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Review Tom Yung Goong 2 (2013): Bloody CGI!

genre: action, martial arts

Tom Yung Goong is one the best martial arts movies in existence. It was just as good or even better than Ong Bak. It offered bigger better action in a hard hitting and more realistic style. Meaning no CGI or wire works was used. Making everything you see all the more impressive. Next to Tony Jaa a lot of different fighting styles got displayed making it a feast for the fan. Naturally I was looking forward to this follow up. 

And then the first big action sequence happened. Bloody CGI. Now at this time it did not seem that bad. But then we get introduced to the villain and a plot so ridiculous and complex that you might be fooled it is thought up by monkeys. The original was appealing because it kept things simple. Elephants get stolen, Tony Jaa is angry about it and wants them back. That was all the plot needed to bring us the kick ass action. Here elephant again gets stolen with the intent of luring Tony Jaa. At this point it is not really clear why he is needed. Since other fighters are clearly also up to the task. The whole political intrigue surrounding is a nice touch and could have worked if only for one man. RZA. One of the worst actors that should stick to his music and leave acting to professionals. Every line he delivered was one joke after another. If that wasn't enough they make him like this indestructible fighter where it is obvious he has no fighting skills whatsoever. Even the guy who is named number two could barely keep up with Tony Jaa and he was supposed to be a worthy opponent. It is when Jaa was fighting him where I was wondering is this all there is. Then in an other fight scene I swear they ripped Star Wars light saber sounds. I am not joking. At one point electricity gets involved and you hear light saber sound effects. The plot of the original might have had a simple but out there plot, at least it took the events more seriously which served the mood and the tension for the action. The whole Star Wars sounds made everything a joke. But hold it, it can get worse. There is a sequence at the end, where even the Elephant must have been thinking: Seriously??? Now to be fair. Most of the action still is enjoyable to watch. Yanin from Chocolate (2008) is one of the reasons why that is. Although her appearance seems more like a glorified cameo and nothing truly significant. 

I am almost enraged to see Tony Jaa straying away from his path too much. The whole reason Tony is so popular was because of the stunt work and the realistic fighting. If you replace that with CGI trickery and other nonsense then you disappoint the fans. Prachya Pinkaew, please stop this at once and go back to the basics established in Ong Bak. Only then will you get redeemed. Even the elephant is not amused and he always has been a good sport.

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