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Ong Bak 2: The Beginning

Tony Jaa is quickly becoming a favorite for martial arts fans, and many cite Ong Bak 2 as his finest film to date. Now, Magnolia Entertainment (through their Magnet label) is bringing the action home with their new Blu-Ray. So how does it stack up against other recent Blu-Ray releases?

The film is presented in 1080P in the original theatrical aspect of 2.35:1, and looks great for the most part. The soundtrack, which can be listened to in the original Thai or a new English dub, is delivered via a very robust 5.1 DTS mix. Subtitles are available in English and Spanish, and are easy to read with no noticeable grammatical errors. The menu system is fairly simple, but is easy enough to navigate around.

Extras on the Blu-Ray include:

  • Alternate cut (89 min.): At first, it was thought this would be the 110 minute cut screened at some film festivals and available on some Asian DVDs of the movie. However, this is the version of the movie shown in some European territories, running about nine minutes shorter than the international cut. It does lose some of the story elements, but it also has some footage not used in the international version, so it is still worth checking out.
  • Making-of featurettes (21 min.): Originally produced for the Thai DVD, these are your standard promo pieces included with many DVDs and Blu-Rays. These are presented in standard definition.
  • Behind-the-scenes featurettes (18 min.): Also shown in standard-def, these featurettes use un-narrated footage shot on the set. Seeing Tony Jaa at work (and the injuries that occurred on the shoot) make this the best extra on the disc.
  • Cast/crew interviews (25 min.): These are the expanded and un-cut interviews from the making-of featurettes. They're not going to blow you away, but it was good seeing Tony Jaa explain some of his film-making process.
  • HDNet - A Look at Ong Bak 2 (3 min.): A short promo piece used for the HDNET satellite TV network.
  • Ong Bak 3 footage (2 min.): This is the teaser trailer for the next installment in the series. It is nice getting a little taste of the upcoming action, but it's only a couple of minutes long and the video is in standard-def.
  • Trailers: US and international versions of the trailer, as well as several other releases from Magnolia, including Red Cliff.
So, while this version of Ong Bak 2 isn't quite as feature-packed as some other Blu-Rays, it is still an excellent release for a niche martial arts picture. If you're a fan of the movie, or even if you haven't checked it out yet, plunking down the cash for this Blu-Ray is a no-brainer.