If martial arts action star Tony Jaa made one thing clear in the 2005 film The Protector, it’s that he loved elephants and would do anything to, well, protect them. It seems that he didn’t quite get the message across to some folks in the first go round since he returns in the role of Kham for The Protector 2. If it’s top-notch acting and taut plotting you’re looking for, look elsewhere my friend. However, if it’s some insane action sequences and an anti-poaching sentiment you’re after, then you’ve come to the right place!
Also starring Mum Jokmok, Marrese Crump, Jija Yanin Wismitanan, Ratha Pho-ngam, Kazu Patric Tang, Kalp Hongratanaporn, David Ismalone, and RZA in a can’t-miss performance, The Protector 2 is available now on Blu-ray. Hit the jump for The Protector 2 Blu-ray review.
In the second installment of Jaa’s elephant-centered movie series, a civil war in the Southeast Asian land of Katana is on the brink of peace. Dignitaries from each faction agree to meet and sign a peace treaty. Sounds like the conflict’s already wrapped up, right? Well not so fast. since a separatist group isn’t interested in peace, but they’re interested in taking out the high-ranking officials from both sides in order to flare up tensions once again. That’s more like it, but what does any of this have to do with Kham and his elephant brother, Khon?
Kham has been living peacefully in the countryside for a while, but when a high-roller named Suchart Vilawandei (Adinan Buntanaporn) makes an offer for his elephant (which he of course turns down), Kham finds himself embroiled in an impending international incident. Suchart’s people steal Khon, causing Kham to go after them. (Bad news for them. Haven’t they seen the first film?) Kham goes to rough up Suchart but finds him dead, and is caught seemingly red-handed by his nieces, Ping Ping (JeeJa Yanin) and Sue Sue (Theerada Kittisiriprasert).
Now’s as good a place as any to talk about the film’s action, since the girls immediately attack Kham … and continue to do so throughout the movie. They seem to teleport to wherever Kham happens to be in order to either attack him in a wordless attempt at vengeance or defend him from the real killers, the arms dealer LC (RZA) and his fighting machine, 02 (Crump). The girls are pretty ineffectual as fighters for the most part and succeed only in irritating the other combatants. (However, when one of them dies in a fight, the one left behind does manage to get her revenge for her fallen family members.)
The real fighting highlights come down to Jaa (of course) and Crump, who seems to be quite the match for the title character. The two exchange blows on a number of occasions which escalate from merely testing each other’s abilities to a full-on brutal beatdown to the death. While the plot eventually spirals into the ridiculous, there are definitely some fun scenes to be found.
- Tony Jaa vs a gang of dirtbike riders – Kham takes on dozens of thugs over rooftops and through the streets of Thailand
- Electric punches and kicks – In one of the more creative/laughable fights, Kham fights 02 on an electrified train rail while their shoes are sopping wet, granting them each the ability to deliver electric punches and kicks. For science!
- Elephant Bombs – In perhaps the most ridiculous part of this movie, the climax involves a plot to assassinate the dignitaries at the peace treaty through the use of high explosives hidden within Khom’s ornamental tusks. While this in itself is hilarious, the payoff in the final moments is not to be missed. RZA turns in one of the best/worst death scenes in movie history. It’s so bad that you’ll have to watch it at least three times.
Rating: D for plot, B- for action
Behind the Scenes Featurettes (~25 minutes)
- Including Cast and Characters, Speaking with the Director, Action and Stunts, and Working in 3D, this behind-the-scenes look into the making of the film
AXS TV: A Look at The Protector 2 (~3 minutes)