Ong Bak 2: The Beginning (Thai: องค์บาก 2) is a 2008 Thai martial arts film co-directed by Panna Rittikrai and Tony Jaa, who also stars in the lead role. it is the standalone prequel to the 2003 film Ong-Bak: Muay Thai Warrior and is set in 15th century Thailand. In the film, Tien trains himself in martial arts, where he becomes a lethal soldier and sets out to avenge his parents' death.

Ong Bak 2: The Beginning
Thai Poster
Directed byTony Jaa
Panna Rittikrai
Screenplay byEk Iemchuen
Nonthakorn Thaweesuk
Story byTony Jaa
Panna Rittikrai
Produced byPrachya Pinkaew
Tony Jaa
Panna Rittikrai
Akarapol Techaratanaprasert
StarringTony Jaa
CinematographyNattawut Kittikhun
Edited byNonthakorn Thaweesuk
Saravut Nakajud
Music byTerdsak Janpan
Distributed bySahamongkol Film International
Release date
December 4, 2008 (2008-12-04)
Running time
98 minutes
Box office$8,936,663[1]

The film was released on 4 December 2008 and became a success at the box office. A sequel titled Ong Bak 3 was released on 2010.

Plot edit

In 1431 Siam, during the reign of Borommarachathirat II of the Ayutthaya Kingdom, Tien is the young son of a noble family, whose father Lord Sihadecho sends him to learn dance in a remote village under Master Bua instead of making him a warrior. Sihadecho wants Tien to be safe from the commander of the Ayutthaya royal guard Lord Rajasena, who had plotted against his family. Although the young Tien disdaines their peaceful life, he eventually befriended an orphan girl named Pim. However, Lord Sihadecho gets betrayed by one of their own guards, who attempts to kidnap Tien, but the boy manages to flee with a loyalist's help.

At the same time, Sihadecho and his household are massacred by Lord Rajasena and a mysterious masked assassin. Tien is forced to flee from enemy soldiers and manages to escape to the forest, where he is captured by slave traders. Tien's resistance leads the traders to throw him into a pool with a Siamese crocodile, but a band of bandits and martial artists called the Pha Beek Khrut ("Garuda Wing Cliff"), attacks the traders. Chernang, who is the leader of the gang, saves Tien from the crocodile after getting intrigued by his physical prowess and sheer willpower. They take him to their village, where their soothsayer claims that Tien is destined to become a great warrior and Chernang offers him to become one of them, which Tien accepts.

Years later, Tien is subjected to necessary tests in order to become a true member of the Pha Beek Khrut. After Tien passes his last test, Chernang proclaims him as his adopted son and heir and Tien subsequently becomes the field leader of the bandits. Later, Tien tracks down his old slave traders and thrashes them, where he throws their leader to the crocodiles as he previously did to him. Tien makes a blood oath to avenge his family, which Chernang encourages him to fulfill, promising him to make him their new leader upon his return. Tien travels alone to Rajasena's palace, where the lord is hosting a party to proclaim his power. After a dance coincidentally performed by a grown-up Pim, Tien sneaks in dressed as a khon dancer himself and attacks Rajasena, apparently cutting the treacherous lord down.

Tien returns to the Pha Beek Khrut village, but he finds it empty and is instead confronted by the masked assassin that killed his father, whom Tien attacks, but more masked attackers emerges and Tien eventually overcomes his enemies with the help of an elephant and his skills. However, Tien meets his match at the hands of a final opponent named Bhuti Sangkha ("Crow Ghost"), a sinister yet formidable martial artist. Bhuti defeats Tien and takes the elephant away, leaving him to be submitted by Lord Rajasena and his army. The lord turns out to have survived the assassination thanks to hidden armor, and reveals that the masked assassin is none other than Chernang, who must now finish his job from years ago in exchange for Rajasena pardoning his bandits.

Tien reluctantly fights Chernang, who pins Tien down and acknowledges him as his son and asks him to accept his own life to avenge his father. Chernang then causes the blade of Tien's sword to snap and slash across his throat, killing himself. Exhausted and devastated, Tien collapses on the ground surrounded by the soldiers, where Rajasena orders Tien to be slowly tortured to death. In a voiceover, Tien suffers this fate due to his bad karma, but adds that he will find a way to cheat death. An ambiguous scene shows Tien with a fully-grown beard standing in front of the Ong Bak Buddha statue.

Cast edit

Production edit

Shooting of the film began in October 2006. It was released in Thailand on December 5, 2008.[2] In July 2008, rumor surfaced that Tony Jaa had disappeared from the production set. Prachya Pinkaew commented to the press that Tony Jaa had disappeared from the set for almost two months, leaving the film unfinished and that the delay caused more than 250 million baht damage due to the breach of contract with the Weinstein Company who had also canceled the contract. Later in an interview with the press, Tony Jaa stated that the production was on hiatus because Sahamongkol Film could not release the obligated funding for the film. Sources within Ayara Film, the subsidiary of Sahamongkol Film that handled Ong Bak 2 production, claimed that no more funding came from Sahamongkol after it took over the budget and management role from Tony Jaa from May to July 2008.[3]

Tony Jaa and the owner of Sahamongkol Film later made a joint press conference stating that the production and funding would continue after several concessions were agreed upon between Tony Jaa and Sahamongkol. Famed Thai action choreographer and Jaa's mentor Panna Rittikrai was brought onto the project in the capacity of director to help complete the film.[4] In addition, Rittikrai added martial artist Dan Chupong to the cast.[4]

An international trailer for the film was released during filming, showing the fictional setting in which Tony Jaa's character is being rescued in the jungle by a group of martial artists of various styles, and trained to unify these different systems. However, production still encountered financial problems as it came to a close. In order to complete the production on time, the filmmakers decided to end Ong Bak 2 with a cliffhanger ending, and then continue the story in a sequel, Ong Bak 3, which was announced to begin production for a 2009 release.[5]

Distribution edit

Worldwide distribution and sales rights to Ong Bak 2 were purchased by The Weinstein Company in March 2006. A little over a year later, Harvey Weinstein visited Bangkok and renegotiated a deal in which Sahamongkol Film International bought back most of the rights to the film, except for North America, which The Weinstein Company retains.[6] At the 2007 Cannes Film Festival market, Sahamongkol sold some rights to Germany-based Splendid Films.[7]

In February 2009, Wagner/Cuban Companies' Magnolia Pictures acquired the U.S. distribution rights for Ong-Bak 2 under their Magnet label. The deal was negotiated by Tom Quinn, Senior Vice President of Magnolia, with Gilbert Lim of Sahamongkol Film International.[8]

Reception edit

The film holds a 49% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 70 reviews. The site's consensus reads: "It suffers from comparisons to its predecessor, not to mention Tony Jaa's less-than-nimble direction, but Ong Bak 2 has all the extravagant violence and playful style that fans of the original will expect".[9]

Despite political turmoil in the film's native Thailand, in its opening weekend (8 December 2008) Ong Bak 2 grossed about 58 million baht ($2.06 million), according to Variety Asia Online, and was number one at the Thai box office.[10] Ong Bak 2 did better at the Thai box office than Tony Jaa's previous film, Tom-Yum-Goong.[11]

The film was praised by the variety of martial arts showcased, including muay boran and krabi krabong, Japanese kenjutsu and ninjutsu, Indian Kalaripayattu, Malay silat, as well as various Chinese martial arts. Jaa also showcased weapons such as the ninjatō, katana, jian, dao, talwar, nunchaku, rope dart, and three-section staff.[12]

Home video edit

There have been numerous DVD releases of Ong Bak 2. Various versions with regional subtitles and dubbings were released throughout Asia, South America, Australia and New Zealand in the months shortly after the film's premiere in its native Thailand. The film was released for the European film market on 6 February 2009.[13] The United States version was released on February 2, 2010,[14] although it is already available in English language version. A bootleg all-region-compatible version with English subtitles of Ong-Bak 2 was internationally released on April 2, 2009 on DVD, although this version is not as yet widely available. There are no significant reviews, such as on Rotten Tomatoes, yet.

Sequel edit

With the box office success of Ong Bak 2, Sahamongkol Film International was quick to announce their intention to film its sequel. Filming of new footage for the follow-up was to begin before the end of the year and was to incorporate unused footage from Ong Bak 2.[15] Kongdej Jaturanrasamee, screenwriter of the Thai fantasy film Queens of Langkasuka, was signed to write the script. In addition, the expensive set for the Khmer Palace was completed and seen by the press.[16] Ong Bak 3 was released in May 2010.

The film features more fights between Tony Jaa and Dan Chupong (the uncredited actor behind the mysterious, enigmatic and deadly "crow ghost" in Ong Bak 2, the only enemy who really gets the drop on Tien in the film).[17]

Video game edit

Ong Bak Tri, a video game based on Ong Bak films, was in development by Studio Hive and was to be published worldwide by Immanitas Entertainment for PC, smartphones, PlayStation Network, and Xbox Live Marketplace. The game was intended to be 2.5D side-scrolling brawler with "intense fighting action, impressive free-running sequences, and highly cinematic quick-time action events", according to the press release. The game, like the second and third films, was to be set in ancient Thailand. No official release date has been announced[18][19] and the project was presumably canceled.

References edit

  1. ^ "Ong Bak 2: The Beginning Box Office Mojo listing". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved April 8, 2017.
  2. ^ Payee, Parinyaporn (2006-11-30). "High-kicking khon". The Nation (Thailand). Archived from the original on 2007-06-23. Retrieved 2007-06-11.
  3. ^ yaporn (2008-07-25). "'จา พนม'เผยตัวแล้ว อ้างเครียดเหตุหมดงบ 'ปรัชญา'อัดทำกองถ่ายเสียหายกว่า 250 ล้าน". Matichon Online. Archived from the original on 2008-07-29. Retrieved 2008-07-25.
  4. ^ a b Brown, Todd (2008-11-13). "Who's That Guy In The New ONG BAK 2 Poster? It's Dan Chupong, That's Who!". Twitch. Archived from the original on 2008-11-20. Retrieved 2008-11-25.
  5. ^ Pajeea, Parinyaporn (2008-12-18). "Back on Track". Daily Xpress. Archived from the original on 2008-12-21. Retrieved 2008-12-18.
  6. ^ Frater, Patrick (2007-05-09). "Weinsteins loosen Thai film's rights". Variety. Archived from the original on April 12, 2009. Retrieved 2007-06-11.
  7. ^ Frater, Patrick (2007-05-17). "Splendid takes 'Ong Bak 2'". Variety. Archived from the original on April 12, 2009. Retrieved 2007-06-11.
  8. ^ [1][dead link]
  9. ^ "Ong Bak 2". Rotten Tomatoes. Archived from the original on October 13, 2009. Retrieved October 27, 2009.
  10. ^ "VarietyAsiaOnline". VarietyAsiaOnline. Archived from the original on 2012-01-19. Retrieved 2010-08-16.
  11. ^ Frater, Patrick (2008-12-10). "Asian films make powerful debut at local box offices". Variety Asia Online. Archived from the original on 2009-01-23. Retrieved 2008-12-11.
  12. ^ "Ong Bak 2 Review". Martial Development. 2009-03-31. Retrieved 2009-04-03.
  13. ^ Ong bak 2 (2008) - Release dates Archived December 25, 2016, at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ Pollard, Mark (2009-11-24). "Magnolia's 'Ong Bak 2' DVD and Blu-ray details". Archived from the original on 2009-11-28. Retrieved 2010-08-16.
  15. ^ Pajee, Parinyaporn (2008-12-18). "Back on Track". Daily Xpress. Archived from the original on 2008-12-21. Retrieved 2008-12-18.
  16. ^ ""เสี่ย"สั่งลุยหนัง"หนังองค์บาก3":: :: เว็บแรกสู่โลกดารา :: ข่าวดารา ปาปาราซซี่". Archived from the original on 2011-10-06. Retrieved 2010-08-16.
  17. ^ "Wise Kwai's Thai Film Journal: News and Views on Thai Cinema: Sia Jiang: There will be an Ong-Bak 3". 2008-12-18. Retrieved 2010-08-16.
  18. ^ Ravenscraft, Eric (2012-12-06). "Ong Bak Tri: The Video Game Trailer Shows Off That Unity3D Engine with Some Flair". Android Police. Retrieved 2014-01-22.
  19. ^ Leo, Jon (2013-01-29). "The Hive Mind Behind the Ong Bak Video Game". GameSpot. Retrieved 2014-01-22.

External links edit