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Ong Bak 3

Year: 2010
Production Co: Iyara Films
Director: Tony Jaa
Producer: Tony Jaa
Writer: Tony Jaa
Cast: Tony Jaa

As the director, writer, producer and star, it seems Tony Jaa has too much power. Just like someone needed to tell George Lucas people would hate the floppy eared frog-thing with the stupid voice he had planned, someone needed to sit Tony down and calmly tell him that as interesting as he finds Buddhist culture and the themes of healing, people are watching his movies to see him kick the shit out of bad guys, not dance in the jungle with elephants and commune with his ancestors.

Apparently this film carries on from the end of Ong Bak 2, but since that was set in contemporary Sydney and this seems to be in ancient Thailand I can't see how. Anyway, an evil warlord captures the hero (Jaa) and orders him badly beaten and then executed.

Some far off monarch decrees that he be returned to his village in the nick of time and the priests, their prayers and the Buddha statue they carve to appease the gods bring him back to life so he can start to heal his broken body and find peace in himself, etc.

While he's doing so, the warlord seeks out a hissing demon ghoul guy to consolidate his power, but instead the demonic monster dude topples the warlord and takes his place.

Apart from the fight at the beginning where the hero fights back before being overpowered and the climatic showdown with the hissing guy, there's no fighting. It's all Tony solemnly looking over the forest, praying, dancing, stretching and doing so much nothing you'll be tempted to turn it off.

When the big fight finally comes it's worth waiting for, but you could have gone straight there and left the rest out. When it comes to martial arts, Jaa just doesn't realise his movies are like porn – you're only watching them for the action and the plot is only really there to fast forward through.

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