***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!
The Protector - 2 out of 5
Tony Jaa has proven one thing in the movies he has starred in: You can blind an audience and ignore things like plot, acting and story if you have enough action sequences.
Despite the fact that I think the Ong Bak franchise was extremely weak, I, for some reason, decided to watch The Protector and found it just as bad as the other films Tony Jaa has been in. The story is basically about a group of warriors who protect elephants (I'm not joking) and, when two elephants are stolen, one warrior is set to retrieve them. I'm serious when I say this...I am not kidding, that is the actual story. The movie is basically a love story about a boy and his elephant. There's even a sequence where Jaa and his pachyderm are frolicking and playing together in slow-motion to romantic music and seem to be seconds away from a serious make-out session. The film also throws in a lot of Thai history into the story and, believe it or not from the synopsis, the story is solid enough...too bad they couldn't get a plot to go with it. Events in the story take place haphazardly and the viewer is thrown from scene to scene with no real motivation other than to rescue Dumbo.
The only real saving grace for this film is the awesome action sequences...however, sometimes it's hard to take these seriously because, in the back of your mind, you know Tony Jaa's character is breaking all these bones to save his beloved elephant. But that's not all that's funny with the action sequences. First off, there are two sequences that seem to be actually TRYING to make you laugh. At one point Jaa fights off a group of extreme sports enthusiasts who come at him on dirt bikes, bmx bikes and, I'm not kidding, roller blades. And to top it off, they are armed with florescent light bulbs that they seem to be unable to break for the longest time--not on walls, not on Jaa, not even on themselves. Then, towards the end of the film, there's a giant fight scene where characters come out of the work work and seem to wait patiently in line to have their limbs broken. That's right, Jaa goes from henchman to henchman to break their legs and arms. If this scenario isn't funny enough, the sound-effects they use for the broken bones, slapping of palms and punches sound like they were lifted from a cartoon. Also, the fight scenes are funny because there are a bunch of them were significant opponents will show up (and you know they're significant by the grandiose entrance the film gives them) and you start to wonder if these characters were important but then realize that this is the first time they've shown up in the movie and you start to laugh because you realize how lazy the filmmakers were in establishing them. And it goes without saying that the cliche in martial arts fighting of the bad guys only fighting one at a time is here.
There is definitely a market for these films. If you use words like "brah" and phrases like "crush it" while drinking your Monster energy drink, you probably think Tony Jaa is a god and would suck his dick right before you call your douche bag buddy a "fag," it goes without saying that you probably own the special edition DVD of this movie and watch it regularly. However, if you dig acting ability (something Tony Jaa does NOT have but you don't need it when you're a really good stuntman) and you want some plot to your film to back up the story, The Protector is NOT your film--unless you want to laugh at it like I did, then I highly recommend it.