PROTECTOR, THE: DVD
Kham (Tony Jaa) and his father are both traditional elephant protectors whose sacred animals are symbols of great power in the Kingdom. On the eve of presenting a pair of prized elephants to the King of Thailand, an international smuggling syndicate kills his father and steals the baby elephant and her mother. Kham follows the trail to Sydney, Australia, where the gang operates from the rear of a city Thai restaurant. The network of thugs, run by the family headed by Madam Rose (Xing Jing) deals in drugs, sex trafficking as well as illegal animal imports, and has bribed a number of police to shield them and co-operate with them. Kham is determined to rescue his elephants, who are like family to him. But Madame Rose wants to harvest the power of the elephants.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Kham (Tony Jaa) is running between a wire fence and a disused tramcar in a giant warehouse shed (in Sydney), chased by a trailbiker, one of a large gang out to kill him. He jumps up by levering on a window sill and a fence rail, so that the bike has to run beneath him. As it does, we see in slow motion how Kham does a backward summersault and as the rider levels with him, Kham, as he comes out of the flip, grabs the biker's helmet and pulls it backwards, dragging the rider off the bike even as he himself is still airborn. It's a spectacular stunt filmed from above to make sure we see every move clearly. It's for real.
If you like you martial arts action tough, gritty and fast, Tony Jaa is your artist, as he proved on his debut with Ong Bak (2003). This is Muay Thai, a form of aggressive martial arts that makes the others look tame. Jaa is a spectacular proponent of it, and the storyline seems a mere excuse for stringing together an inventive list of stunts and fights, using interior and exterior locations. There's even a splendid fight sequence that combines the splashy bits of Dancing in the Rain with the atmosphere of a temple set on fire. This, too, is shot in full frame, showing us the fight in all its powerful glory. One of the film's most audacious sequence is a 4-minute take of martial arts fighting with Jaa fighting his way up a series of wide stairs with endless opponents attacking him. A stairway to martial arts heaven, at least for fans.
And there is even the cute factor with a baby elephant. Oh, and Tony Jaa's bond with elephants is real: he has raised two of them already.
Fans will also love the extras - and there are plenty of them, including behind the scenes working shots of Jaa rehearsing the fight choreography, where we see there are no wires. It's all him, it's all real, it's all bone jarring and full on martial action. And we also learn, much to oursurprise, that Xing Jing, who plays the villainess, Madame Rose, is a transsexual. And there's more ....
Published August 16, 2007
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PROTECTOR, THE: DVD (MA)
CAST: Tony Jaa, Petchtai Wongkamlao, Bongkoj Khongmalai, Xing Ying, Nathan Jones, Johnny Nguyen, Nutdanai Kong
PRODUCER: Prachya Pinkaew, Sukanya Vongsthapat
DIRECTOR: Prachya Pinkaew
SCRIPT: Napalee, Piyaros Thongdee, Joe Wannapin, Kongdei Jaturanrasamee
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Nattawut Kittikhun
EDITOR: Stratos Gabrielidis
MUSIC: Howard Drossin
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Arkadech Kaewkotara
RUNNING TIME: 76 minutes
PRESENTATION: Widescreen; DD 5.1
SPECIAL FEATURES: Tony Jaa Martial Arts Demonstration; Deleted Fight Scene; Making Tony Jaa; The Director's Guided Tour; 8 Limbs Mobisode (A Cell Phone Video); No Wires Attached: Making The Protector; The Protector Soundtrack Promo; Feature Commentary with Asian Film Expert Bey Logan; Theatrical Trailer; Making Tom Yum Goong; Short films from the Take on Tony Jaa contest
DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow Home Entertainment
DVD RELEASE: August 16, 2007