Picking up right where 2008's cliff-hanging Ong-Bak 2 left off, Tony Jaa is back in Ong-Bak 3 (องค์บาก 3) for another martial-arts rampage through ancient times, promising more fights, more opponents and more elephants.
Here's the plot:
The legend of Ong-Bak 3> begins after Tien (Tony Jaa) has lost his fighting skills and his beloved stepfather at the Garuda’s Wing cliff from the raid led by Jom Rachan (Saranyu Wonggrajang). Tien is brought back to life with the help from [childhood friends] Pim (Primrata Dechudom) as well as Mhen (Petchai Wongkamlao) and the Kana Khone villagers. Deep into the meditation taught by [the monk] Phra Bua (Nirutti Sirijanya), Tien finally is able to achieve [the martial-arts discipline of] Nathayut. His talents are put to the test again when his rivals including
the Golden-Armored King’s Guard (Supakorn ‘Tok’ Kijusuwan),the mysterious killers in black and Bhuti Sangkha (Dan Chupong) return for the final massive showdown.
More about the movie is explained in a recent Nation article. It's the second prequel to the gritty urban 2003 original that made Tony Jaa a cult martial-arts sensation.
Directed, written, produced and starring Tony Jaa, Ong-Bak 3 has been made with none of the fuss that attended Ong-Bak 2, which controversially became bogged down in financial disputes between Tony and his producers at Sahamongkol Film International. The problems stressed Tony out so much he walked off the set was said to have retreated to a meditation cave deep in a forest.
The production got back on track when Tony's long-time mentor and action choreographer Panna Rittikrai, who had initially been kept at arm's length, was brought in to co-direct.
Ong-Bak 3, by the looks of of the trailer, is all Tony all the time.
And it hasn't been without troubles, though, with Tony lamenting that two of his pet elephants died after succumbing to injuries sustained during the filming.
Behind-the-scenes photos reveal Dan Chupong gingerly touching his nose with crew surrounding him. Looks like took a hard strike from the business end of a foot or elbow. But injured actors are nothing new to the "no wires, no CGI" movies of Tony Jaa, and if this film follows in the tradition set down by Jackie Chan's movies and followed by Tony Jaa's and his sister streetfighter Jeeja, you'll get to see the injury outtake in an ending-credits montage.
It's rated 18+, the equivalent of a hard R rating in the U.S.
At the box office, it'll be a battle of the Tonys, with Ong-Bak 3 looking to topple Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark in Iron Man 2, which despite more than two dozen prime central Bangkok screens kept dark by closed malls and the red-shirt political protests, is one of the top-grossing films in Thailand this year, according to Box Office Mojo.
And I'm out the door to check it out.