Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Wendy's Films of 2010 #87 and #88: Ong Bak 2 (2008) and Saved! (2004)

A while back Maggie and I embarked on an evening of film. We started off with the sequel to Ong-Bak, a film which brought the impressive martial arts skills of Tony Jaa to the world's attention. I remember writing in my review that I'd "have to see" if I'd see Ong Bak 2, and I can't really say that I'm that glad I did see it. It really has no relation to the first film, with the exception of Tony Jaa playing a character named Tien who develops skill in Muay Thai martial arts and uses it to fight off the film's villains. It jumps back into 1431, when Tien's noble parents are killed by Lord Rajasena, who once served under Tien's father. When Tien is older, he is presented with the opportunity to revenge the death of his parents and does it with style. My problem is that even though there were a few good fight sequences, they weren't nearly as impressive entertaining as those in the first film. I could have forgiven the unrelated plot if Jaa's ass-kicking skills had at least been kick ass. I'm 85% sure I won't be seeing the 3rd film, even though **PLOT SPOILER** the second ends with a huge cliff hanger.**

I must say I enjoyed the second film of the evening more than the first. I wasn't expecting Saved! to be as good as it was, but I quite enjoyed it. Entertaining was Macaulay Culkin's return to mainstream film after years of nothing but a couple of TV roles and a few minuscule films. Really, he hadn't been in anything since Richie Rich, a movie I hold quite dear as a favourite from my childhood, though I'm certain it's actually terrible. In any case, Saved! is about a high school student who gets pregnant after attempting to "save" her boyfriend from his affection for other men. She is ostricized from her best friends (including Mandy Moore's awesome Jesus extremist Hilary Faye), and must allow herself to be saved by her Christian school's Jewish outcast and badass Cassandra and Faye's wheelchair bound brother Roland (Culkin), who both see themselves and atheists. I liked most that the film wasn't necessarily preaching against believing in something, but against extremist ideology and the suppression of choice.

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