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Overall Rating

Awesome: 41.67%
Worth A Look55%
Average: 1.67%
Pretty Bad: 0%
Total Crap: 1.67%

6 reviews, 24 user ratings

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Protector, The (2006)
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by Jason Whyte

"Tony Jaa kicks even MORE ass. Film at 11."
5 stars

“Tom Yum Goong” ("The Protector") is star Tony Jaa and filmmaker Prachya Pinkew’s followup to “Ong-bak”, which I found to be one of the best action films released in 2005. Here, it’s as if everyone involved with that film was given full reign to make whatever movie they wanted to make and at whatever cost, and have resulted in a relentless masterpiece of fighting and action that is the best of its kind since Jackie Chan took on his own bodyguard in “Drunken Master 2”.

If you still don’t know who Tony Jaa is, think of Jackie Chan on uppers (and even a kung fu actor, who is a Chan double, appears in a cameo as someone who passes by Jaa in an airport). An expert in many forms of Thai boxing, here he plays Kham, a man who has had his prized elephants stolen from his home in rural Thailand. The animals have been abducted to a special restaurant in Sydney, Australia that specializes in cooking endangered animals.

The film explodes into action by way of throwing one of the bad guys several feet in the air as he collapses on another pile of baddies, as Kham literally flies into the room. From then on, the film never lets up as Kham moves from his native home to Sydney to battle all sorts of baddies in the criminal Asian world of Sydney. There, Kham meets a Thai policeman (Petchtai Wongkamlao, also from last year’s “Ong-bak”) who assists in Kham’s journey.

Everything but the kitchen sink is thrown into this movie (although Jaa throws a bad guy into a water fountain, if that helps). Tony Jaa is somewhat unbeatable just like Bruce Lee was, and we know that he will eventually succeed in his journey, but at least the film supplies Mr. Jaa with some truly powerful opponents to keep us entertained. The strongest and most memorable bad guy in “Tom Yum Goong” is professional stuntman Johnny Nguyen as a gang leader of the stolen animals. He is at a much different physical force than Jaa is, which at first leads to overpowering him, but Jaa (like with all of his opponents) quickly learns the physical differences and quickly overcomes his strength.

There is so much action, and yet one particular sequence needs an entire paragraph. When Kham finally enters the domain in Sydney where the animals are being kept, he fights off an entire legion of crooks in a single, unbroken four-minute take through three levels, sometimes right behind Jaa or watching him as he battles. This is a virtuoso shot that ensures that the crew, stuntmen, extras and actors were all in sync, and that’s not really easy when you have people flying around, falling off the side and crashing into objects below. Many other scenes in this film took months to shoot, and here’s a brilliant sequence captured in four minutes. Bravo.

I am giving “Tom Yum Goong” the highest rating possible, as flawed as the film is in its acting and storytelling department. This is not something that you really want to think too deeply about after it ends, but rather enjoy as it unspools. The action and Jaa’s complete dedication to his craft is the reason to go, and the film left me with an incredible rush of adrenaline with its remarkable, go-for-broke style of action filmmaking. It is bound to be a classic.

Note: The above was a review written in June, 2006 for the original release of "Tom Yum Goong" which is being re-released by The Weinstein Company as "The Protector". The American version has been edited down to 82 minutes from the film's original 109 minute running time, possibly to whittle down some story elements or to even remove characters. A shame, really, as there's a lot of good stuff here along with the mind-blowing action.

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originally posted: 06/03/06 02:51:58
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User Comments

5/11/17 komal shah Bahubali 2 likely to rake in Rs 1,000 crore 5 stars
3/16/09 Josie Cotton is a goddess Amazing! 5 stars
7/15/07 Jason great movie, even without a plot! 5 stars
5/19/07 David Pollastrini great action 3 stars
3/02/07 Dark Enchatress Tony Jaa is killer! Great movie!!! 5 stars
1/18/07 action movie fan outstanding martial arts fight scenes-tony jaa rukles but plot line is a bit thin 4 stars
12/02/06 Amit man the action was awesome!!! 5 stars
11/11/06 Woody Best martial arts ever... but i could take him 5 stars
11/09/06 Jason Best martial art movie of the year! 5 stars
10/18/06 Zeke Torres SWEET! 5 stars
9/30/06 Kim Gerrohn Actions were so great! 5 stars
9/17/06 Covell The kung fu sequences are frigg'n amazing that yeah, Tony Jaa is better then Bruce Lee 5 stars
9/17/06 randommoviedude If you like Porno, you will love this movie. All action/ no story or character development 1 stars
9/16/06 TheGreatMacsby BEST martial arts film yet........ever! Villains were as good as hero! 5 stars
9/15/06 MDs. I like it 4 stars
9/13/06 Jorge Coronilla Awesome film. I loved it. 5 stars
9/12/06 mary wonderful and very good movie-The martial arts used was awesome 5 stars
9/12/06 KingNeutron There are an incredible number of 'Daaaaamn!' moments in this film. 4 stars
9/08/06 BrianDePalma This movie contains the very best fight scenes in the history of cinema 5 stars
8/14/06 Darth Vader Extraordinary fights - Jaa is better than Bruce Lee 5 stars
7/31/06 paul this movie is truely amazing 5 stars
7/14/06 Chris Good God... simply amazing 5 stars
6/19/06 Ginger Jaa Rulez 5 stars
6/17/06 Vega Incredible fight scenes make this movie a classic. Nobody bothers about the story 5 stars
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  08-Sep-2006 (R)
  DVD: 16-Jan-2007

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