The Movie Binge

Review: The Protector


How do you feel about the sound of arms breaking? Do you eat cornflakes in the morning dry and say to yourself, "Goddamnit, these just aren't giving me the satisfying crunch I need in my life"? Do you look at Steven Seagal and think, he should put down the sword, gun, ponytail and stick to snapping joints like a fat guy at a buffalo wing bonanza? Then you just might like The Protector starring Tony Jaa and a bunch of schmos. Then again you might listen to the hundreds of compound fractures happening in this movie and decide you're over it.

With the plot's complexity falling somewhere between Nintendo's Kung Fu and Megaman 3, Tony Jaa runs around snapping the arms of people too stupid to shoot him in an effort to find...his elephant. Cultural blind spot here, elephants are worth the lives of hundreds of people. Not just villains either. In his efforts to find Khorn and Dumbo (his two kidnapped elephants), our sociopath hero ignores the plight of a dozen women forced into prostitution as well as caged endangered animals that didn't have the luck to be elephants.

Poorly dubbed, poorly acted, poor film quality, all not that important when one considers that The Protector is a Tony Jaa movie, no one is there to rave about the cinematography. So let's get down to it: the action is...ok.

Don't get me wrong, the main man is a physical talent. He is insanely fast and acrobatic and really knows how to throw an elbow, and of course, snap people's limbs. The thing is, it wears thin. The sets are mediocre, a warehouse, a restaurant, an office, a park. The enemies are rote; there's the bike riding thugs, the kung fu thugs, the thugs who can't shoot, the steroid rager thugs, the tiger-lady with a suitably feminine yet dangerous weapon (whip) and that's about it. Tony Jaa dispatches all of them with equal aplomb. With the end never in doubt, the viewer is left to imagine what could have been had someone gone further with the idea for this movie rather than Tony Jaa in a room with 40 bat wielding thugs...unless of course you love the sound of bones snapping. Then you're golden.