The Protector (Tom yum goong) (Warrior King) Reviews
A much hyped fight film from Muay Thai expert Tony Jaa with many many excellent stunts and chase sequences. The only problem is we have now seen all this before from various other martial arts experts.
The film itself is fine but its not really too original in any aspect, a simple revenge plot as usual and Jaa showing his skills yet again. Its very spectacular but I personally didn't get too engrossed. The most impressive thing about the whole film is the MMA fight sequences (the basic reason for this movies existence) mainly the fight between Jaa and Capoeira fighter Lateef Crowder.
This one fight sequence is the most impressive fight I've seen in years, its fantastic, Crowder is amazing and almost too good to be true with his moves. Add to this the following fight between Wushu expert John Foo and then a one off battle against wrestling strong man Nathan Jones which is impressive merely to see the size differences, think Bruce Lee v Kareem Abdul Jabbar.
To be honest the film is worth seeing for those three fights, apart from that its business as usual with this action film.
That's okay with me. Against my better judgment I'm giving this film a mild recommendation because...damn..what this film gets right, it gets it right in spades. Going for the Jackie Chan style of doing everything practically and with no CGI, the action in this movie is balls to the wall incredible. The highlight, for me is a masterfully executed long take in which Jaa's character fights his way up several flights of stairs in order to confront one of the villains in a restaurant. The choreography and sets are one thing, but the fact that it was done as an unbroken long take just really takes the cake as far as impressiveness is concerned.
Aside from the action, this is just a blah and predictable movie. It's enjoyable, but could have been great if everything was as strong as the fights and stunts.
On the eve of presenting a pair of prized elephants to the King of Thailand, a young martial arts expert and his father are shocked to discover that the beloved creatures were stolen by an international mafia syndicate, and now the determined fighter must travel to Australia to get his animals back in this adventure from the team behind the international action hit Ong Bak. To Kham (Tony Jaa) and his father, the elephants that they were about to present to the King of Thailand were not simply pets, but members of the family as well. When Kham learns that the criminals who stole his elephants have taken them back to their home base in Australia, the fearsome fighter vows to brave the strange new land and bring his animals back safely no matter what the cost. Upon arriving in Australia, Kham enlists the aid of Thai Police Sergeant Mark (Petchthai Wongkamlao) and pretty slave Pla (Bongkuch Kongmaili) in taking on down notorious crime boss Madame Rose (Jing Xing) and locating the animals he loves before it's too late.
The heir apparent to the Jackie Chan, Jet Li mantle has done it again. Breathless action sequences that have to be seen to be believed including an extended fight sequence with about twenty gang members and a restaurant fight that will leave you with a breathless feeling. Story such as it is revolves around Tony Jaa setting off after some elephant poachers and following them to Sydney, Australia to regain custody of said elephants to give to the King of wherever he actually resides. As with Ong Bak, the story is just an excuse to get Mr Jaa into as many stunt filled fight scenes as possible and once it gets started it never really lets up for even a moment allowing our hero to do many wild and crazy things in the pursuit of his elephant friends. If you're a fan of non stop action movies give this a whirl I guarantee you won't be disappointed.
Some great scenic shots too and comical moments too.
Towards the end of this movie there is a seen where I was actually crying of laughter because of the hilarity as well as the horrific violence going on at the same time, and how it was continuously repeated. That was a first for me.
Once this movie gets started, it only gets faster, with some of the craziest martial arts action i've seen. Lots of fun watching this, and if you complain about plot, then you apparently haven't seen a martial arts movie before.
I can only hope that Tony Jaa gets a big Hollywood movie, but isn't restricted and is able to be just as unleashed as he is here.
...oh, and don't fuck with this man's elephants.
Kham: Where the hell is my elephant!!!!
This time around, Tony's simple Thai villager is on a mission to retrieve stolen elephants (yep) from poachers. This forces him to follow them into Australia and become the target of a vicious crime syndicate.
A sad factor of Ong-Bak's phenomenal success is that already with it's follow-up there is kowtowing to Western audiences. For example, the majority fo the cast speak English for 70% of the film, even the Thai characters. Also, though its predecessor has hardly plot-centric, practically all of the Buddhist philosophy presented beforehand is absent here. Now we are just left with Jaa's simple moralising.
There is a greater comedic bent here, too. Though this does seem an odd criticism, and does allow Petchtai Wongkamlao to shine, it is a clear indicator of the entertainment-all-the-way design.
Irregardless, the main reason everyone will watch is the fighting, and of course Jaa delivers in spades. The tram-hop is gobsmacking, and the frequently-mentioned one-shot of his multi-fight, multi-flight ascension of a mafia building is astonishing.
Though it does lack the first-time amazement of seeing Jaa do his stuff, Warrior King is cracking entertainment
As with any critic I would give an overall sentence describing the overall story of the movie, but this movie is so bad in story telling there no redeeming value. I blame the editing of this movie which makes the American version of this movie flow uneasily and and most of the acting in this movies doesn't help much.
Time to talk about the action, one word, average. Yeah that's right, average mainly due the unspectacular choreography in this movie. Out of all the fight scenes in this movie, only one really stand out and unfortunately it's a short one. One I personally enjoyed was when Tony Jaa fought against Nathan Jones a second which was entertaining and unbelievable how it was done. Unfortunately what ruin that fight scene was the other villains inference.
The Protector is a disappointing, uneasy, and poorly edited action movie.While it may have tons of fight scenes, whats makes a good action movie is a decent story (or better than average) and great action sequences to be fun and entertaining.
- overriding serious tone punctuated by one very funny sight gag
- incredible acrobatic fight scenes
- one amazing stunt sequence with Jaa evading a gang of rollerblading baddies brandishing fluorescent lightbulbs (you read that right)
- Jaa's only acting skill resembles a pissed-off look
- horrible choppy storyline
The blame for that last lies completely with the Weinstein's perpetual disrespect for Asian film by cutting 20-30 minutes for American release, as if nobody here cares about the story and only want the action. But action only makes sense within the context of story, so we are left with more loose ends than a championship chili cookoff.
'The Protector' does boast one unique sequence that I have never seen before in film. While many of Jaa's punches, kicks, and stunts are made in combination - sometimes 5 or 6 before cutting cameras - during a sequence not unlike Jackie Chan in 'Project A' he seeks the villain over multiple stories of a lounge/restaurant, racing up stairs and dispatching of bad guys along the way. Unless some Hitchcockian 'Rope' editing trickery was employed, this is a consecutive string of over twenty-five stunts in three consecutive minutes of film. Think about that, fall down or miss a punch cue at any point during that ultra-complex marathon take and it's back to square one. Observing Jaa's huffing & puffing at the end makes me believe it really *was* ONE take, so keep your eyes out for this impressive achievement!
I'll reiterate that if Jaa substituted more stunt sequences in place of straight feet & fist fight scenes, he might rival Jackie Chan for the best martial arts entertainments around. As is, he still provides solid adrenalized action.