Thai-born martial artist Tony Jaa, whose gravity-defying stunts wowed American audiences in Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior, returns in an equally eye-popping stunt fest that should thrill all but the most jaded action fans. The very simple plot has the soft-spoken, mild-mannered Jaa as a young man from a rural community dispatched to Australia to recover a pair of sacred elephants. Once there, he discovered that a female crime boss (played by transgendered actor Jing Xing) is behind the missing pachyderms, and Jaa pulls out all the stops to recover the animals for his village. As in Ong-Bak, the appeal of The Protector is watching Jaa unleash his muay thai skills on a host of villainous types, and he gets several astonishing showcases in this film, most notably a nearly-unbroken take in which he dispatches some 50 goons as he makes his way up a four-story structure. Those looking for the depth of story or character found in the best of Hong Kong action cinema won''t find it in The Protector, but the rewards for action fans are plentiful and thoroughly entertaining. The two-disc Collector''s Edition of The Protector includes a wealth of extras, most notably the original Thai version of the film (titled Tom Yum Goong), which runs approximately 30 minutes longer than the American version. Commentary by martial arts writer and fan Bey Logan is featured on the American edit, along with a deleted scene, a featurette about Jaa with Logan and rapper/producer The RZA (who scored the American version and, for some reason, is described as a major force in bringing Asian entertainment to the States), making-of featurettes on both the English and Thai versions of the film (the latter features a subtitled Thai-language commentary track with Jaa, director Prachya Pinkaew, and stunt coordinator/mentor Panna Rittikrai), and three fair short films that were produced for a promotional tie-in contest. -- Paul Gaita
Martial arts superstar Tony Jaa reunites with his Ong-Bak director to deliver bone-breaking thrills and amazing gravity-defying action (Daily Star), performed without stunt doubles, wires, or CGI. Packed with incredible fight scenes, mesmerizing muay thai moves, and a jaw-dropping final showdown that pits Jaa against 50 enemies.
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