Ong Bak 3 is a visually stunning movie. I won't bore you with the plot or story line, other than to say is it time for Tien to get revenge for the death of his father.
This is a movie of extremes. It flops in some places and in other places, it sores to heights never before seen in this genre. But what does work, is Tony Jaa's mixing and matching of mysticism, Buddhism, spiritualism, and kick ass kick boxing. That along with the stunning visualizations takes this movie way beyond the normal realm of a normal martial arts movie.
Tony Jaa as a director, is very interesting to say the least. He experiments with a non linear story line, and for the most part, it is a bit confusing. Jaa uses flash backs and dream sequences, and sometimes it falls flat, too.
On the other hand, Tony Jaa sets new standards for Thai movie making. Being a country boy from Surin, Tony demonstrates a true understanding of rural Thai culture, and it appears he deeply respects it. In fact, this movie is laced with subtle profundities, which for the most part, will high fly high over the head of the average kick boxing fan.
As a director, Tony takes many chances - some of it works well, and then again, some of it fails badly. Tony throws caution to the wind. He is bold and vibrant when it comes to casting - this works extremely well, giving this period piece a feel of authenticity. Even better, Jaa's old comic side kick from Ong Bag 1, plays a dim wit in this movie. He provides us with occasional lighthearted laughs.
And as expected, Tony is strong when it comes to fighting and weaponry. Ong Bak 3 is loaded down with jaw dropping stunts. So much so, you almost get used to it. And unexpectedly, Tony Jaa shows he is actually capable of acting. Even more so, Jaa has a romantic interest in the movie. A major plus for an otherwise lame story line. Too bad, character development is nonexistent in Ong Bak 3. I hope in the future, Tony Jaa, the director will learn to develop a strong story line and do character build up.
Ong Bak 3 is a balancing act of turmoil and peace, dark and light, and good and evil. There is very little gray here. Sometimes the build up doesn't climax as intense as you would like. But at the end of the day, there is only one Tony Jaa. He is awesome in so many ways, and is more than enough to carry any kick boxing movie. Even the jumbled story line cannot deter Ong Bag 3 from being a spicy hot mind boggling experience. When it works, it is poetry in motion. And when it doesn't, oh well, Tony will do a stunt or two to make you forgive the flaws.