Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Ong Bak 3 (DVD Review)

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Photo: Courtesy of eOne Films

writers/Directors: Tony Jaa & Panna Rittikrai (Ong Bak 2: The Beginning)
Cast: Tony Jaa, Deaw Chupong Changpung, Pechthai Wongkomlao, Nirut Srijanya, Pimrata Deajodom
Thailand, 2010

Reason to see: It's Tony Jaa, which is reason enough to see anything!

I'm a big fan of Tony Jaa and the first Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior, and although I wasn't as keep on the historical set sequel/prequel Ong Bak 2: The Beginning I still had a lot of fun watching it on the closing night of TIFF back in 2009. Nothing like seeing these kinds of films with a crowd, especially the fight scenes which made me a little sad to see this the third film go straight to DVD, but I was still really happy to get a chance to see it.

Ong Bak 3 chronologically follows Ong Bak 2: The Beginning and continues the journey of the Tien (Tony Jaa) in a historical setting. I'm a big fan of martial arts films, although sometimes I forget how has they can be exploring and depicting things like unlawful imprisonment, corrupt leaders, people living in fear all of which we have here. Of course that's a great opportunity for a hero story, which we also have here. It's also a really strong personal & spiritual journey story of the character of Tien, which I'm enjoyed a fair amount, but I'm not sure it will always connect with the pacing that non-stop action audience expect.

I enjoyed the spiritual elements of the film, and there is also strong fantasy and mythic tone taken with them portraying characters and ideas that feel way beyond the ordinary, one of which is Sanga, played by Deaw Chupong Changpung, who is a dark spirit type character. We also get our comic relief from Men (Petchthai Wongkomlao) and love interest Pim (Pimrata Deajodom), whom showcases Khon, a stylized form of Thai dance which was another really interesting element to the film.

It seems unfair to criticize a martial arts film for too strong a story, and this one was much clearer & tighter than Ong Bak 2: The Beginning, but I think the action is really what people are looking for and I'll be curious to hear if the spiritual element resonate with others. But it also does have great action as well, although mostly as book ends to the film, they are still spectacular fight sequences and had me glued to the screen. At points I wondered "How did they do that?", and from watching the behind the scenes it looks like mostly.. they just DID it. Now that's amazing.

DVD Extras:
  • B-Roll (14 minutes) b-roll including fight choreography & preparation, cast & crew watching playback, fighting, dancing, make-up preparation and footage of working with the elephants (no subtitles).
  • 6 Interviews, subtitled in English. I really enjoyed the Tony Jaa and Pimrata Deajodom interviews, as well as the inclusion in several interviews of a very direct to camera message to the audience on why they should see or what they will enjoy about the film, which is really cute. The individual interviews include: actor/co-director Tony Jaa (10 minutes) including discussing the differences in his character from Ong Bak 2 and Ong Bak 3, the journey of his character in this film, the inspiration to bring Khon to the big screen, the creation of Nat-ta-yut, the inclusion of ideas of Buddhism and Brahmanism in the film. Action Director & co-director Panna Rittikrai (5 minutes) on differences from previous Ong Bak films, the decision to make it different, it's connection to Ong Bak 2, and the representation of Thai culture in the film and how Ong Bak 3 is the last film in the series. Actor Deaw Chupong Changpung (4 minutes) on the character of Sanga, his aggressive nature, the length and intensity of working on the action sequences, the preparation and make up, working with an impressive Thai cast and working with Tony Jaa. Actor Petchthai Wongkomlao (3 minutes) on his character Men and his role in the film as the humour and in relation to the character of Tien, on working with Tony Jaa, the martial arts style used in the film. Actor Nirut Srijanya (3 minutes) on his character of Master Bua in relation to the character of Tien and Tien's journey in the film, discussing Khon, the relationship and differences of the three films. Actor Pimrata Deajodom (4 minutes) on her character of Pim, in terms of and relationship with Tien, working with Tony Jaa, as well as discussing Khon practice and the challenges of filming.
  • Trailer
Ong Bak 3 is available on DVD as of February 15, 2011. Check it out over at Amazon.ca & Amazon.com

Shannon's Overall View:
I enjoyed it
I'll watch it again
I'd recommend it to fans of martial arts films

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© Shannon Ridler, 2011

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Photo: Tony Jaa as Tien in Ong Bak 3. Courtesy of eOne Films.

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Photo: Tony Jaa as Tien in Ong Bak 3. Courtesy of eOne Films.

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Photo: Ong Bak 3, Courtesy of eOne Films.

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