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The Protector

The beginning of a beautiful friendship
By BETSY SHERMAN  |  September 13, 2006
2.0 2.0 Stars

Ong-bak felt like the beginning of a beautiful friendship. The story was corny, but it had a winning hero in the fluid Muay Thai boxer Tony Jaa. This film, also directed by Prachya Pinkaew, follows that one’s bumpkin-retrieves-village-relic-from-baddies plot with bumpkin-retrieves-sacred-elephants. Jaa’s martial-arts expert, Mowgli, pursues elephant-nappers from Thailand to Sydney, where an evil Chinese restaurateuse hopes to exploit the animals’ legendary powers. But Pinkaew has done a stylistic 180 and turned Jaa into just another kung fu dervish. The Protector is grungy, skin-deep, “high adrenaline” fare; if any nuance existed in the original, it fell victim to Harvey Weinstein’s shears. Now it’s chase, fight, chase, fight, with bone-crunching sound f/x cranked up to 11 and the occasional flashback to Jaa frolicking with elephants in a Claritin-commercial landscape. Ong-bak made it fun to root for the good guys. The Protector could have used some of its heart.

On the Web
The Protector's official Web site: http://www.theprotectormovie.com/

  Topics: Reviews , Sports, Martial Arts, Harvey Weinstein,  More more >
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