By: Henry J. Fromage (Six Pack) –
All you need to know about Tony Jaa’s 2005 film The Protector is that whatever you do, don’t fuck with Tony Jaa’s elephants.
That’s pretty much the sum of the plot of The Protector, and in the sequel, once again somebody’s stupid enough to get between Jaa and his pachyderm protectee. Only this time it’s RZA and he’s got a Mortal Kombaty combat ring, and there’s a political conspiracy, and hot assassin twins, and Interpol, and… who gives a shit. Tony Jaa knees a bunch of people in the face.
The Ong Bak movies did a spectacular job of establishing Tony Jaa’s bad ass bona fides, and the first Protector made it look like he was moving into the Bruce Lee genre pastiche phase of his career. Well, he can still elbow a dude better that the rest, and this film doesn’t lack for ideas… just execution. Goddam does it lack the execution. That GoPro POV shot was pretty cool, though.
Unfortunately, some dumbfuck gave Jaa and director Prachya Pinkaew access to all of the bargain basement CGI they could shake a stick at, and boy do they take advantage. There is so fucking much of it, and it’s Asylum, Syfy Channel-level shit at best… and just gets progressively worse. By the end, even the background is green-screened and at one point Jaa fights in a blazing room full of the finest video game fire 1996 had to offer.
At least General Bison feels at home.
You can tell Pinchaew’s been watching lots of cheap Luc Besson-level action movies, and now instead of the virtuosic long takes of the original Protector everything’s fast cuts, slow-motion, speed-ramping, and dicey wirework. Since Tony Jaa at one point looked like the heir apparent to Bruce Lee, who didn’t need any of that bullshit, this is a fucking disgrace.
It’s not like they’re trying to convince audiences that a menopausal, morbidly obese Steven Seagal can still kick ass. This is Ong Bak in his physical prime. And yet, for all the blatant assistance Jaa gets, they may as well have replaced him with Air Bud.
And really locked in that Third World poorly dubbed bus movie demo…
Of course RZA’s in this… of course. No wonder the rest of the Wu Tang clan is apparently starting to get tired of his B-movie obsession- it’s just getting progressively worse. Sorry RZA, in real life Jaa would kick RZA right out of both of his left shoes.
This movie gives us a new phrase for jumping the shark- elephant bomb! The finale for this film has such a gap between misplaced ambition and the skill necessary to pull it off that the result beggars belief.
The part where I started to wonder if the movie was fucking with us was the dinky motorbike chase set to what sounds like Thai Nickelback and shot like it was straight out of Sons of Anarchy.
This movie is completely bonkers, in a so bad it’s good, Tommy Wiseau sort of way. What’s tragic is that this is what Tony Jaa’s career has become.
It’s like if Olivier Megaton remade The Raid, with the help of, well… Thailand’s best CGI artists. It’s almost dire enough to ruin Ong Bak retroactively.
Take a Drink: for each new colorful foe
Take a Drink: Fucking CGI. Seriously, fuck you so long, hard, and dry, whoever did this.
Take a Drink: every time Thai Bubbles shows up
He was also the lead CGI designer
Take a Drink: for Rza’s super-cute translator. I wish he was my Thai uncle
Do a Shot: for the world’s ugliest bra