’re talking about a finished product.
Perphaps we could appreciate it as is if we take it for what it really is – merely an ending. And a long one at that. Simply watch the first two films before this one, and you’d be turning off your TV satisfied.