height="283" width="300" align="Right" border="0"/>Let’s make one thing clear right off the bat: Ong Bak 3
is barely a movie. In fact, if you were to break it down, you’d find
that it is 30% healing montage, 25% dance montage, 20% flashbacks to Ong Bak 2 and 15% Tony Jaa ruining people with brutal Muay Thai, which is the reason everyone came to see the movie in the first place.
So let’s get that part out of the way: the fighting in Ong Bak 3
is amazing, bone-crunching, limb-snapping stuff. Tony Jaa fucks folks
up in truly special, wonderful, irresponsible ways and when the talking
stops and punching and the kicking start to happen, Ong Bak 3 is a glorious ode to the art of smashing faces.
And with that out of the way, I run out of nice things to say about Ong Bak 3.
Jaa pumped this thing out just before retiring from the international
action star game to pursue his new life goal of being a monk and his
absolute disinterest in martial arts shows throughout. After a brutal
opening sequence that sees Jaa tortured to the verge of death, our hero
is rescued and spirited away to a remote village to begin the healing
process. A healing process that will take most of the running time. He
also learns to dance. And he remembers the last film. A lot.
If anything, Ong Bak 3
manages to say a great deal about Jaa and what he finds important, even
if his target audience isn’t on the same wavelength. You’ve got a lot
of time devoted to dance. You’ve got a lot of time devoted to vague
Buddhist mysticism. You’ve got a lot time devoted to preaching about how
wrong violence is (usually right before the next fight scene). Hell,
you’ve got more than several scenes featuring elephants. The ultimate
conclusion of the film, with Jaa turning back time to avoid a violent
conflict and defeating his evil mirror self in combat to achieve total
spiritual enlightenment and (I think) become a new Buddhist god, is just
as silly as it sounds, but you’ve got to give credit where credit is
do: the man has made a movie straight from his heart.
I guess inner tranquility and ass-kicking just can’t mix.