‘Ong Bak 2: The Beginning’ Review

Published 6 years ago by , Updated October 28th, 2009 at 12:27 am,

Short version: Ong Bak 2: The Beginning isn’t for everyone, but for action junkies, it provides exactly what you’d expect.

ong bak 2 the beginning header Ong Bak 2: The Beginning Review
Screen Rant’s Ross Miller reviews Ong Bak 2

The first Ong Bak (subtitled Muay Thai Warrior) I found to be quite entertaining, with some seriously kick-ass fight sequences, consisting of some often jaw-dropping choreography and stunts. Unfortunately, there were also some not-so-great aspects, notably the poor acting and thin storyline. But overall there was enough there to make it worthwhile, and it was pretty much inevitable that another movie would follow.

It’s no surprise to find that Ong Bak 2, or Ong Bak 2: The Beginning, is practically more of the same, but it manages to get rid of (or at least better mask) the bad elements, while subsequently improving on the fight sequences (if you can believe it).

Ong Bak 2 is actually a prequel to Ong Bak, taking place in ancient Thailand as opposed to modern-day Thailand. However, what wasn’t entirely clear was how the sequel links to the first one, since it takes place centuries prior (unless Tony Jaa’s character is immortal, I can’t see how it’s the same guy in both – their names are different, for one thing). Confusion aside, the new (or old) setting is a nice change-up from what we saw in the first movie, perhaps even enhancing the awe-inspiring fighting in a strange way.

The plot follows Tien (Jaa), the son of a Lord murdered in Thailand in the late 15th century. After resisting ruthless slave traders and just moments from death, Tien is rescued by a renowned warrior who takes him under his wing and trains him in martial arts, including the heavy use of weapons. He eventually grows up and into “one of the most dangerous men alive.” Tien goes on to track down and exact vengeance on the men who enslaved him as a child, as well as getting revenge on the warlord who killed his father.

I think Ong Bak 2 is the type of movie you have to judge on the grounds of what it’s attempting to do, and if it achieved that goal or not. And I can say that it certainly does achieve its goals. The movie zips along at a fairly quick pace, linking one amazing fight scene to another, with only a few sags in the narrative here and there but nothing too detrimental to the film as a whole.

ong bak 2 the beginning still Ong Bak 2: The Beginning Review

The fight scenes are often unbelievably well executed and will be impressive (I imagine) to even the most avid action movie goer. Thank the talents of star and director, Tony Jaa; he punched and kicked his way onto the cinematic radar with the first Ong Bak, defying gravity, kicking the asses of more bad guys than can possibly be counted, while bringing a fresh style to the martial arts genre. The fact that he had directorial control this time around definitely shows on-screen: the action scenes seem to flow a lot better than they did in the first film, not exactly entering into the realm of the believable (the more ridiculous, the better, I say!), but somehow feeling as such within the context of the film itself.

For instance, there’s a scene where Tien uses an elephant – which he’s managed to “tame” – when battling just one of the many bands of bad guys he runs into. He uses the elephant to spring off and swing on in order to pull off a special type of fly-kick, and even uses the elephant’s tusks to knock out his foes. Sounds a bit out there, right? Well in principle it is, but Jaa makes it work. Go figure.

As I said, even though you have to judge this type of film for what it’s trying to do, that still doesn’t stop some poorly handled aspects from somewhat weighing it down. The story feels fairly generic, or at least predictable – young boy’s father is killed, he gets taken in by a warrior, trains to be an amazing fighter, and goes out to avenge said father. The dialogue – the little there is of it – is very by-the-book (sometimes ultra-cheesy) and the acting (as far as I could tell since I don’t speak Thai) was sub-par at best.

But I imagine if you’re thinking about checking out Ong Bak 2, acting, script or story will be the furthest thing from your mind. Chances are you’re looking for more of the kick-ass fight sequences we saw in the first Ong Bak (as well as the similar The Protector) and I’m happy to say the film delivers on that in absolute spades.

Our Rating:

3 out of 5

Get our free email alerts on the topics and author of this article:

23 Comments - Comments are closed.

  1. i just heard of this movies about a month and a half ago
    i got the first one from netflix and i have to admit that i liked it a lot

    if this movie stepped it up then its definetly worth checking out in my books

  2. although the twist in the end is predictable i liked this heaps, its better then the first one because the sotryline is somewhat “better” than the 1st, one thing i didnt get was the ending
    SPOILER !!!!!
    does he die or not, and what are the final words before the movie finishes? my subtitles where full proper translations

  3. I actually wasn’t super impressed with the fight scenes in this one.
    None of it really blew me away.
    I re-watched part of The Protector a while back and the action in that one still impresses the heck outta me, but Ong Bak 2 seemed lacking in that “Holy &*%$ did he just do that??” factor for me.

  4. A real disapointment for me, as I am a huge fan of Ong Bak and Tom Yum Goong.

    My prediction was that the setting, the past, would be a problem as well as the “fighting styles” he decided to use throughout the movie.

    No “wow” moments indeed. There were so many of those in Ong Bak and especially Tom Yum Goong, because the setting was modern, a time and place everyone can relate too.

    “Hey, wouldn’t it be cool if he jumped off a roof of a skyscraper towards a helicopter, or did a running backlip off a glass window while a 4×4 is right under him” = HELL YES

    “Hey, wouldn’t it be cool if he ran on elephants, or jumped off a roof of a 1 story shed” = sure, I guess

    Tony Jaa originally brought back something…original. Muay Thai and acrobatics mixed together and looked amazing on screen and looked like they actually worked.

    The thing that completely turned me off to the movie is him fighting one guy while surrounded by a bunch of other bad guys who are just standing there, spinning their weapons. It is an old martial arts movie trick…fight them one by one while others are pretending that they’re doing something…it looks DUMB. It’s also LAZY choreography.

    One of the reasons I like (old) Jackie Chan so much, he had 2-3-5 guys attacking him at the same time.

    I’m ranting, but this is a huge bummer for a martial arts movie fan and a Tony Jaa fan.

  5. “One of the reasons I like (old) Jackie Chan so much, he had 2-3-5 guys attacking him at the same time.”

    Legend of Drunken Master = Greatest Martial Arts film EVER!!!
    IMO :)

  6. INK

    It’s one of my favorites for sure. The fight scenes in Drunken Master 2 are truly epic and have not been matched to this day.

  7. I saw this on import dvd a few months back. Id give it 2.5 at the most just because I felt it was lacking in story and fight scenes as well. The pit scene was probably the best thing about the flick. It’s to see jaa show his skill in other martial arts, but I feel he should of just stuck with Muay Thai or baron or whatever people want to debate about what style he is actually doing. His Drunken boxing was TERRIBLE in this flick. Ong -bak and Tom Yung Goong (aka the Protector) are better flicks.

  8. The sad part is that it takes him YEARS to make a movie. He’s in his 30s already and not getting any younger. I think it took him like 2-3 years to make this movie. At one point he even took a break in the middle of production and went to meditate in the jungle for a couple of months. Once he looses his physical attributes I just don’t see him having that much success.

    Look at what happened to Jackie Chan. His movies just suck now and his personal life is in shambles…his public drinking, known affairs and controversial quotes have really brought down his reputation in China. Not saying this will happen to Jaa.

  9. @ogb

    Maybe he’ll move into directing or at the very least fight choreography. This movie might have just given him a taste of directorial power! :)

  10. @ogb,

    I’m surprised to hear a martial arts action fan such as yourself be disappointed by what Ong Bak 2 delivered. I agree that it had less spectacle than the first (as you say – wow moments where you say “How the hell did he actually do that?!”) but the fight sequences were so well put together, so relentless (the ultra-loud punching/kicking noises were a nice touch) and thoroughly entertaining IMO.

  11. Tony Ja had a nervous breakdown during the making of this film and ran off to live in a cave (no bullsh*t!!) Much of it was actually ghost directed by the director, and Tony Ja’s, mentor from the first film

    Still waiting to be in the right frame of mind to watch this. I’ve had the disk for months.

  12. ogb you are full of sh*!
    That is all I have to say.

    Tony Jaa lived in a cave!??LOL!

    Anyway man…true martial arts fans like myself will be or were blown away by this movie!

    He actually portrayed the true form of Druken Crane/Boxing. Because actually druken boxing, you have to be drunk to fight, hence the damn name “Druken”. Actors who protrayed the MA of Druken Boxing just acts like they are drunk but fight like that. But that is COMPLETELY wrong! You have to be drunk in other to use drunken boxing. Even Jet Li protrayed it in Wong Fei Hong Once Upon in China. Was it n0 3 or 2? The problem was he drank 2 bows of wine and instantly got drunk which wasn’t realistic.

    The cinematography for this movie was SICK! Best part was where Tony knee elbowed the thug who was slapping that slave woman. And the camera dropped down from the sky and zoomed at them. And Tony got up and looked up the sky….that was just BADASS!

    I love the slow motions all the time! Especially the dancing with the king+girl+tony jaa. The king’s facial expression with the music:D

    But he didn’t portrayed the form of Snake fist, I didn’t know if he was fighting with a Monkey Style or Snake fist.

    Sound effects was farking sick! Music for the movie was awesome. Towards the end, it felt like a game.

  13. Xino

    I don’t know what your problem is but you just dug your own grave with that last post.

    First off, I expressed my opinion. How does that make me “full of sh*t”? I explained why I did not like the movie and some of my points have already been reaffirmed by others. There’s a reason Ong Bak 2 is not rated as highly, in general, as Ong Bak or Tom Yum Goong.

    Second of all, I never said he lived in a cave. I said jungle. Please read and try to comprehend what I was saying before you go on insulting me.

    And what makes you a “true” martial arts fan? That is one of the most subjective statements you could’ve made. I’ve been watching martial arts movies since I was a child, I practice Muay Thai, Jiu Jitsu, Wrestling and Boxing almost every day, I follow careers of up and coming martial artists and stuntmen, I watch every fight I can get my hands on be it boxing, K-1, MMA, etc. So yeah, I guess my dedication to martial arts and martial arts movies is questionable right?

  14. The part about in lived in a cave, I was referring to what Lord Garth said.

    I dug my own grave? lol you sound like you are gonna kill me:P

    My comment was made on your second comment about Tony taking years to make a movie and he’s 33. Give him a freaking break. You think it’s easy to make a movie? Ever considered thinking that movies that take longer to make are always successful.

    This movie was sick to me and other fans! Tony Jaa found the directing stressful so he took a time off, in the end the movie was sick…it was just that it wasn’t finished. Look at Jet Li’s first directed/actor movie, Born to Defend. The movie was a failure to so many people, but to me I still liked the movie.

    And to comment on your thought about the movie.
    Tony Jaa decided to use different martial arts in this movie, I don’t even think you noticed them. So I have no idea the wow effect you are looking for, because the whole wow effect was him using all those MA. I presume you didn’t find a wow when he used the staff and twisted it all over his head, chest and neck. Or how he used the sickle chain/ rope. Or even how he used Wing Chung/Wushu to blast a guy out of his feet onto the air.

    The thing why people were disappointed by this movie is because people like you make Tony Jaa look like a fun show, like a bear who can bounce ball with his nose while standing or whale that perform show.
    No…Tony Jaa is not a fun show, he’s a martial arts actor!

    Reason why Ong Bak was a hit was because Tony portrayed the true way of Muai Thai. Every time I think of Martial Arts, I never think maui thai is a good arts even though I see it in lots of movies and games. When I finally saw Ong Bak…Mauy Thai is a beastly deadly art!

    Second, what were you expecting from the movie again? Tony using Mauy Thai? because he did use it in the movie. Or were you looking for moves that are stunning?

    And the part you were talking about guys standing and watching Tony kick butt. You have to understand the situation, because those guys didn’t know him, and don’t want to get their ass kicked. Guess you are good in understanding parts whereas bad guys stand back and watch how the hero kicks ass. And Tony did beat 3/4 guys, look at the 20mins fight scene ending.

    And Jackie Chan beating up 3-4 mens at once my ASSS! All Jackie Chan ever does is use the environment and run away all the time! And Jet Li is better than Jackie Chan, you should know this!

    Like I said before, if you are a true fan of martial arts, you’ll love this movie. Because I was seriously blown away by this movie, in fact I couldn’t handle the fight scenes as I wanted Tony to stop, especially at the 20min end fight scene.

    The reason why you were disappointed is because you think Tony is a fun show that loves showing off moves in movies. This is exactly the same thing people praise Jackie Chan for all his stunt. They want him to keep pulling off stunts that cost him is live and they will praise him for it, and over shadow Jet Li instead.

  15. “dug your own grave” was referring to you making yourself look stupid by throwing around incoherent insults at others.

    As far as taking 3 years, that’s a lot for a martial arts movie. It’s not like this movie had some kind of amazing cast, exotic shooting locations, a great story, etc. It was a martial arts flick. Taking 3 years to make such a movie is out of the ordinary by the movie industry standards.

    Your assumptions about what I noticed are also idiotic. For one, the trailer EXPLAINED AND MADE IT CLEAR THAT HE IS USING DIFFERENT MARTIAL ARTS!!! There were definitely less “big stunts” in Ong Bak 2 then Ong Bak/ Tom Yum Goong. That’s a fact.

    And Ong Bak did not portray the classic Muay Thai. Please go take a Muay Thai class and then tell me you learned the same thing you saw in this movie. Again, I’ve been doing Muay Thai for a number of years and had instructors from Thailand. Tony Jaa is a combination of Muay Thai and acrobatics. He said so himself.

    “You have to understand the situation, because those guys didn’t know him, and don’t want to get their ass kicked.” – HAHAHAHA
    Okay, so your logic is, they don’t know him, so they wait for one of their friends to get his ass kicked, then another one, then they go in, all to get their ass kicked. Do you not understand that if you “jump” someone, it doesn’t matter how strong or skilled you are, you’ll loose. I’m going to assume you’ve never been in a real fight because your mentality is just counter-logical.

    Jackie Chan uses the environment to beat up a bunch of guys at the SAME TIME while Jet Li and Tony Jaa in Ong Bak 2 go one on one with the other guys standing around, HOW HORRIBLE!!! Listen, I personally like Jackie Chan’s and Tony Jaa’s martial arts because they are REALISTIC and they preform most of the stunts themselves. I could care less about Jet Li’s “wire fu”. I’m not into martial arts movies where guys fly around 3 stories to kick someone, or dance on water. Not my thing. Jet Li did have a few movies where he used no wires and had amazing fight scenes, but he practices Wushu, which is a performance martial arts…as in Wushu competitions are not fights, they’re the same as a gymnastics routine. It is a non contact martial art.

    And stop telling me why I like Tony Jaa or Jackie Chan. You don’t know me.

  16. And I’m sure you know how to make movies and how long it takes…right????

    And the movie didn’t take 3 years to make, just because you counted the year Tom Yum Goong was released which was 2005 and you suggested that production started 2005. I guess the movie makers are making movies for you right? So no sleep or holiday for them, but they make movies for you….Ong Bak 2 started production Oct 2006. So it took them 2 years to make!

    Big Stunts? As in Tony Jaa doing his own moves/stunts all himself? Once again, Tony Jaa is now a fun show, he’s a human being film actor Martial Arts! He doesn’t need the No Wire, CGI or Stunts to become famous. You want him to put his life at risk just to entertain you!?

    I didn’t say Ong Bak portrayed classic Mauy Thai, I said he showed it the way it’s meant to be used. Don’t put words in my mouth, and second stop farking showing off just because you studied Maui Thai. Because I 100% don’t see what it will benefit you in life (try not to get yourself in trouble). It’s exactly the same thing with body builders, they are so big and strong, but who can they help with their strength!??? NO ONE, so stop this “I’ve experience or learn this and that”. Don’t you think I can learn the same sh* you have by watching movies and documentaries or reading books?
    I mean if you have learned Mauy Thai, you use it as your backup knowledge, you don’t use it for boasting. Like if I say, you can’t elbow in Maui Thai, then you say “I’ve studied Maui Thai, and yes you can elbow, it’s part of Maui Thai style”.

    And what will you do when you want to jump someone eh? when will you jump someone? I guess you too haven’t being in a real fight. I bet you will try and jump on someone’s balls while he’s flying kicking…HAHAHAHHAHAHAH

    Jackie Chan using the environment to beat up bad guys= COWARD! What’s the point of learning martial arts when you’ll use the environment to beat up bad guys??? I mean there are lots of moves and styles to use for enemies surrounding you. And Jet Li and Tony don’t fight bad guys while others stand around. Fearless, Fist of Legend, Tom Yum Goong, Ong Bak 2.

    So you like Jackie Chan/Tony Jaa because they are fun show to you right? They put their lives at risk just to entertain you, for what? To show that they are real martial arts???? How retarded. Everything filming on camera is FAKE! Even Bruce Lee as well, he may be strong but during filming, he acts! Acting isn’t real! Don’t get it twisted! So when you are filming a martial arts movie, you either make it real or stylish. Jet li makes his own movies stylish, that is why real martial arts love Jet Li over Jackie Chan. And people like you who watch martial arts for entertainment love Jackie Chan over Jet Li because he’s a fun show for you and puts his life at risk just to entertain you.

  17. Guys, guys – step back and take a breath, would ya? No need to get so fired up. Relax.


  18. XINO

    How old are you? Your lack of intelligence, lack of basic grammar and the ongoing use of “farking” and “sick” lead me to believe you’re still in middle school. Not sure why I’m arguing with you sense everything is flying right past your head.

    First off, pre production on Ong Bak 2 started before Tom Yum Goong was even completed. Do some research, there’s articles online about the script being worked on during the post production of Tom Yum Goong.

    Yes, someone doing stunts on their own is ENTERTAINING! Why did Jackie Chan get famous? I did not say he has to do it.

    You said “true way of Muay Thai”. No one is putting words in your mouth. You said it, stop back peddling.

    And I’m not trying to show off. If you read my post, I present the fact that I practice Muay Thai and other martial arts to back up my points. I know what I’m talking about. Whereas you have nothing to base your points on other than movies that you’ve seen.

    As far as martial arts being useless, that’s just idiotic. So being in shape, healthy, learning respect and other cultures, learning discipline, etc. is all useless huh? Sorry bud, but you’re dead wrong. Bodybuilders being strong does not help them in their every day life? Again, a really dumb statement…

    No you can’t learn the same “sh*t”…wow. Go to a Muay Thai class after reading some books and try to pull off a proper kick. Seriously how dumb are you to think you can learn martial arts from books and movies?

    Again, your adolescent brain cannot comprehend what I’m saying. When ppl jump you, doesn’t matter what skills or strength you have, you’ll get beat up. Why didn’t the guys jump Jaa in Ong Bak 2? It’s idiotic for them to stand around and not engage. How can you not understand that?

    HAHAHA someone’s a coward for using the environment to fight for their life? Right. You keyboard warriors are so tough saying stuff like this while sitting behind your computer.

    Yes, movies are supposed to be entertaining. “Everything in movies is fake”…wow, just wow

    I don’t know why I’m arguing with you. We’re on completely different levels.

  19. So we are moving on to the age thing right? as I haven’t heard that trash before countless times, and I know idiots like you are the ones that uses it because you are forum dwellers and that is your best option to insult. Please come again sore loser.
    Since we are moving on to the age, it’s best to call me 12 years old since that is the random number losers always choose.

    WTF? Just because the script was being made during Tom Yum Goong doesn’t mean its started that time, are you that retarded. 2 people are writing a script for Spiderman 4 right now, so does that mean Spiderman 4 started production 2009!?? Filming begins 2010, so Ong Bak 2 filming started oct 2006!

    If Jackie Chan stops doing his own stunts, people’s reaction will be the same thing with Ong Bak 2, “nothing original”. Enough said!

    OK then mr smart ass sucker, what is a true way of muay thai. Elaborate for us, since you are the BIG man who learnt Maui Thai. But you can’t use it to kick my ass online right? RIGGHHHHTTTT Son? Because Maui Thai is all about kicks n elbows!

    You mentioned Maui Thai to back up your words? and what argument were you talking about? You only mentioned it to freaking show off and boast!

    OGB stands for an idiot because how do you think most people learn martial arts in the first place? Through books you dumb idiot. Does a mentor needs to teach you how to be a fighter in order to become a fighter? Do witches need to be taught by a master witch how to perform magic or do women need an instructor to teach them how to defend themselves? NO You ass whipe! Witches can learn magic by reading witch craft books, women can learn defence by reading defensive books. Hence you even see the defensive method online, mini booklet etc. ENOUGH SAID. Just because you were thought Maui Thai doesn’t mean you can only know it through an instructor!

    Basically we are both wrong about people jumping on you. First of all, it’s unrealistic if people stand back watching their fellow man get beat up. Again, you will stand back if he’s using a weapon. GET IT? Guess you were so thick on that! It’s exactly the same scene with Oong Bak, when Humalemae had the big knife and you see those thugs back off. Since you’ve only developed half a brain, you’ll still try and jump on someone’s balls who is holding a knife.
    Second, if many people jump on 1 guy, there is a 0 possibility that, that 1 guy will win! So if Tony Jaa manages to beat 10 guys all over him, it’s fake! Not realistic. So once again, we are both wrong! Men standing back watching their fellow men get their ass kicked is fake, same thing with 1 man beating up 10 guys at once is fake.

    I know you got your ass handed to you multiple times so you learnt muai thai. Still you get your ass beaten up by multiple guys, so you want to see how Tony Jaa does it by beating up 5 guys all over him so you too can learn from it. LOL!

    Keyboard warriors!? I could say the same thing about you Keyboard Hero.

    I hate it when idiot says “wow…just wow”. Because I’ve seen it countless times and it’s annoying!

    Now…GTFO of the internet showoff!

  20. Gold, pure gold.

    Vic, not sure why you’re letting this guy spew insults and hatred but I think it’s time to close this thread.

    I’m an idiot for trying to reason with you Xino. You’re beyond reason. Proof you ask? Please see below.

    This is my last post.

    “mr smart ass sucker”

    “who learnt Maui Thai”


    “OGB stands for an idiot”

    “NO You ass whipe”

    “Witches can learn magic by reading witch craft books”

    “Oong Bak”

    “GTFO of the internet showoff”

    “Since you’ve only developed half a brain”

  21. This is also my last post.

    Ong Bak 2 was a sick ass movie!
    Cinematography was top notch, love the awesome slow mo. Best part was the dance scene with the King looking down at the girl:) Don’t forget the knee+elbow on that thug that dropped down on Tony and the camera dropped down zooming to Tony Jaa while he got up and looked up in the sky. MY GOD, that is badass!

    Fight scene were insane! 3 sectional staff, sickly chain/rope. Insane martial arts- wushu, snake fist/monkey, drunken fist, wing chun etc

    Ogb, go to the fun show if you want to enjoy martial artists doing fun stuff to entertain you.

    Ong Bak 2 is a master piece martial arts movie. Better than Fist of Legend. When I say better than Fist of Legend, you should know the stuff I’m talking about! That movie was Jet Li’s best movie next to Fearless.

    This sucker ogb have no idea what he’s talking about nor doesn’t know sh* about action martial arts movies. But would rather watch a martial artist run away from bad guys, use the environment to fight and become a fun show. (Jackie Chan). LOL

  22. This is the last comment on this post. I’ve had it with you guys coming in here and turning this into a personal little war.

    I’m about to shut down another thread for the same reason.