The Poker Club

I just woke up, it’s Wednesday 7 o’clock: time to go to work. The week has almost come to an end, nothing special happened. Maybe today will. Made my coffee, ate my bread, grabbed my bag & cell phone and went on to work. When walking towards the office I was thinking. What to do this weekend? Or better said; what can I do this weekend? There is a party at the Martini Club, there is that family reunion thing and, last but not least, there is our weekly poker night. I figured I’d decide later.

I received a text message: “Yo Cat! This weekend, Ong Bak 2! Let’s check it out!!!! Greets, S ”. I finally knew what I was going to do this weekend: watch this new Asian flick during our poker night.
The week is finally over, it’s freaky Friday and I am getting ready to rumble. When I arrive at our humble inn where we’ve played poker for the last ten years, I see everybody has arrived. I am as excited as a kid getting his first Nintendo. I ask S if he brought the goods. He answered only with a nod. The expression on his face told me more than a thousand words. Tonight it’s going to happen. Tonight, after almost three years, we will finally see the follow-up of Ong Bak. Ong Bak is considered a classic in its own regard. I have to agree on that. I was blown away when I watched the pain everyone got from martial arts legend Tony Yaa, like Steven Seagal in his early years. This guy knows how to inflict pain; he makes sure you stay down for good. And finally there’s the follow up. Ong Bak 2, freshly downloaded from the internet, complete with fake cover and punchy tagline ‘no pain no gain’. What more can we ask for…?

Were should I begin? I think the most important thing is to introduce our hero ‘Tony –the new dragon– Yaa’. Panom Yeerum was born on February 5, 1976, in the north-eastern province of Surin, Thailand. His parents were elephant herders. Panom watched martial arts films as a young kid and began to emulate some of his idols, from Bruce Lee to Jackie Chan to Jet Li. After seeing the Thai action film Kerd ma lui (2004) (“Born to Fight”), Panom met and studied martial arts and stunt work as a teen under the director of that film, Panna Rittikrai.

Panom went to university where he studied a variety of martial arts, from Tae Kwando to judo. It was not long before Panom would get work, doubling for Robin Shou and James Remar in Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997), and when his demo reel was seen by director Prachya Pinkaew, the film Ong-bak (2003) was created for Panom, who is now going by the name of Tony Jaa in hopes of bringing his style of action to international audiences.

Having introduced our hero, we can continue and explore the world of Asian Martial arts movies. The difference between American and Asian action movies, is the fact that the Americans cant imitate the roughness the Asian movies breathe. Movies like “Sha Po Long & Flashpoint” are impossible to improve, let alone match. Those stupid Americans will try, even after they destroyed almost all good Asian horror movies, like for example ‘The Ring’, ‘The Eye’ and ‘Shutter’. They now want to try to copy the action movies. Some people never learn, “even a donkey does not bump himself against the same stone”; that sure can’t be said about those idiots. Legends like Donny Yen, Old Skool Jet Li, and even Jackie Chan; why do they need to be brought to Hollywood? There is a saying: “once in Hollywood, your career is gone for good”. Luckily Donnie Yen & Jet Li went back to their roots. You can see the result in masterpieces like ‘Sha Po Long’ and ‘The Warlords‘. There is still hope, because new talents like Tony Yaa, Jacky Wu and even Nicolas tse are bringing us movies that are better than our sweetest dreams.

But let’s continue. I just watched Ong Bak 2 with a friend and I have to tell you, Ong Bak 2 is a must-see martial arts epic. First of all, the action sequences are all full contact, no tricks. Not like those Hollywood wannabe action movies. These people really Die Hard (that was a great movie by the way). The acting was so-so, but you aren’t going to watch a martial arts movie for the acting. You want to see some bloody, brutal full contact action. When you watch Ong Bak 2 you will be satisfied. The story is great, the action is over-the-top and you get Tony Yaa at the top of the bill. One more thing: this sequel contains more blood then its predecessor. I’m sorry, I just have to spoil one scene. at the end there is a sequence where Tony Yaa fights off 30 henchmen. Cuttin, breakin, punching, kicking his way to the finish line. The only thing i have to say is; enjoy.

I even have to complement Tony Yaa for his directing skills. This is his first directing job and he did a very good job. He had help from his friend, the director of Ong Bak, Panom Yeerum. Although it’s not perfect, like the acting, it’s still a very welcome addition to the world of Asian cinema. If you compare it with ‘Never Back Down’ (that movie was for pussies), nobody does it better than the Chinese. Don’t even think about trying.

This is a definite “There is still hope for humanity”

Let’s just finish off by saying: “Good whiskey makes the jackrabbit slap the bear”