July 28th, 2008


oh, *hell* no.

Tony Jaa is missing.

I have been wondering WTF is up with ONG BAK 2, Jaa's directorial debut. It's been in the works for two years. A promo reel came out a little while ago, but while it looked bad-ass it made no sense whatsoever. The promo reel didn't convey much of a sense of what the film is actually about, only that there's a lot of brutality and the flick is balls-out insane.

Jaa is the greatest action star in the world today. He's often compared to Jackie Chan (at his brilliant peak) and Bruce Lee; I'd go back farther and call him the inheritor of Douglas Fairbanks. He's that good. He makes movies about himself looking for stuff: in ONG BAK he's looking for the head of a sacred statue; in TOM YUM GOONG (THE PROTECTOR), he's looking for kidnapped elephants. His most frequently uttered bit of dialogue is, "Where is [X]?!!"

Then he jumps across the room and knees some poor bastard in the chest. As you do.

Twitch Film, which pays attention to foreign films, gives a little more detail. Apparently, Jaa may not be entirely missing so much as laying low:

Some reports say that Jaa has retreated to some remote caves in northern Thailand to meditate and / or practice black magic and claim that his mentor Panna Rittikrai was sent to find Jaa and bring him back some time ago with no success. These reports also seem to be of the opinion that Jaa has gone about three times over budget and that the production funds have dried up. Other reports say that Jaa hasn’t actually disappeared - that he’s actually been seen with his family and that colleagues have been in touch with zero signs of black magic. Another report from Thailand’s biggest daily paper says that they had a reporter meet with Jaa at a ‘safe house’ - and why on earth does he need to use a safe house? - where he denied running over budget, claiming instead that Sahamongkol Films only ever provided him with half of the budgeted production funds, leaving him to make up the shortfall out of his own pocket and claiming that he is now personally bankrupt as a result - unable to pay his mortgage and with his electricity disconnected.

Prachya Pinkaew, who directed Jaa's previous films but fell out with him a while back, is being hired to come in and finish the picture. Presuming they can find Tony Jaa.