I'm not trying to be a hero! I'M FIGHTING THE DRAGON!!

Tom Yum Goong 2 trailer

“Fierce as a lion, strong as an elephant. Sadly after today he’ll disappear forever.”

I can’t tell if this is gonna be any good, but I do know that 1) I personally requested in CLiNT magazine for them to shoot Tony Jaa in 3D, and they did it 2) it is the sequel to maybe my favorite straight-ahead martial arts movie of the 2000s. (Or top 5 if I put it up against KILL BILL.)

One thing I really hope for, though there’s no evidence in this trailer, is an attempt to one-up part 1’s famous long take fight scene. It doesn’t have to be the same kind of thing, but maybe some other spectacular idea we haven’t quite seen on that level before. One thing that makes TOM YUM GOONG so great is that they were clearly intent on outdoing everything they achieved in ONG BAK. They seem to have lost that spirit in later movies as Jaa started having a hard time living up to his legend or whatever was going on that caused him to abandon the filming of the ONG BAK sequels and become a monk for a while.

Now they have JeeJa around, which could help in the upping-the-ante department. And I like that RZA is the bad guy, since he is already kind of a TOM YUM GOONG villain for having rescored it for the bastardized Weinstein version THE PROTECTOR. (Not that he did a bad – or good- job. In fact, if the music on this trailer is from the movie I wouldn’t be against RZA taking a crack at it.)

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.

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18 Responses to “Tom Yum Goong 2 trailer”

  1. I love Tom Yung Goong, and I’ll see this one, but the trailer really doesn’t look that good. I’m excited to see Tony Jaa again so anything will do at this point. It’s time for him to get another story besides the search for his elephant though.

  2. Kinda concerned about some of the CGI nonsense in there. It looks like it’s used very sparingly but any CGI is like piss in the pool; it dirties our faith in what we’re watching, even if it’s just used to composite a dude jumping with a background shot of a bridge. Especially since Ong Bak and Tom Yum Goong gave us such glorious real-stunts-only action, I wish the filmatists would know that it’s not worth risking that credibility just to get their dream shot of a train rushing towards the camera while juuust missing some motorcycles jumping in front of it. Also seeing bad CGI flames surrounding what’s no doubt an otherwise awesome fight sequence, yuck.

    I guess I probably have an unreasonable viewpoint though. I mean I look to movies like Tom Yum Goong 2 to be zealously anti “mainstream” action, meaning it eschews the incomprehensible, shaky cam, CG-aided BS action we see so much of today. But to the filmatists making it, they just want to appeal to as many people as possible and I’m sure 99% of the audience doesn’t care if some cruddy looking CG intrudes on their action movies.

    No matter what I’m thankful we got Ong Bak and Tom Yum Goong. And I’m sure those movies directly led to The Raid too. So yay to those guys.

  3. I wish I could find a clearer version of this trailer because this is the type of trailer that makes me want to see this even more: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HJpWx32_Xe0 Seems like the other trailer focused way too much on other characters and the only thing I care about is Tony Jaa, everyone else is just a prop for him use his excellent muay thai acrobatics on.

  4. HB, how do you rank crappy CGI flames in relation to Matt Morgan giant-swinging an elephant through a window?

  5. I’m most sorry to say I don’t get the reference to Matt Morgan giant-swinging an elephant through the window, but since crappy CGI flames are pretty damn close to the worst things ever to exist in our world, I’ll have to say I prefer the elephant being thrown though a window by default.

    I will say that the scene in Tom Yum Goong… well, to be honest The Protector, since that’s the version I watched in the theatres here in the US-of-A, but the scene in The Protector where one of the henchmen grabs the baby elephant and tosses him got a huge response with the crowd. Sure, it was mostly laughter at how batshit insane it was, but deep down we felt bad for the elephant character too. Also we assumed they used a dummy for the elephant. Oh dear God, please tell me they did use a dummy for the elephant toss scene…

    Which ties in nicely to the main reason I want these movies to remain “pure” against the great CGI madness that’s infected modern action movies. My experience of watching Ong Bak, The Protector, and The Raid in movie theatres with an appreciative crowd reacting to every awesome stunt and badass choreographed fight sequence was just awesome. I don’t mean to get melodramatic here, but usually I’m sitting in a movie theatre wondering when the assholes around me are gonna ruin my moviegoing experience by talking, texting, kicking my chair, etc. But when exposed to the full-on crazy of Thai/Indonesian action cinema, even the most jaded, rude, asshole movie watcher can’t help but pay full attention to what’s happening on-screen. The awesomeness of the fight scenes in these movies united everybody in the theatre and demanded their full attention. It was fucking transcendent man, an audience united in appreciation for what was being shown on screen. I haven’t experienced that feeling since I was a kid and everybody in the theatre watched Indiana Jones battle Nazis or the karate kid get his triumphant victory over those goddamn Cobra Kai assholes.

    I’m a greedy, greedy man, and I’d like nothing more than for Tom Yum Goong 2 to be so full of face-punching awesomeness that it makes those earlier movies look crappy in comparison. But I’d be perfectly happy if it even matches the awesomeness of those earlier movies. But the stinky whiff of CGI in the trailer leaves me a little worried.

    Apologies, it’s late and I’m a bit drunk so this comment probably achieves a 10 on the Ramble-o-meter scale. But my main point is clear. When it comes to awesome cinematic action from Southeast Asia, JUST SAY NO TO CGI!

  6. I actually prefer ONG BAK 2 and 3 to the original. It felt more about fight choreography than just spectacular stunts. Also it wasn´t as generic story-wise. I kinda like the sequels more because they are a bit ballsier as far as sequels go and I highly approve of them.

  7. I am super excited for this film. I hope it blows me away like the first time I saw ONG BAK, but even if the film is a complete mess Tony Jaa shot in 3D guarantees me buying a ticket.

    I wonder if the RZA has a fight scene in the film. I would think it would be a great honor to meet your cinematic demise via a skull splitting Tony Jaa elbow to the head.

  8. RZA’s weird diction is the epitome of “Western actor in Asian film,” where it seems like they’re all Australians trying to do American accents. He’s gonna fit right in.

    The little CGI touches were troubling, but really, that’s what we’re focusing on? This man fought mobsters, had a nervous breakdown, went to the mountaintop on an elephant and shaved his head to reach spiritual enlightenment so he could bring you this movie. It’s a miracle that it exists and I only hope I have the moral fortitude not to buy the import at the porn store before it comes out in the theater in 3D.

    Also, there was CGI in the first one. That long, unbroken take in the restaurant? Most of the broken glass was added in post. Nothing is pure anymore. We should probably try to get over it.

  9. Special effects in martial arts movies have a long tradition. Just think about all the wirework in those classic Shaw Brothers movies!

  10. The first one was a disappointment for me. After the pure action and stunts of Ong Bak, I wanted more of the same, but I remember quite a significant amount of wire work and CGI in The Protector.

    Am I wrong? Is my memory misleading me? I only saw it once, and that was years ago, but I remember thinking “Oh well, guess I should be grateful we have Ong Bak.”

    But I trust you guys, so I’ll watch it again some time.

    Still, I prefer Chocolate. That was fun.

  11. This is a much better trailer than the first teaser. There is definately a huge amount of CGI, the flame look fake, the train around the stunts look fake, there are clearly a few bits of green screening. But the choreography of the fights look to be much better than the past. I have a feeling the fight on a moving vehicle in The Raid 2 is gonna be way more badass.

  12. I’m one of those guys who really liked the ONG BAK sequels, so this trailer didn’t need to work too hard to impress me. I’m trying to not get suckered by promotional material, but there looks like plenty of promising set pieces. I mean, did you see how many motorcycles were chasing him? That could be epic. The bungee jumping looked neat too. And the fights looked well shot, something RAGING PHOENIX suffered a bit from, though obviously we’re only seeing glimpses here.

    Mostly, I’m just glad to see Jaa back. I didn’t realize I missed him.

    In the tradition of the middle entry in a trilogy being the darkest episode, I nominate the title HERE’S YOUR FUCKIN’ LITTLE ELEPHANT for this one.

    Knox: Perhaps this opinion stems partly from my disappointment with Jija’s more recent films (especially the tone-deaf THIS GIRL KICKS ASS) , but I maintain that CHOCOLATE is one of the very best movies of the last 10 years. Better than Batman, better than PIXAR’S GARBAGE ROBOT, better than THERE WILL BE BLOOD.

  13. Also, it can’t be stated often enough: Dirty Balls is the secret weapon of every movie I’ve seen him in. I’ve seen him completely commandeer movies in which he only had a cameo, and salvage lame cop films that he starred in with his wit and humanity. The guy is awesome.

  14. This stupid movies taking way too long to be available. From its long awaited release to its now long term and possibly way longer availability date, the interest in this movies gone.
    This is what you get when you live in the retarded western side of the world, long availability and release dates of great movies like this.
    But as great as this movie is im moving on I don’t care for it as much anymore and im at the point of just forgetting about it, I cant wait any longer and its time to move on. Itll probably be available
    in the shitty west in 2014 finally and I cant wait that long like I said. Special ID wasn’t bad at all, and that movie had a quick availability within days to us, im moving onto ninja shadow of a tear and berandal, goodbye TYG2.

  15. This movies taking too fucking long im at the point of forgetting about it. From its long awaited release to now the wait for its release in the stupid western side of the world where we get delayed releases of great eastern movies, and are instead given crap action movies from Hollywood.
    This long wait is killing the interest in TYG 2, and itll probably be forgotten about and moved onto other movies like berandal and Ninja 2.
    Its been way too long now for its availability, it looks like and probably is a great movie but I cant wait for it any longer, itll probably be available by mid 2014 in the gay western world.
    Living in the western side of the world sucks, I would move to the east if I could.

  16. when is this stupid movie coming out ? ill be pirating it because sahamongkol doesn’t deserve my money for this long availability. Usually id buy it to match my original bought copy of tom yum goong 1, but no not this time they don’t deserve it. Since itll be distributed by stupid Hollywood, they don’t deserve my money either. This will teach them to make deals for foreign movies for us out here in the future in the stupid pathetic west. They both don’t deserve my money for this super long wait and they can both fuck off.
    Im so tired of looking at the same old pics and trailers, this is really ridiculous NOTHING yet on it at all.

  17. I’ve seen it. Not as good as the first film. But Jaa does have some good fight scenes against RZA and Marrese Crump.

  18. Well, boys, I have succumbed to moral turpitude and purchased the international cut of TOM YUNG GOONG 2: SERIOUSLY, THE FUCK IS MY ELEPHANT? on import DVD from a porn store on Eighth Ave rather than waiting for the 3D theatrical release.

    I’m gonna start by telling you guys to keep your expectations in check. There’s nothing on par with the long, unbroken fight from the first one, and there’s enough SHARKNADO-level CGI going on that a lot of the big action beats feel suspect. I’ve no doubt that there was a great deal of stunt work in the scene where Jaa and a guy on a motorcycle bust through the roof of a shed on top of a building, but it’s so tainted by obvious greenscreen that it doesn’t feel like the early Jaa movies, where the only special effect was just some amazing motherfuckers doing amazing shit. There are still plenty of money shots that were obviously done practically but some (like Jaa and a bunch of dudes jumping in front of a moving train) are pretty laughably fake. The movie falters whenever it ventures out of its comfort zone of practical stunts and fights, and it can sometimes feel like a betrayal.

    So it’s not the next-level shit we were hoping for, but it is still pretty awesome. Following an opening act that could charitably be described as “marginally competent,” the movie kicks into full gear with a massive 20-minute action set-piece that sees Jaa chased from a warehouse to the rooftops to the streets to a huge bridge and beyond by hundreds of dudes on scooters. Things get even better when the main henchman is introduced, a tall, scary black guy who refuses to die (This guy has real skills and badass presence. He should be in everything from now on) and it hardly lets up from there. There’s nothing groundbreaking like in Jaa’s earlier work, but there’s still a ton of phenomenal choreography that’s shot in a sure-footed, classical style. We’re talking 4.75 on the ACR, minimum.

    I could quibble. Most of the fights seem to take place in the same warehouse spaces as all Thai action movies, and I’m not really sure what the villains are trying to achieve at any point in the plot. Jija Yanin is underused, and she gets her ass kicked a lot more than I’d prefer. Her final move is a crowd-pleaser, though. But I still went back and watched every action scene again minutes after finishing the movie, so I ended up kind of loving it. It’s a little ridiculous and fairly shoddy and totally entertaining.

    The big surprise is RZA. The way he carefully, deliberately enunciates the poorly translated English dialogue is a delight, epitomizing the “alien just getting used to his human form” stiltedness of most westerners in Asian cinema. While his limited kung fu skills were not exactly the highlight of MAN WITH THE IRON FISTS, here he convincingly beats Tony Jaa’s ass for two minutes straight, thanks to solid choreography, dynamic editing, and the fact that he’s like two feet taller than everyone else. He gets the Keanu Reeves Award for Best Surprise Kung Fu Villain of the year by going full mega and ending up equal parts hilarious and creepy, like a slickly dressed praying mantis with a weird accent. Sadly, while his speech about how jaturongkabaat is “the greatest and most powerful technique ever to exist” is tailor-made to be sampled by himself in an end credits song describing the plot of the movie, this did not come to pass. Hopefully the Weinsteins will make themselves useful for a chance and rectify that oversight.

    Also: Hearing RZA try to pronounce “jaturongkabaat?” Priceless.

    All in all, don’t go in expecting a masterpiece and you’ll have a good time. I’m actually watching one of the fights again right now. It’s no classic, but it’s a keeper.

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