“Batshit” is too seldom used as encomium and adjective, but there are renegade abstractions like Tony Jaa’s thirteenth-century martial-arts epic “Ong Bak 2: The Beginning,” which moves from senselessness to bewilderment from shot to shot, that demand its use. Jaa (nee Panom Yee-Run) co-directs (with stunt choreographer and actor star Panna Rittikrai) and stars as a prodigal prince. Muay Thai is the underpinning of most of the straightforward mayhem, but the sound-and-vision of hand-to-hand and sword-on-sword action is endlessly gratifying no matter how slapdash the editing may be. And batshit. “Natayuth” is reportedly the name of another style of fighting on display. CGI and other tricks appear to be in short supply. Elephant surfing is a modest bonus in this teeming tapestry. Co-starring Natdanai Kongthong. 110m. (Ray Pride)
“Ong Bak 2: The Beginning” opens Friday at the Music Box.
Ray Pride is Newcity’s film critic and a contributing editor to Filmmaker magazine.
His history of Chicago “Ghost Signs” in words and images will be published in Spring 2022.