All-Star #1: Tony Jaa
Upcoming Films: The Protector 2, A Man Will Rise (shooting now), Chocolate 2 (rumored), Man of Tai Chi (rumored)
Favorite Fight Choreographer: Panna Rittikrai
Favorite Director: Pratchya Pinkaew
Primary Martial Arts Style: Muay Thai
Place in Cinema: Tony Jaa’s place in martial arts cinema is still being written. Things have changed since his last film, Ong Bak 3, which was considered his first major misstep. Seen at first as a savior for martial arts films, he has fallen behind as other martial artists, particularly Iko Uwais and his blockbuster film The Raid, have risen in his absence. Time will tell whether the Protector 2 (Tom Yum Goong 2) can catapult him back to the head of the pack.
While many may cite the stairway fight in The Protector (a worthy choice), this is a two way for me. The first would be his first real fight in Ong Bak, the one that really drove home that a new generation had taken over. The second would be the end fight of Ong Bak 2, which was ten minutes of full on kung fu hand to hand/weapons insanity.
Worst Career Moment:
Directing and Starring in Ong Bak 3. This film was a total debacle, even though Panna Rittikrai tried to salvage the over 3 hours of footage Jaa shot into a coherent film, but the film was still a mess, proving that for now, Tony belongs in front of the camera, not behind it.