The Movie Buffer

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Preview: The Protector

Release Date: September 8 (Wide Release), August 25 (Limited Release)

The cut that I watched was the original Thai version, a new North-American cut brought to us via The Weinstein Company, who hired the one and only, RZA to write the score for the film. It’s too bad because the Thai music is pretty awesome.


Bam! Thwok! No spoilers!


The team that brought us Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior, is back with another action packed adventure, The Protector. The story is about Kham (Tony Jaa), a descendant of the elite Muay Thai warriors who guarded the King and his elephants in ancient times, and his quest to retrieve his family’s rare white elephant from poachers.

The director, Prachya Pinkaew, maintains the same philosophy as Ong-bak in this film, not relying on camera tricks and wires to deliver his vision. The movie looks and feels a lot like “Rumble in the Bronx”, not only in plot, the underdog takes on the whole triad by himself, but in the fight choreography and some heavily accented English lines uttered by the actors.

This movie pays tribute to the Kung-fu genre not to mention a few shout outs to masters like Jackie Chan and Jet Li. The martial arts displays are awesome to watch because of the many styles that are incorporated: classic Chinese Wushu, Brazilian Capoeira, American style WWF wrestling and, of course, Muay Thai.

With many action movies, the acting is suspect and the story is as limp as a wet noodle but this is redeemed by continuous fight scenes, high speed boat chases, and funny dialog. Once the frame work of the story is laid, the action kicks in and doesn’t stop. The film boasts the longest continuous shot fight sequence ever - at approx. 4 and a half minutes, this scene is quite impressive. The fight scenes are much like the ones in Ong-Bak, but instead of only fighting the goons there are bosses that are masters of their own martial art, so the fights are a lot more interesting.

This is a typical Kung-fu movie with all the same excitement and all the same flaws as all films of the genre. Some of the fight scenes are ludicrously over done, such as the body guard fight, and the story goes limp as soon as the violence begins. It’s certainly a 6/10 or a 3 out of 5 stars. I have to say that it’s rather refreshing to see a Kung-fu movie without that ridiculous wire-fighting.


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