The Protector (R)

Action/Adventure 109 September 8th, 2006
By Luke Y. Thompson
Just as Arnold Schwarzenegger passed the action-hero torch to The Rock in The Rundown, Muay Thai star Tony Jaa gets the nod here from a similarly qualified veteran making an unbilled cameo. Jaa has the skills for the job and shows them off in numerous fight scenes; it's just a shame that the movie he's in is barely acceptable in any other respect. The plot (if we may even call it that) sees Jaa traveling to Australia in order to bust a Sydney-based Thai crime syndicate whose leader (Jin Xing) kidnaps elephants in order to bedeck their skeletons with jewels and become one with their spirits -- or something like that. Edited for the U.S. with atrocious partial dubbing and an incongruous new score by the RZA, the movie might be a waste if not for the four-minute, single-take restaurant fight scene and the glorious final sequence, which does for breaking bones what Kill Bill: Vol. 1 did for amputations. Best to wait for DVD so you can skip directly to it.
Prachya Pinkaew Tony Jaa, Petchtai Wongkamlao, Bongkoj Khongmalai, Ron Smoorenburg, Xing Jing, Johnny Nguyen, Nathan Jones, Dean Alexandrou, Damian De Montemas, Don Ferguson Prachya Pinkaew Prachya Pinkaew The Weinstein Company