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

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

Keanu Reeves picks up his supremely efficient hitman immediately where the 2015 original left him:...

Fences Movie Review

Fences Movie Review

After winning Tony Awards on Broadway, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis reteam for a film...

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

A spin-off from 2014's awesome The Lego Movie, this raucously paced action-comedy is proof that...

The Space Between Us Movie Review

The Space Between Us Movie Review

While the premise of this movie makes it look like a sci-fi adventure, the truth...

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

On paper, the idea of a two-hour 40-minute German comedy may not seem very promising,...

Advertisement
Gold Movie Review

Gold Movie Review

Based on a true story, this lively and sometimes outrageous adventure is packed with twists...

Loving Movie Review

Loving Movie Review

While this film tackles a huge issue in the history of race relations in America,...

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

It's been 20 years since we last saw four freewheeling young junkies from Edinburgh spiral...

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Based on an astounding true story, this battlefield drama mixes warm emotion with intense action...

Sing Movie Review

Sing Movie Review

The quality of the animation in this musical comedy may not be up to Pixar...

Jackie Movie Review

Jackie Movie Review

Rather than make a standard biopic about the most famous First Lady in American history,...

Split Movie Review

Split Movie Review

After a few badly received sci-fi blockbusters, M. Night Shyamalan returned to his earthier style...

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.