Featured Blu-ray Review: Ong-Bak Trilogy
The first Ong-Bak film looked like it would propel Tony Jaa to super stardom. That hasn't worked out just yet, but there were two other films made in the franchise, which is being released this week. It is just the previous Blu-rays being released in a box set, but I only reviewed one of these films previously, so I jumped at the chance to see the other two. Are they worth picking up if you don't have them already?
In the first film, Tony Jaa starred as
Kham Ting, a man who lived in a small village that had a baby elephant, Khon, as one of its citizens, a Buddha Statue called Ong-bak. Some shady character came into the village looking to buy the elephant, but the villagers said no. Then the elephant statue disappeared and Kham Ting traveled to Sydney Bangkok to get it back.
Hmmm... that sounds familiar.
There's more to the plot than that. Ting has to go to the big city for the first time and meets with someone who grew up in his village, Humlae, who was supposed to become a monk, but is a petty con artist who calls himself George. George works with a young lady, Muay Lek. At first Ting thinks George will help him, because they are cousins from the same village, but after George steals from him, he wants nothing to do with George. However, George is in desperate need of money or his life might be over, so he sees Ting as his meal ticket. It takes a while before they start working together again.
Like with The Protector, the plot here is less important than the action scenes, but at least the plot adds something to the movie and isn't a detriment. As for the action scenes, they are top-notch, without a doubt. There's an extended chase scene where Ting, George, and to a lesser extent, Muay Lek are running away from a gang that George owes money to. There's no real fighting, there are countless displays of athleticism. When we do see fighting, there's plenty of variety in locations and styles displayed, not as much as the classic Jackie Chan films, but enough that it is a must have for fans of the genre.
Extras begin with a short clip of a live performance by Tony Jaa and some of his stuntmen. The Movements of Muay Thai is even shorter and shows a few moves from the martial arts. Tony Jaa also appeared in a French rap video and you can watch the video and the making of featurette. Selected B Roll is six minutes of alternative takes and behind-the-scenes. Finally, there's a short promo video with RZA. There's a lot of extras in terms of quantity, but most are very short.
The technical presentation is solid, given the film's production budget. It doesn't stand out as much as a Hollywood production would, but there's a high level of details, strong colors, deep blacks, etc. The audio isn't as active as I would have liked, but it is still an asset.
I reviewed this movie previously and there's nothing I need to add here.
On a side note, there are still no updates on the BD Live.
While Ong-Bak takes place in the modern day, Ong-Bak 2 and Ong-Bak 3 takes place in 1431 and takes place in a world where magic is real. Ong-Bak 3 also takes place immediately after Ong-Bak 2 and even the opening credits of this movie are spoilers for the second film. This makes it impossible to go into the plot details. Just read the review for the previous film and you will understand the basic setup.
Fortunately, the quality of the film is also very similar to the second film. That is to say, if you like the Wuxia genre, then it is worth checking out, but it isn't a classic in the genre. It is only worth owning if you are a more hardcore fan of the genre and a fan of Tony Jaa in particular.
Even the extras are nearly identical to the second film, with a making of featurette, behind-the-scenes, interviews, etc.
And again, the technical presentation is likewise the same as the second film.
This is turning out to be the simplest review I've ever done.
The Ong-Bak Trilogy Blu-ray Box Set costs $25, which is basically buy two and get the other for free. If you don't own any of the films on Blu-ray, then this is worth picking up, but that would be the only reason to buy, given the price.
Submitted by: C.S.Strowbridge
Date posted: 2014-07-27