Took some time this morning to see The Protector with the wife and father-in-law. To say that it’s a balls-to-the-wall action flick is to put it mildly. If you like your martial arts action fast and furious with little reliance on wire work then go see this movie. The plot, as in a lot of these types of movies, is simple and straightforward. The main character, Kham (Tony Jaa), is part of an ancient Thai order that is charged with protecting the king’s elephants as they are used in warfare and it is believed that with a perfect elephant you can win any battle. Some bad guys show up and kidnap our hero’s elephant and its baby and kill Kham’s father to boot. Just before he dies his father tells Kham to go rescue the elephants and so he does, following them all the way to Sydney Australia where he pretty much single handedly lays the smackdown on a major crime family.
It’s kind of a silly premise, but any good martial arts fan knows that the plot is just an excuse for the hero to go kick some major ass to defend his family and honor and as such is the least important aspect of the film. What you really want to know is if the fight sequences are any good. Yes, yes they are. The movie’s producers claim there’s no wires used in the filming of the fight sequences which makes them all the more wondrous to watch—that is if you’re not too busy hiding behind your fingers at some of the painful injuries Kham inflicts on the bad guys. In particular you should watch for the fight between Kham and a Capoeira fighter at the temple. The Capoeira fighter is played by Lateef Crowder and the man is a joy to watch in action as Capoeira is an amazing martial art form when done by a master. That’s just one of several good sequences, though.
If you’re not a martial arts fan then there’s nothing here that will convert you to the genre, but if you enjoy a good ass kicking cinema event from time to time then this is one of the better ones.