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With: Tony Jaa, Petchtai Wongkamlao, Bongkoj Khongmalai, Nathan B. Jones, Johnny Tri Nguyen, Damian De Montemas, David Asavanond, Sotorn Rungruaeng
Written by: Kongdej Jaturanrasamee, Napalee, Prachya Pinkaew, Piyaros Thongdee, Joe Wannapin
Directed by: Prachya Pinkaew
MPAA Rating: R for pervasive strong violence and some sexual content
Language: English, Thai, with English subtitles
Running Time: 109
Date: 08/11/2005

The Protector (2006)

2 Stars (out of 4)

Elephant Boy

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Thirty year-old Thai martial artist Tony Jaa has an appealing boyish quality and moves with incredible speed, but he lacks the sheer cinematic command and physical poetry of his peers Jet Li or Jackie Chan. The ridiculous The Protector contains more holes than plot: as a warrior trained to protect royal elephants, Jaa must travel to Sydney, Australia to retrieve two stolen beasts. These noble animals make it okay for Jaa to maim hundreds of opponents. Directed by Prachya Pinkaew (Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior), the resulting fights range from choppy, grainy garbage to a truly spectacular centerpiece, shot in one unbroken take, set in the spacious back room of a restaurant, complete with winding staircases, balconies and lots of vases and chairs to throw and jump over. (Not to be confused with Jackie Chan's 1985 film of the same name.)

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