Tag Archives: Thailand

Cinema-Maniac: The Protector 2 (Tom yum goong 2) (2013) Movie Review

Back in 2003 Tony Jaa (or Panom Yeerum in Thailand) starred in the bone breaking martial film “Ong Bak” becoming an international sensation. Drawing comparisons to many legendary martial artists such as Donnie Yen, Jet Li, and most evidently Jackie Chan. Unlike those he was compared to Tony Jaa success didn’t lead him in the right direction. Every new film Tony Jaa starred in he failed to recapture the quality of “Ong Bak”. His films gradually kept getting worse and dull with the occasional out of place goofy moment (in “Ong Bak 3” Tony Jaa magically gains the power to reverse time). Now with a resume of mostly forgettable films Jaa only guarantee for success is to turn his only original film into a franchise. Copy and pasting have never been so wrong before in a sequel serving as a “Best of Moments” from Jaa previous films.

The Protector 2 sees Kham’s pet elephant has being abducted (again) and he must fight anyone in his way to find him (again). Usually it would take longer for a film plot to not give a damn about the story, but the premise spoils that since it’s the same exact premise from its predecessor. Although unlike its predecessor where there was some essence of story if sloppy had a complete narrative. Not here as quickly as Kham elephant is kidnapped it goes in a hurry to get to the action. Attempting to justify having even less plot this time it throws politics between two warring countries in the beginning of the film which has little relevance in the plot. Around reaching the twenty minute mark you’ll have to endure one giant set piece that last around twelve minutes. This single action scene has Kham fighting motorcycles hooligans on top of a roof and eventually getting chased across the city surviving one over the top scenario after another. If it sounds like I’m skipping on plot details it’s because there is barely any sufficient material for a story. It’s basically a series of excuses for action scenes even if the context is not strong enough to support it. As for characters they remain the same not evolving in any noticeable way. There’s no story to be found here. Just nonstop action in the worst way possible.

Plot has never been a strong point in most of Tony Jaa films (or Thailand action films in general) and the action fares no better either. The main problem being dodgy CG and green screen that stick out. Doggy effects lessen the impact of fight scenes that would have been cooler to seen done in a practical manner. What could have been a highlight seeing Tony Jaa fight in a burning building ends looking like unfinished test footage for a video game. Fight choreography is so so. None of the fight scenes contain a sense of brutality. As oppose to the original where Tony Jaa impressively performed a four minute fight scene in one take in this film there’s no effort to out do that accomplishment. All the fights scenes require the actors to jump around their location like rabbits. Often times resembling a cartoon (there’s a fight scene in a subway in which Jaa’s opponent gets the power to conduct electricity after dipping his shoes in water).

Tony Jaa performance is so so. Not really having to rely much on his acting chops he serves his main purpose of doing stunts and fighting. While it is unnecessary to see him perform a stunt in first person view Jaa certainly knows how to stage a stunt. As for his fighting it remains simple though he moves quickly as always has showcasing impressive physical abilities. JeeJa Yanin suffers the same fate as Jaa. Although Yanin has proven she can act her role here only requires her to fight, fight, shout, and fight. Actually she spends most of the film getting beaten up by baddies until the finale. Petchtai Wongkamlao (who seriously has appeared in most of Jaa films) serves the same purpose in comedy relief. Once again due to the nature of the script Wongkamlao doesn’t get many moments to do comedy, but at least he has plenty of dramatic scenes which are wasted too. Marrese Crump only job is to look mad and fight not requiring to do much. RZA on the other hand attempts to act though he never sells a single line. He never gets into his character nor is the allusion of him being an actor disappears.

The Protector 2 provides more of the same thin plot rushing to get to its many overabundant action scenes. Unlike the original it doesn’t contain anything as memorable leaving you with an action film if seen even with no brain cells is difficult to enjoy the absurdity that occurs. Tony Jaa is a talented man who knows how to fight and no doubt his fans will continue to see him regardless what the quality of the film is. However, Tony Jaa should be taking more risk and attempting something new because if not he’ll end up in the same place as Steven Seagal who to this day uses his same old tired formula.


Cinema-Maniac: Ong Bak 3 (2011) Review

After reviewing Ong Bak 3 and seeing how horrible is was, I decided to get the third entry out of the way. I regret watching this with my friend.

Ong Bak 3 picks up where Ong Bak 2 had left off. Tien is captured and almost beaten to death before he is saved and brought back to the Kana Khone villagers. There he is taught meditation and how to deal with his Karma, but very soon his arch rival returns challenging Tien for a final duel, and it’s boring one too. I saw this with one of my friends and he kept asking me what was going, I honestly had no idea myslef as no actual story is told until a hour in. The poorly written story from Ong Bak 2 made Ong Bak 3 even more baffling bad. Why Tony Jaa did you have to write a story that takes a minute to summarize and it takes you a whole hour and a half to tell it. That’s really awful if my summary is simply the whole movie with nothing interesting in between.

The fight scenes are well done, but there is even less. Why Tony Jaa was allowed to write is baffling because the one good fight scene in this movie doesn’t really happened, because somehow Tien rewinds times, and there’s explanation on how he did that. To be honest, I rooting for the villains to kill Tien just so this movie could be over, unfortunately Tien lives and makes us suffer the longer the movie continues.

Now since this was meant to be one movie, I will say it would have sucked even more. Ong Bak 2 had a terrible story, while Ong Bak 3 is a pointless sequel with no story. There some really baffling moments at the climax that will make you laugh like I did. For the nothingness that it’s worth avoid the Ong Bak sequels, stick to the first one.


Cinema-Maniac: Ong Bak 2 (2009) Review

It been a while since I reviewed a Martial Art film so I decided to watch Ong Bak 2 since i’m a big fan of the original movie. Now to be fair, it could have been better than the first one, but it suffers from poor story-telling.

This all I got from the story from Ong Bak 2, a young Thai boxer learns the skills and inner meaning of martial arts. Yup, that’s all I remember from the movie story-line. There’s no good character development for our hero or any of the main characters. The only good part about the story is that it gives you a reason to root for the good-guys, though it just your typical motives and doesn’t give you interesting villains. The movie also does a terrible job for making you care about any of the characters and there boring, it makes you wish they cut out the story parts of the movie and left in the violence, would have been better.

Now the choreography in the first Ong Bak is some of the most spectacular i’ve seen in any Martial Art movie and it was a letdown that the only really good action sequence is at the end of the movie. The good part about the final fight scene in this movie it that it’s about twelve minutes at best with Tony Jaa taking allot of pain, with no dialogue which makes the fight scene fast pace and pleasing to watch. Now this movie wasn’t entirely bad, I mean the cinematography was great (especially whenever you see a Elephant), the crew make good use of most of the location for action sequences, and the mindless violence though not as good as the original is still entertaining.

Ong Bak 2 is a sequel that suffers from a poorly written with great fight scenes that makes enduring the story aspect bearable. If you’re going still planning on watching this, just skip to the action scenes as there the only watchable part of this movie.


Cinema-Maniac: Kerd ma lui (Born to Fight) (2004) Review

I’ve seen many Action movies, both good and bad, but i’ve never seen anything like this movie.

A group of athletes helping a poor village must stop an evil tyrant and his men from terrorizing the village. One thing about this movie I think everybody will complain about is that the story is just a story in this movie. It never fully develops, the character development is barely passable, and doesn’t exactly add any emotional weight to the movie. Though the only thing good about the story is that it gives a solid motivation of the heroes to do there thing and save the day, but it doesn’t completely feels like it. The story really hurts this movie, it could have been better.

The action is entertaining, despite what the movie the title there’s actually a lack of actual fighting. It should have been called Born To Shoot since there is more shooting. While found the action in this movie in the slightly above average category which sucks because the last action scene has some amazing stunt-work. Considering the DVD case says from the creators of Ong Bak and The Protector I expected the same level of action, but it’s better than The Protector, but it’s not as good as Ong Bak, this fits in the middle of those two.

Born To Fight isn’t a bad thanks to the story-line giving our heroes a good purpose to fight the terrorists. As an action fan you’ll be disappointed as I was mainly because of the plot, if care for plot, the action won’t exactly satisfy you until the final action scene. All in all, it’s not a bad movie, but it fails to better than it should have.


Cinema-Maniac: Bangkok Adrenaline (2010) Review

Well, this movie sucked. I was looking forward to this after seeing Ong Bak, now after seeing this, i’m convince this is Thailand action movie at it worst.

The plot revolve around four backpackers, all played by assholes, arriving in Thailand to party and drink. A gambling game goes wrong and with their lives on the line they desperately decide to kidnap a billionaires daughter, with bad humor involve. Things go wrong when her ‘father’ doesn’t play ball, act professionally, and prefers to use the kidnapping to further his own interests. The story is bad from the beginning and it gets worst as the movie progress.

The action is disappointing and not fun to watch. The choreography is poorly done, of course you wouldn’t know by how poorly the action scenes are filmed. The action is slow and lack any excitement you would want from a Martial Art movie. As for the acting, same thing, poorly acted and bad humor for the whole movie. Yet despite this, it’s a watchable mess of a movie. Also, why are the Americans doing Martial Art in this movie, not to be racist, but the Americans doing Martial Art in this movie don’t look convincing and act horribly.

Bangkok Adrenaline is a watchable mess that got nothing right in execution. In a genre filled with so many great and memorable movies, Bangkok Adrenaline fails to standout above the competition.


Cinema-Maniac: Ong-Bak (Ong Bak: Muay Thai Warrior)(2005) Review

After reviewing several non martial art movies in the following days, I decided to watched Ong Bak because of it popularity and reputation. I was not disappointed and I got to see one of the best martial art movie ever made.

The story is simple, but effective. When the head of a statue sacred to a village is stolen, a young martial artist goes to the big city and finds himself taking on the underworld to retrieve it. The story may not get better, but it works with a great cast of characters that actually fit into this world.

The action sequences are some of the best ever filmed in a Martial movie. There should be enough action to entertain any action fan if you’re not into the story. It’s the complete package when it comes to this movie, good story and great action.

No doubt that Thailand action movies became popular after the release of this movie. Even though I feel Tony Jaa other movies haven’t captured the jaw dropping action he’s capable of, it’s no doubt that this movie is remain a classic and in the hearts of any Martial Art movie fan.


Cinema-Maniac: BKO: Bangkok Knockout (2010) Review

BKO: Bangkok Knockout is a Thailand action movie that would’ve put Thailand action movie on top of China action movies. Unfortunately great choreograph fights can’t make up for the terrible story and bad acting.

BKO: Bangkok Knockout doesn’t have much of a story, it’s simply a martial art team wins a tournament to go to Hollywood, but are kidnapped and have to fight for their lives in some building. That’s pretty much it, even the twists aren’t even worth noting or how the main villain gets away. The story is does not get any better or have any emotional value to it.

The action on the other hand is superb. Everyone of the action sequences are well done, though I found the climax a minor disappointment, are thrilling to watch. You won’t believe some of the crazy stunts that are in this movie. It’s great, unfortunately some of these actors can’t act. It’s sometime unbearable to watch this movie when no ones fighting on screen. It’s a shame that all the great action sequences in this movie have a poorly written story behind it. If you want to watch this, skip to the action because it’s the only good thing about this movie.

BKO: Bangkok Knockout is a Thailand martial art film with it only redeeming value being the action. What could’ve been one of the greatest martial art film is held back by a terrible story and bad acting.


Cinema-Maniac: The Protector (Tom yum goong) (Warrior King) (2006) Review

Tony Jaa debut in Ong-Bak was absolutely amazing bring a fresh new star in martial arts film and single handily made Thailand action film popular. Unfortunately, Jaa followup to Ong-Bak wasn’t as spectacular.

As with any critic I would give an overall sentence describing the overall story of the movie, but this movie is so bad in story telling there no redeeming value. I blame the editing of this movie which makes the American version of this movie flow uneasily and and most of the acting in this movies doesn’t help much.

Time to talk about the action, one word, average. Yeah that’s right, average mainly due the unspectacular choreography in this movie. Out of all the fight scenes in this movie, only one really stand out and unfortunately it’s a short one. One I personally enjoyed was when Tony Jaa fought against Nathan Jones a second which was entertaining and unbelievable how it was done. Unfortunately what ruin that fight scene was the other villains inference.

The Protector is a disappointing, uneasy, and poorly edited action movie.While it may have tons of fight scenes, whats makes a good action movie is a decent story (or better than average) and great action sequences to be fun and entertaining.