In honor of the release of teaser posters for Tony Jaa's Ong-Bak 2, if indeed that's what it will really be called when it is released, I started my first poll here on the Thai Film Journal. It asked the question: "Does it matter if Tony Jaa's films have good scripts?" Here are the results:
- Who cares! I'm just watching for the action - 0%
- A good script is not crucial, but it helps - 47%
- Absolutely. The action must be backed up by a good script in order to hold my interest - 30%
- Tony needs a good script if he's ever going to be taken seriously - 21%
Twenty-three people voted, and nearly half of them felt "a good script is not crucial, but it helps." The third and fourth answers were a little stronger and to the point. I guess I am not surprised by the zero percent on the "who cares!" answer. Anyone who would select that answer doesn't care and isn't reading blogs like this. They are just watching movies, and fast forwarding and rewinding through the action scenes. Nothing wrong with that.
While I feel that a good script isn't crucial, but helps, in Tony's case, there's going to come a time when he needs a good script in order to be taken seriously, if that's what he wants, or else he is going to be consigned to the ranks of B-movie action-film stars, rather than A-list, where just by his physical ability and passion for martial arts he clearly belongs.
I guess I'm thinking about Hong Kong directors like Johnny To (Exiled), Wilson Yip (Sha Po Lang, Flash Point) or Soi Cheang (Dog Bite Dog), just for starters, who put out some action-packed films that have excellent stories. Yes, I will watch the films for the action, but stories are ultimately what hold my interest and keep me from reaching for that fast-forward button.
There may be more to Tony Jaa than meets the eye, as he takes the director's chair on Ong-Bak 2. Should he prove a capable director, he will be a true force to be reckoned with in the realm of action cinema.