Well, if you haven’t heard already, it’s being reported that a couple days ago Tony Jaa literally shaved his head, rode an elephant up to a Buddhist temple and took his vows to become a monk. The most complete article on the matter is at twitch.
Nobody knows how long he’ll be a monk or if he’ll ever come back. If you remember, he had a breakdown while directing ONG BAK 2 and ran off into the jungle for two months. Twitch speculates this might be part of him getting out of the shitty deal he was stuck in after that fiasco. But I imagine this is probly better for his mental health than the Thai film industry. I bet it’s good for him.
Whatever happens, this only adds to the legend of Tony Jaa. What more could be done with his onscreen persona is debatable, but he clearly was the biggest martial arts sensation of our age and created some of the best fight scenes and stunts put on film to date. I think this is more likely the Elvis-joining-the-army of his career than the end of it. But if it’s the end it’s pretty incredible for him to willingly leave it at 5 starring roles, about the same number as Bruce Lee.
To me the sad part of the article is what it says about ONG BAK 3 being shitty. I hadn’t heard about that. (or the rumor that he sacrificed chickens on the set of part 2. Well, I don’t condone animal sacrifice but if it keeps him from coming to Hollywood and making THE TUXEDO 2 I’m not gonna complain.)
By the way, I hope somebody took the elephant home and is gonna feed it. It would suck if he left it tied up outside the temple the whole time he’s there.
. . .
thanks to Jennifer K. and Jamie H. for tipping me off to this one.
VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.