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.

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

Churchill Movie Review

Churchill Movie Review

This drama about the iconic British prime minister tells a darkly personal story set over...

Gifted Movie Review

Gifted Movie Review

This is one of those films that dances right up to the edge of soapy...

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Notorious British filmmaker Nick Broomfield teams up with Austrian music documentary producer Rudi Dolezal to...

The Mummy Movie Review

The Mummy Movie Review

To launch their new Dark Universe franchise, Universal has taken an approach that mixes murky...

My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

Daphne du Maurier's 1951 mystery-romance novel has been adapted for theatre, radio, TV and film,...

Wilson Movie Review

Wilson Movie Review

It's never helpful when a comedy becomes a bit too smug about its own quirkiness....

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

A fictionalised story from the life of Wolfgang Mozart, this lavishly produced period drama is...

Advertisement
The Hippopotamus Movie Review

The Hippopotamus Movie Review

This British satirical comedy may be a bit of a mess, but since it's based...

Detour Movie Review

Detour Movie Review

This may look like a rather typical American indie thriller, but British filmmaker Christopher Smith...

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Boldly optimistic, this action-packed adventure breathes fresh life into the DC universe with a welcome...

Baywatch Movie Review

Baywatch Movie Review

Clearly, it's a risky proposition adapting a cheesy vintage TV series for the big screen:...

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Movie Review

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Movie Review

Subtitled Salazar's Revenge in the UK, this fifth film in the long-running series never quite...

Colossal Movie Review

Colossal Movie Review

It's rare to find a movie that so defiantly refuses to be put into a...

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

It's unlikely that Guy Ritchie could make a boring movie if he wanted to. This...

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.