The Protector (Tom yum goong) (Warrior King) Reviews
Having watched the first 10 minutes of the North American cut, I can certify that audiences will not get a film with the same meanings and messages if they do not witness the uncut version of Tom-Yung-Goong. In the North American cut the intro scene uses an excess of ellipsis as a cheap editing device to cut through time. The uncut version lets the story develops on its own at a more naturalistic pace, displaying the developing bond between Kham and his elephants Por Yai and Kohrn which immediately suggests that one of the major themes in Tom-Yung-Goong as being the bond between animal and man. Alas, this proves rather misleading because after the intro finishes occurring in Thailand, it shifts its setting. Protagonist Kham journeys to Sydney, Australia, and from there the ambitions of Tom-Yung-Goong become clear.
Sacrificing what could have had more story value, Tom-Yung-Goong quickly devolves into a generic action tale about a martial artist on a quest to retrieve his stolen elephants by poachers working for an Australian restaurant. There are times where it feels very much like a serious version of Rush Hour (1998), made all the more obvious by the fact that a Jackie Chan-impersonator makes a cameo. But after a brief period of Kham settling into Australia and dealing with some momentary communication issues, it reverts back to generic form. Fans of Ong-Bak: Muay Thai Warrior should be able to rejoice at the sight of Tom-Yung-Goong because both films feature the same director, as well as performances from Tony Jaa and Petchtai Wongkamlao, though there is too often a sense that they are all treading old ground without the same level of originality this time. The story is simplistic with only small aspects of cultural relevance, and everything between the action scenes tends to lack much entertainment value. However, the one major difference in terms of tone is the fact that Tom-Yung-Goong lacks the lighthearted comic nature of Ong-Bak: Muay Thai Warrior. The film takes itself very serious even though the story is boring and its themes are underdeveloped without much innovation offered by the screenplay.
And sometimes, the production values feel slightly amateur. Limited by its small budget, the overall technique for the cinematography is not precisely tenacious at the beginning of the film. It's most notable during the boat chase scene where the camera is shaky and the editing is a bit quick for its own good. However, everything ties together as the film progresses on. The one thing that is always captured incredibly well is the brilliance of the fight choreography. Being a hands-on film, Tom-Yung-Goong refuses to use strings, stunt doubles or visual effects with the exception of the one animated segment and the scenes used to provide an Australian backdrop. For one thing, this means that there are actual elephants used in Tom-Yung-Goong, but that is not even the half of it. Relying on genuine practicality more than anything, the action scenes in Tom-Yung-Goong rely extensively on the talents of Tony Jaa. The man is an amazing martial artist who never comes up short for a second in Tom-Yung-Goong due to his amazing speed which is captured in a series of brilliant fight scenes. There may be a lot of meaningless drama between the action scenes, but when the exhilaration arrives it lasts for long periods of time with endless foes pitted against Kham who fights his way through everybody. The choreography transcends the technical flaws in some scenes, such as the entire warehouse fight scene which happens beneath a bit too much shadow. The characters jump in and out of the darkness which creates an inconsistent effect: sometimes things are clear, sometimes they are not and the result is rather frustrating. Still, the superior action moments stand out far greater than the lesser ones. There is one notable scene where Tony Jaa fights a series of people in the titular Tum Yung Goong Otob restauraunt, and it all occurs over the course of a singular shot. It's enough of a challenge to get an entire fight in one shot, but to choreograph it and nail it with such tenacity in one shot is truly the capital achievement of Tom-Yung-Goong.
The action in Tom-Yung-Goong can be credited to its lead star Tony Jaa. Anyone can tell you he is the best reason to watch the film because his style of fighting is remarkably iconic, combining his brand of Muay Thai with Parkour type speed. His swift skills are remarkable, and he punches and kicks his way through countless stunts with tenacious talent. Tony Jaa quite literally bounces off the walls in Tom-Yung-Goong, taking on a versatile collection of villains ranging from the capoeira arts of Lateef Crowder in his debut role to Nathan Jones' huge frame and wrestling talents. He also goes up against the likes of Jon Foo who gives him a strong challenge. Tony Jaa's brilliant ambition to defeat everyone in his path is carried by his raw spirit in the part. He channels all the rage of his character into tensing his muscles and facial expressions to truly embody the part, though he remains in control of his fighting technique the entire time. Though Tom-Yung-Goong may not offer much in capturing the extent of its themes regarding the bond between animal and man, Tony Jaa is able to do that sporadically amid all his physical accomplishments. Tony Jaa carries Tom-Yung-Goong as a powerful vehicle for his amazing skills, bringing the entire film to life with his own hands and the knuckles on the end of them.
Tom-Yung-Goong may have a generic plot and lacks the originality and comic touch of of Prachya Pinkaew's prior work on Ong-Bak: Muay Thai Warrior, but with Tony Jaa's unforgettable fighting skills dominating the brilliant choreography of the action scenes, there is little for fans of his to complain about.
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.