Asian Cinema Scene

There will be crunch this fall. "Crunch" as in furiously intense action from Thailand. "Crunch" as in Tony Jaa, madder than ever. "Crunch" as in Ong Bak 2, directed by and starring Jaa, now set to enliven the autumn theatrical release schedule. And if you can't wait until October 23, well, you can sit at home and watch the movie on September 25, according to Wise Kwai's Thai Film Journal.

Magnolia Pictures acquired rights to the film for its genre label Magnet in February and it was showcased at South by Southwest the following month. As I wrote at the time, Ong Bak 2 "features numerous insanely awesome fight scenes. Jaa explodes in every direction, his arms and legs delivering lethal blows as he lays waste to a variety of opponents, employing all manner of martial arts, straight fighting skills, and amazing dexterity with a variety of bladed weapons." To be fair, the pace is sometimes lumbering, and narrative clarity is not a strong suit, but those fight scenes are something glorious to behold.

Wise Kwai points to the official U.S. web site, which is only a placeholder right now, and to Mark Pollard's comments at Kung Fu Cinema about Magnolia's plan to make the film available on cable VOD, Amazon, and Xbox Live one month before the theatrical release. That's in line with how Magnolia has marketed and released other recent releases, and, in view of the modest returns for the original Ong Bak: The Thai Warrior a few years ago, makes good business sense. Meanwhile, Ong Bak 3, which will hopefully clear up some of the loose threads from OB2, is scheduled for release in Thailand in December.