YOU'RE GOING TO NEED A BIGGER AMBULANCE. CONTAINS SPOILERS.
Another fine showcase for the Thailand film industry's willingness to leave as few of its stunt people as possible able to walk or even stand up, this is another bone-crunching instalment of what's probably the country's best known martial arts franchise starring probably its best known star. And it had to be said that it is, as the other films were, ridiculously violent, featuring plenty of intricately choreographed fight scenes that make up in sheer physical pain what they might lack in subtlety, and I'd be genuinely amazed if the combatants weren't at the very least hospitalised overnight. In short, this is another film about lamping people.
Despite the title, Ongbak 3 is actually nothing to do with the first Ongbak, but a direct continuation of the second one. Hero Tien (Tony Jaa) is held prisoner by an evil king, and repeatedly beaten and thrashed with sticks but not killed. As he's about to be finally executed, he's reprieved by an imperial decree and spirited away to the remote, plague-stricken village where his childhood sweetheart tends the dying. Slowly cured of his wounds, Tien seeks a spiritual peace as well as a physical healing, but even after meditation and dance therapy, is he ready to take on the new, even more evil king - who seems to boast supernatural powers and might be some kind of man-crow? When the evil man-crow king ransacks the village for slaves (including his sweetheart), Tien has to finally face him one-on-one...
There's a lot of mystical nonsense and spiritual waffle going on and frankly we want it to hurry up with the crazy fighting scenes in which people are thrown off walls and through the sides of buildings, preferably smashing through the furniture and/or bouncing off things (including elephants). There's also a sense of masochistic suffering going on as Tony Jaa, who also co-wrote, co-directed and staged all the action sequences, spends half the movie being beaten to a pulp, chained up and whipped and covered in blood: before the final reels where he gets his mojo back and dishes out several thousand measures of fist-shaped justice to the evil man-crow king and his minions. Plotwise it's nothing to get excited about, and it's not a patch on the first movie, but there's much to enjoy if you like mad blokes beating one another senseless.
Thud wallop ouch: