The Protector

"Good"

The Protector Review


I feel about Tony Jaa, the star of The Protector, precisely the way I feel about Tiger Woods: I want to be him. To have achieved such a high level of mastery over one's mind and body must be such a great feeling. Jaa is currently the world's best cinematic martial artist, and his wild Thai-style kicks, tricks, and acrobatics, all achieved without any special effects, will leave you slack-jawed.

Jaa dazzled the world with his gritty debut in Ong Bak, a crazy and violent race through the streets of Bangkok. Unfortunately, this time around, he's a victim of his success, finding himself dropped into a movie with a bigger budget, eye-catching Australian scenery, and a much higher body count. Jaa doesn't need exploding helicopters, car chases, and sexy girls in mud baths. He's plenty exciting just executing a flying double somersault with a kick to the face of the bad guy.

If the story of Ong Bak was "Hey, you stole my Buddha statue," the story of The Protector is "Hey, you stole my elephants." Jaa plays Cam, a Thai villager who has grown up among a long line of elephant breeders who worship the majestic animals in their charge. Childhood flashbacks are full of lyrical images of Cam being gently cradled in the mammoth tusks of his favorite elephant and playing with that elephant's baby son.

Everything flies apart on elephant festival day, when the evil Chinese syndicate from Sydney kills Cam's father, kidnaps both the daddy and the baby elephant, and whisks them off to Australia, no small trick that.

An enraged Cam follows, and soon he finds himself up against a whip-toting dragon lady (Xing Jing) so evil that she poisons her two young nephews in front of their parents to insure she'll inherit control of a drug triad so immense that it seems to have most of the local government and police force under her control. Also in her employ are approximately 765 black-suited goons, bikers, rollerbladers, and steroid-fueled musclemen, all of whose arms and legs Cam will break before the movie ends.

Sadly, the production values don't do Jaa any favors. The editing is so frantic that it's hard to get a good look at has balletic elegance. Many languages are spoken, and they seem to be dubbed randomly. Subtitles come and go with no apparent logic. The supporting cast can punch and kick, but there are few actors among them. That fact actually makes Jaa look all the better. His anguish when he sees some of the acts of cruelty the syndicate has committed is moving to watch. Then he turns his horror into rage, and whammo!

Jaa has clearly been tapped to be this decade's big martial arts star. Even Jackie Chan makes an uncredited comedic cameo to pay him deference. Here's hoping Jaa gets good advice and makes better choices. He needs real scripts, good directors, and very very good editors to make the most of his awe-inspiring talents.

The DVD includes two versions on two discs, the U.S. theatrical version and an uncut international version. Carious extras, including one deleted fight scene, short films, making-of featurettes, and a commentary track round out the extras.

Aka Tom yum goong.

I feel safe.



The Protector

Facts and Figures

Run time: 81 mins

In Theaters: Friday 8th September 2006

Box Office USA: $11.9M

Distributed by: The Weinstein Company

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 54%
Fresh: 49 Rotten: 41

IMDB: 7.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Ken Conway, Annabel Schofield as Marisa, as Dr. Ramsey Krago, as Agent Monica McBride

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Imperium Movie Review

Imperium Movie Review

First-time filmmaker Daniel Ragussis takes an unusual approach to this thriller. Since it's based on...

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

Like a 10-years-later follow-up to 28 Days Later, this small British thriller takes a refreshingly...

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

Director Antoine Fuqua brings his usual fascination with violence to this remake of the iconic...

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

As it's been 12 years since the last Bridget Jones movie, expectations aren't too high...

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

A-list director Ron Howard worked with the surviving Beatles to assemble this engaging documentary, which...

Blair Witch Movie Review

Blair Witch Movie Review

It's been 17 years since The Blair Witch Project shook up the cinema and created...

Anthropoid Movie Review

Anthropoid Movie Review

Outside the Czech Republic, few people know about Operation Anthropoid, a spy mission in 1943...

Advertisement
Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

From Laika (The Boxtrolls), this is one of the most beautiful, sophisticated animated films in...

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

An offbeat comedy-drama with a timely kick, this charming family road trip takes on some...

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Sicario screenwriter Taylor Sheridan delivers another fiercely intelligent, engaging story that maintains high suspense while...

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

With heavy overtones of Hitchcockian mystery and intrigue, this stylish thriller is the enjoyably melodramatic...

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

The 1989 Muay Thai action movie Kickboxer starred a young Jean-Claude Van Damme, who pops...

Julieta Movie Review

Julieta Movie Review

Iconic Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is back with another powerfully complex female-centred drama, along the...

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

An astute satire of the pop music business, this raucous mock-documentary is consistently hilarious from...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.