Thursday, October 22, 2009

Tony Jaa over the top

Just to be clear, Ong Bak 2, takes place 500 years before Ong Bak 1 and it starts with Jaa slapping an elephant in the brain so hard that an entire herd of them bow down before his might. That's the kind of awesome he's selling. By the time we hit the half-hour mark he's fought a samurai, wrestled a crocodile, and killed a vampire. Also: elephant surfing. ...

Jaa shot the majority of this movie himself, and it's staggering to see just how much crazy is inside his head. ... The action, however, will cause the scales to fall from your eyes. Nourished on anemic action sequences full of shaky-cams, rapid-fire editing, and quick cutaways, American audiences are not prepared for Jaa's 20-minute essays on human bodies causing massive trauma, filmed in long shots and long takes that rule out camera trickery. ...

While many actors get a stunt double, Jaa is the only actor I know to have a smiling double, Natdanai Kongthong, who plays the young Jaa for a few brief, refreshing minutes.
--Grady Hendrix, Slate, on turning the action dial to 11

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