Tom Yum Goong 2, Thai film dubbed in English, film Movie review, johnson Thomas, rating: * * 1/2

English Film review
Johnson Thomas
Rerun of the Martial arts actioner

Film: Tom Yum Goong 2( 3D)
Cast: Tony Jaa, Yanin Vismitananda, and Marrese Crump
Director: Prachya Pinkaew

Rating: * * ½

This Thai martial arts film starring Tony Jaa, Yanin Vismitananda, and Marrese Crump is shot in 3D and reunites the highly acclaimed director Prachya Pinkaew with star Tony Jaa and action choreographer Panna Rittikrai. This film may have been intentioned as a comeback to form for it’s lead star Tony Jaa but by the events on film one is sure to notice that both he and co-star Jeeja Yanin are eclipsed by impressive up-and-comer Marrese Crump in this otherwise underwhelming action sequel.

Jaa was terribly disappointing while directing and acting in Ong bak 2. That was a big melt-down which was not foreseen.
As in the first film, Kham's sacred elephant Khon has been stolen. Only this time, the poachers are working for a nefarious underground organisation planning to blackmail Kham into assassinating the President of Katana and facilitate a military coup. Framed for murder, Kham goes on the run, but with help from his alleged victim's daughter, Ping Ping (Jeeja Yanin) and bumbling cop Sgt Mark (Petchtai Wongkamlao), he must evade Interpol, thwart LC's plan and rescue his beloved elephant.

Tom Yum Goong 2 relocates the action to Thailand, with fewer attempts at comedy -action is it’s prime focus. When dealing with hand-to-hand scuffles between Jaa, Yanin and LC's stable of individually numbered assassins, the film delivers. However, when director Prachya Pinkaew and stunt choreographer Panna Rittikrai attempt large action set pieces, particularly an extended sequence in which Kham must fend off a vast biker gang - across rooftops and along highways - the results are less successful.

Strangely much of the action - including one-on-one fights - appears to have been shot on sound stages in front of green screens, with scenery either composited or computer-generated afterwards. The results prove frequently distracting, and prestige moments such as the two pivotal fights between Jaa and Marrese Crump, LC's right-hand man dubbed "No.2", are tarnished slightly by the poor backdrops.

Despite that, however, US-born Crump emerges as a major martial arts discovery and the film's greatest asset. Here the two performers not only share the screen, but Crump more than outshines his villainous counterpart. Furthermore, Crump seems easily capable of taking out all his onscreen adversaries, and despite what the script might dictate, frequently appears to have the upper hand against both Yanin and Jaa. On the basis of this performance alone, we can expect great things from Marrese Crump in the future.

There are moments in Tom Yum Goong 2 when Tony Jaa displays a fine level of fitness, speed and athleticism, but at other times he looks bigger and slower than in the past. The big question hanging over him now asks whether he has what it takes to come back - repair the damage, both to his reputation, image and physical condition - and reclaim the mantle many assumed to be his back in 2005.


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