Let me be blunt: Ong Bak 2 is an incoherent mess with a narrative that could be politely described as batshit confusing. Save for the title and the style of fighting, this film has nothing whatsoever to do with the first film (it takes places, weirdly, some 600 years before the first one).
There were also widespread reports of trouble on set, with Tony walking out to the jungle for weeks at a time, forcing one of the production crew to step in and co-direct to ensure the film was made.
Has any of this detracted from the film? HELL NO.
This is a silly, almost cartoonish chop socky movie. We see training montages (complete with a large variety of weaponry), we’ve got hooded bad buys and grand set pieces for action. And we’ve got Jaa bouncing from baddie to baddie, all pointy elbows and knees, crunching his foes with wild abandon.
When the film devolves into a long-lens shot of Jaa running on top of a herd of elephants, hopping from head to head, we know we’re in for a particular type of ride, (apparently, you can train a trunk’d beast by smacking the hell out of its cranium). The preposterous pachydermal pugilism doesn’t end there, as a full fight is staged atop what I can only assume/hope was a trained and/or drugged beast. This is a film where a man, lying across the horns of a giant beast, has a person jump from the top of the head, into his gut, only to land full on the ground in a heap of crunching pain.
What the hell else would you want from a closing film for this year’s fest but awesome, stupid, incoherent fun.