have long held special cultural significance in Thailand, as symbols of both
the royal family and Buddhism. Yet, for Kham, Korhn is no mere pachyderm. He is
his spiritual brother. There is no better way to stress him out than kidnapping
Korhn. For some strange reason, a shadowy MMA cabal does exactly that—again—in Prachya
Pinkaew’s The Protector 2 (trailer here), which opens this
Friday in New York.
afternoon, an elephant dealer’s sketchy lackeys drop by, offering what they
consider a ridiculously generous price for Korhn. Naturally, after telling them
off, Kham pops down to the market, leaving his elephant home alone. Seriously, that
practically constitutes negligence. Launching a frontal on assault on the
elephant fence’s villa, Kham finds old Boss Suchart already dead and his
purloined elephant nowhere to be found. Not only has he obligingly stepped into
the frame-job, Suchart’s martial arts proficient, sailor suit wearing nieces
are quite upset with him.
Kham will try to forge an alliance with the not-really-twins to bring down the
man responsible for both their woes. That would be LC, the leader of a gun-running
martial arts cult. Supposedly, he wants Kham to be his new #1 fighter, but we
know from the daft in media res opener, there is a larger scheme afoot.
At least it all involves a series of massive throw-downs with the almost super
human #2. LC’s loyal lover, #20, is no slouch either. As long as people are
fighting, P2 works like a charm.
However, there are some ridiculously overtop action sequences involving a motorcycle
gang clearly intended for 3D that blatantly suffer from an unforgiving 2D
case you forgot, the original Protector featured
the awesome long take tracking Kham fighting his way up a spiral
Guggenheim-like vice den. His successive face-offs with #2 almost rank at that
level, but collectively they last considerably longer. While Tony Jaa is just
kind of okay when it comes to the conventional drama, his fight scenes, choreographed
with Panna Rittikrai are spectacular, as is #20’s wardrobe, rocked by Ratha
Phongam, who was just about the only watchable part of Only God Forgives.
the nieces, Chocolate’s JeeJa Yanin
Wismitanan and Teerada Kittisiriprasert also show off some pretty amazing
synchronized moves. However, despite all
the scenery RZA chews as LC, Marresse Crump upstages his villainy as the
lethally cool #2 (an absolute force of nature worlds away from Robert Wagner’s
#2 in the Austin Powers franchise).
There are times when both P2 and its hero are pretty dumb. Fortunately, the film is only
really about two things: kicking butt and kicking more butt. Pure escapist
meathead fun, The Protector 2 is recommended
for fans of Jaa, Wismitanan, and Muay Thai films in general when it opens this
Friday (5/2) in New York at the Cinema Village.
Labels: JeeJa Yanin Wismitanan, Martial arts cinema, RZA, Sequels, Thai Film, Tony Jaa