Saturday, March 19, 2011

Counting Crows

Ong Bak introduced Tony Jaa, an incredibly skilled Thai martial artist, to the world. In Ong Bak 2: This Time it's Historial, Tony Jaa shares the director's chair, and they go back to an early incarnation of his Ong Bak character. He is tortured to death at the end, with the promise that he will be reincarnated in time for the first movie. So what will happen in Ong Bak 3: The Ong Bakening?

To start with, more killing of Tony Jaa. They pick up right where Ong Bak 2 ended, and spend about 20 minutes doing harm to him, breaking every bone in his body, etc. Then he gets saved at the last minute, and is whisked off to a small village to recuperate.

Meanwhile, the evil king who was torturing him is having problems with someone eviler than him. A goth, tattooed crow-demon type is haunting his dreams, and daytimes too. Now, I've never seen any of the Crow movies, because Brandon Lee died making the first one - too creepy. But even I said, "The Crow" when he showed up.

So King and Crow fight while Jaa regains his physical and mental strength. As excruciating as the torture was, the rehabilitation was almost more so. I guess these days, there are plenty of chances to witness the process of a broken warrior being rehabilitated. Jaa presents the process from a Buddhist perspective.

Then, when Jaa must fight the Crow, he takes a Buddhist path there, as well. Well, kind of Buddhist - as peaceloving as possible when taking on an army single-handed. But his fighting style has a rhythmic flow to it - like Aikido. Thai classic dance also plays a role in this movie, like in Ong Bak 2.

Jaa's movie all seem to feature a strong spiritual component, but I felt it much more strongly in this one. It appears that Jaa did as well, since he became a Buddhist monk when this was done. After the emotional workout this film put us through, I feel like I could use a little time in meditation too.

In conclusion, Jaa's reportedly out of the monastery. I look forward to his next movie.

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