Archive for the ‘Tony Jaa’ Category

Protector 2 poster

Set 5 years after the events of the first movie, Kham is teaching kids how to communicate to elephants with the help of his beloved Khon who he treats like a brother. He learns through a friend that somebody wants to buy his elephant but he refuses. Kham leaves Khon with his friend whilst he goes to town. When he comes back to his place, his friend has been attacked and his elephant kidnapped once more. Kham goes to the house of the person that wanted to buy Khon only to find he’s been murdered. He’s caught in the house by the dead man’s two nieces who assume that Kham has murdered him. Kham is forced to go on the run from the two women. The real culprit is an organisation headed by a foreign man named LC. They kidnap Kham and ask him to assassinate a politician to bring about a civil war between two countries or Khon will come to some harm. With the help of an Interpol police agent and one of the nieces, Kham sets out to destroy LC and his organisation.

This movie heralds the return of Tony Jaa who went on hiatus for a couple of years and allegedly became a monk (not sure if that’s true or not?). His last movie before he disappeared (Ong Bak 3) was a total disaster. The problem that led to his hiatus was because of a 10 year contract with Samhangkol Film International that Jaa was tied up to. He wanted to do other movies but they weren’t going to allow him to do that. It’s alleged that Jaa had a bit of a breakdown because of this problem so he walked away from everything and waited until the contract had finished. This has now happened which is why he’s back making this movie. The funny thing is Jaa has signed up to the same studio again and they’re the ones behind this movie. I just hope Jaa has asked for some concessions this time with his new contract or the same problems could arise again. Another person returning is female action star Jeeja Yanin. Back in 2012 she shocked her fans when she announced she was pregnant and was going to get married. A movie containing both these Thai action stars you’d hope would be a right cracker but as you’ll see in the review below this movie is a bit of a mixed bag and it doesn’t really deliver.

It’s best for me to tell those that expect this movie to mark a return to form for Tony Jaa to lower their expectations. Trust me, if you do this you won’t be disappointed by what you see. It is nothing like the enjoyable first Protector movie. The biggest problem with this movie is the overuse of CG effects which is really ropey and looks terrible. Gone are the real stunts and proper fights we saw in Jaa’s previous movies. The reliance on third-rate special effects and wirework is shown at its worst in an overlong motorbike/rooftop chase during the first half which at times looks fake and it isn’t even believable. You have to suspend your disbelief watching this sequence. I have no idea why the Thai filmmakers turned their backs on the raw stunts/fights – elements which had made the previous movie so successful.  It seems that Jaa isn’t even fighting at his usual speed during the movie, perhaps he was asked to slow down to accomodate the limited martial arts skills of RZA and Marrese Crump. I did find it strange why they also chose to rip Star Wars lightsaber sounds for one of Jaa’s fights on electrified train tracks. Wonder if George Lucas knows about it?

Protector 2 screenshot

Tony Jaa is just OK in this movie, he is definitely not at his best here. It’s gonna take a movie with a better script to repair his reputation. I was quite pissed off at the treatment of Jeeja Yanin. She is shamefully underused and only pops up now and then to help Jaa’s character out and coupled with the fact that she is made to look weak in certain scenes this really annoyed me. What an opportunity the director had in having two of the hottest Thai martial artists around in his movie and he totally screws it up. The worst actor of all in the whole production is RZA (he of The Man WithThe Iron Fists fame) who doesn’t come up to scratch as the lead villain. He is just terrible and his acting is pathetic in this movie. Couldn’t they have picked somebody better to go up against Tony Jaa? I’m sure there are plenty of actors who could have done a much better job. Marrese Crump as RZA’s no.2 in his organisation manages to outshine his American co-star by having a couple of great one-on-one scraps with Jaa.

At the end of the day, whilst it’s good to see Tony Jaa and Jeeja Yanin back on the big screen, I can’t rate this movie other than plain average. The plot is a bit of a mess and the awful CGI effects doesn’t help things one bit. Hopefully things will improve for both stars in the future and I eagerly await their next movies.

Sadako’s Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5

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The movie picks up where part 2 left off, with Jaa’s revenge seeking warrior Tien being captured by his nemesis, the evil Lord Rajasena, and subjected to all manner of tortures. Although his body and spirit are broken, he is pulled back from death by his master Bua and childhood love Pim. Recuperating in the remote Kana Khone village, Tien learns meditation and karmic acceptance, whilst deepening his martial arts skills through graceful dance. Meanwhile, the sinister Crow Ghost returns, attempting to seize control of the kingdom from Lord Rajasena for his own terrible purposes.

A major disappointment. I’ve enjoyed all of Tony Jaa’s movies until I watched this one. It is terrible. You usually expect lots of fast and furious action and some kind of coherent plot in Jaa’s movies – you get neither in this one. The final fight, which should have been epic, is really poor because it is short, it has nothing spectacular, it lacks the flamboyant style of Tony Jaa and the other guy shows absolutely nothing. You will get bored watching this movie, twiddling your thumbs until some kind of action happens – that’s how bad it is. It’s a complete waste of time and an epic failure.

Sadako’s Rating: 1.5 stars out of 5

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Kham’s life is turned upside down when an international mafia syndicate, based in Australia, captures his two beloved elephants and smuggles them thousands of kilometers away to Sydney. The two elephants are far more than mere animals to Kham and his father; they are part of his family and were being prepared to be presented as a token of devotion to his Majesty the King of Thailand. The only way Kham can possibly save the animals is by venturing into a foreign land for the first time. Taking on a mafia group to rescue two elephants from a foreign country presents a huge challenge, even for a martial arts master like Kham. Despite the help of Sergeant Mark, a Thai police Sergeant based in Australia, and Pla, a Thai girl forced into modern day slavery, the going gets tough. They must take on the ruthless gang of Madame Rose, whose henchmen include Johnny, a Vietnamese thief and martial arts expert, and the hulking TK. Kham has no choice but to risk his own life for the animals he loves.

Tony Jaa is sensational but I think he was better in Ong Bak. Brilliant bone breaking fight sequences and the little elephant that appears in this movie is so cute.

Sadako’s Rating: 4 out of 5

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The 2nd Ong Bak movie is not a sequel to the 1st – different story, different characters. Tony Jaa is Tien, the son of Lord Sihadecho, a nobleman from ancient Thailand who is murdered by the vicious Lord Rajasena. Enslaved by him, he’s finally rescued by a man known as Cher Nung. Cher Nung is a renowned warrior and leader of the Pha Beek Krut, a group of pirates/guerilla fighters. Cher Nung realizes the potential in young Tien and takes him under his wing. The Pha Beek Krut are a group of expert martial artists of various styles from all over Asia, and Tien is trained to unify these different styles of martial arts. As Tien becomes a young man and with years of training under his belt, he finally goes on a mission of vengeance to destroy Lord Rajasena. The only problem is he has an entire army to protect him!

Yet another cracking movie by the Thai fighting sensation Tony Jaa who also directed it. It’s miracle the movie was actually finished due to the difficulties encountered in making it. Tony Jaa even went awol for a while and nobody could find him. Whilst this movie could be seen as an excuse just to showcase the many styles of martial arts he’s mastered you can’t hide the fact that the fight sequences are amazing and that the guy is incredibly skilful. The last big fight is breathtaking to watch. The movie though ends abruptly which will continue in a sequel. Forget the storyline, all everybody wants to see is the fights and you won’t be disappointed in them. They’re very creative and reminds me of how Jackie Chan and Jet Li used to be in their early years. Roll on Ong Bak 3.

Sadako’s Rating: 4 out of 5

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Thieves steal a buddha’s head statue from a remote Thai village. The villagers fear that bad luck will bestow upon them so one young man vows to restore the balance by going after them and retreiving it.

The movie that introduced the Thai sensation Tony Jaa to the world and put him on the map as one of the hottest martial artists around. Those that have longed for the type of action movie that Hong Kong was famed for in the 80’s when health and safety regulations were thrown out of the window just for the sake of creating a stunt and no holds barred fighting will no doubt be salivating at watching Ong Bak. The stunt people did get injured filming this movie. Words cannot describe my reaction when I saw Ong Bak on first viewing, my jaw hit the floor at the bone crunching fights I witnessed. It’s just awesome. The storyline is basically weak and just an excuse to showcase Tony Jaa’s incredible acrobatic Muay Thai fighting skills. One of the best modern martial arts movies in recent years.

Sadako’s Rating: 4.5 out of 5

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