Ong Bak 3
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ONG BAK 3 picks up where ONG BAK 2 concluded. 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.
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Lots of people have written here that the storylines do not connect, but that is only due to the fact that Thai, Chinese, and Japanese films don't spoon feed us the plot, they want us to think and reflect. We need to understand that we as American aren't as thoughtful as other cultures, I say that with sadness.
There is much to take away from these films, especially if you love martial arts.
The fight scenes are amazing, especially after the second act. I don't want to spoil the ending, just trust me, he will astound you as always.
For those of you unfamiliar with the story of how 2 Ong-Bak "prequels" got made, I'll give you the skinny. There was originally supposed to be only 1 movie, Ong-Bak 2. And this was Tony Jaa's first time directing. However, the inexperienced Tony Jaa ended up falling behind schedule and going over budget, and eventually just walked off the set, leaving the project at a standstill for months.
Sahamonkhol then came in and offered to give more money to the project. But in an effort to recoup its losses, they brought in much of the old team from the first "Ong-Bak" and "Tom Yum Goong" films, and also added a villainous character played by Dan Chupong (as mentioned earlier), as he was fresh off of his fame "Born to Fight" and "Dynamite Warrior." And they decided to make this entire "prequel" into 2 films.
In spite of not-so-good reviews by most fans, it worked. "Ong-Bak 2" ended on a cliffhanger, therefore making a viewing of Ong-Bak 3 necessary if you're curious about what happens to Tien (Tony Jaa).
I only recently learned of the name Tony Jaa, but in a moment, I was a fan. I have seen all 3 Ong Bak movies, and The Protector. I recommend The Protector if you liked Ong Bak 1 (they both have a few dumb/silly incidents and lots of action).
I rate the movies as follows:
1st place: Ong Bak 1 and The Protector (I didn't love how - for the most part - Ong Bak made the city people out to be bad, without morals, ruled by money and the rural people out to be good, giving, making risky decisions only for the sake of their God...and how naive Tien was. Ip Man (doesnt feature Jaa) was a great movie as well!
2nd: Ong Bak 3 (at the end of the movie, was it him thrusting that stick down that somehow caused lightning or was it "the Gods"? The magical/spiritual part at the end was a bit cool and enchanting, but also a bit of a turn off since I leave my movie-trance when something utterly impossible or stupid happens. Surprisingly, I found the crazy/mentally-ill guy pretty entertaining. Unlike another reviewer, I didnt feel too jaded by his recovery process. I felt he progressed at a decent enough pace for the movie and I'm sure that the person who said he was "whining" about his disability would have handled being beaten up, losing loved ones, and losing one of the main skills/things that made them feel valuable as a person - much better than he handled it).
3rd: Ong Bak 2 (why wasnt "The Beginning" Ong Bak 1?? lol Oh, and the jumping back and forward in time annoyed me a bit. I was also uncertain as to whether Ong Bak 2 incidents occurred prior to the stuff in 1..but I guess not. I think this is the one where he does the bird dance in front of the King. Am I the only one who thought, for just a second, that the dangling cloth at the end of the woman's dance was her leg? I was like "What's wrong with her foot??").
It seems that all of these movies have poor/scant character developement, so it's harder for me to really get into it, other than loving to watch him do Martial Arts. Make sure you all search hard before buying movies (not that I dont love Amazon)...you can find almost any title somewhere online for free, but sometimes without subtitles.
My son likes the third movie best of all three, and I have to admit that other than the scene where Jaa runs across the backs of moving elephants in "Ong Bak 2" I like 3 also. The elephant scene was just unbelievable and makes 2 stand out. Tony Jaa is excellent at what he does, and including all types of martial arts from different Eastern countries is very interesting as well. The Special Features included have a lot of good information in them.