The Protector was Tony Jaa's second big movie. It was big. It was awesome. It featured martial art talents such as Johnny Nguyen, Lateef Crowder, Jon Foo, Nathan Jones and Xing Jing (this latter one's not really a martial artist, but an interesting persona regardless) and crazy stunts mostly performed by the one and only... Tony Jaa.
I feel a bit of the atmosphere collapsed when they decided to change setting to Australia (after Kham's elephant was kidnapped, he tagged along), where police officer Mark is struggling with his English phrases and Kham doesn't really know a thing. Why do they have to add foreign languages to the mix? I remember in old HK action movies they spoke Chinese even in foreign countries, it felt natural, it was their natural language and thus also the language that I wanted to hear, the one in which they could express themselves best. I feel like if they'd skipped the English, this movie would've been on the same level as Ong-Bak, so that's a bit of a shame.
As for the rest of the movie though, it's a hardcore rush of adrenaline and stunts. Great fights, great sceneries, a fast-paced yet down-to-earth chain of events full of intrigue but mostly... action. Kham (Tony Jaa) gets pretty emotional when his elephant is involved, and as long as you don't get stuck in an other-cultural pattern of thought and think that just seems silly, the movie will definitely pull you into the action-packed torment that it is. I watched the sequel recently, so I thought I'd go back and leave a review for this one as well. If you haven't seen it yet, it's much recommended!
rated 4/5: fo shizzle