The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Magnolia - 2008
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 98 minutes
Genre: Martial arts/Action
Disc Format: BD-50
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Audio Format(s): English/Thai DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Tony Jaa, Sorapong Chatree, Sarunyu Wongkrajang, Pattama Panthung
Directed by: Tony Jaa & Panna Rittikrai
Music by: Banana Record
Written by: Ek Iemchuen
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: February 2, 2010
"Warrior. Conqueror. Legend"
Tony Jaa, the martial arts master, stars in this epic tale of revenge set hundreds of years in the past. This prequel to Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior takes Jaa's skills to the next level, showcasing him as a master of a wide range of martial arts styles.
Martial arts superstar Tony Jaa returns with ONG BAK 2: THE BEGINNING, an epic tale of revenge set hundreds of years in the past. An orphan boy raised by bandits is trained to be a killer and prophesized to be the conqueror of an empire. Trained in countless styles of weaponry and martial arts, he is a one-man-army hell bent on avenging the murder of his parents. Thematically speaking this is a story of love, greed, anger, misguidance, desire, and virtue. Tien (Jaa) represents people who never have a chance to experience both sides of life and only know sorrow. The story his devotion to learn all kinds of martial arts to become the best fighter in order to exact revenge but eventually leads to an awakening. Featuring a huge cast and hordes of elephants, ONG BAK 2: THE BEGINNING takes Jaa’s skills to the next level, showcasing him as a master of a wide range of martial arts styles as he flies through the air, defying the laws of gravity as he performs his own jaw-dropping stunts without the aids of wires or special effects.
I wouldn’t qualify myself as a martial arts film fan per se, but as a movie lover I appreciate them. I never heard of Tony Jaa but I must say that I found him to be amazing as a martial artist. I didn’t see the original Ong Bak film but that isn’t a prerequisite to understanding or enjoying this prequel. The story is one dimensional and the characters underdeveloped but I didn’t see that as a detrimental shortcoming. What the plot lacks in depth the film more than makes up for with its action based sequences which dictate the pace. The fight scense are extended (sometimes to an almost fatiguing level), masterfully choreographed and involving in their complexity. I was amazed to learn that the cast not only performed their own stunts but there was no computer generated images used in the process. The finale is a blitzkrieg of martial artistry with an almost interminable frenetic tempo. Tony Jaa is an amazing performer and I appreciate his prowess and dedication to his craft. Despite Ong Bak 2: The beginning’s shallow plot and seemingly higher thematic aspirations I found it to be an invigorating watch that delivered where it counted, in the action department.
The rating is for sequences of violence.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Ong Bak 2: The beginning comes to Blu-ray Disc from Magnolia featuring 1080p VC-1 encoded video that has an average bitrate of 18 mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 2.6 mbps.
This high definition video presentation had a distinctive visual aesthetic that featured a reserved chromatic palette which made use of sepia tones and muted primaries. This applied predominantly to interior and darker sequences. The flashback sequences made use of bolder colors with deeper saturation. Contrast and brightness were nicely balanced and blacks were deep and punchy. Flesh tones were on the bland side but retained enough complexional variety to avoid appearing lifeless. This was related to the filtering applied and not to the encoding. Close ups offered appreciable texture with excellent delineation and subtle refinement. Wide angle shots had excellent depth, with sharp resolute image quality that was rarely questionable. Film grain is prevalent and gave the presentation a filmic aesthetic. I didn’t notice any signs of compression or video related artifacts.
The high resolution DTS-HD MA audio is of reference quality and delivers the soundtrack’s elements with aplomb. The higher fidelity inherent in this lossless sound mix was readily apparent. I utilized the Thai DTS-HD MA track during my evaluation rather than the dubbed English version. Dynamics range is extended which rendered the film’s action based sequences with definitive impact and energy. Dialogue is presented with clear intonation, full bodied texture, and excellent room penetration. The sounds of breaking skin on skin contact, swirling objects and clashing swords were reproduced with sparkling clarity. Imaging was excellent as sounds were integrated with precision in an active surround mix that intelligently utilizes the entire system. During the fight sequences the listening position becomes immersed in a mixture of spatial and localizable sound effects that place you within the heart of the action. Low frequency detail is clean, well articulated and authoritative as all points of contact seem to resonate with palpable bass impact. This isn’t a bombastic or overtly aggressive soundtrack but it’s blend of intricate detail and room filling dynamics make it a first rate home theater experience.
* CIH users should note that the english subtitles appear within the picture area.*
- Behind the scenes:
- capturing a warrior – 5 minutes
- The kingdom – 6 minutes
- The community – 6 minutes
- Making of featurettes:
- The story and character of an epic – 7 minutes
- Revealing the majesty – 6 minutes
- Ong Bak 2: The art of war – 7 minutes
- Interviews with the cast and crew (including co-director/actor Tony Jaa) – 8 segments
- Ong Bak 2 – Alternate cut
- Ong Bak 3 – exclusive footage
- (HD) HDNET: A look at Ong Bak 2
- Ong Bak 2 trailers – International & U.S
- BD-Live enabled
Ong Bak 2: The beginning represents my introduction to both Tony Jaa and these characters as I didn’t see the original Ong Bak film which this one serves as a prequel to. While I found the plot to be weak and the characters lacking in depth I thoroughly enjoyed the engrossing martial arts action. True to form Magnolia has delivered a strong offering on Blu-ray Disc. Video quality is excellent and the reference quality lossless sound will knock your socks off. This is complimented by a very decent bonus features package that includes an alternate cut of the film. Ong Bak 2: The beginning comes highly recommended for fans and makes for a solid rental for casual viewers wanting to check out its presentation on Blu-ray.
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JVC DLA-RS20 1080p High Definition Front Projector (Calibrated by Jeff Meier)
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Anthem AVM50v THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
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Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
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Oppo 970HD universal disc DVD Player (480i HDMI)
Philips TSU9400 Pro Series Touch Panel Remote Control
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APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator
Wireworld, VizionWare, Audioquest, Best Deal Cables - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package