Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Monday, September 11, 2006

Tony Jaa is one Protector that PETA would be proud of

For those of you who remember the days when a good way to spend your Saturday afternoon was to plunk yourself down in front of the silver screen or the boob tube to check out some chopsocky action,Tony Jaa is here to set things right. He follows up his US film debut in Ong-Bak:The Thai Warrior with The Protector,a movie that shows what happens when you mess with this man's elephants!

Yes,I said elephants. Tony's character,Kham,comes from a long line of elephant guardians who raise them as spiritual talismans for royalty. When Kham and his dad take their best pair of father and son pachyderms to town for a festival, a group of mafia types swoop in,steal the elephants and kill Kham's father on top of that.

Kham tracks the bad guys down to Sydney,Austraila where mob boss Madame Rose and her various henchmen have evil plans for Kham's jungle friends that involve police corruption,political assaination and a restaurant that serves up endangered species on the menu.

A movie like this is not really watched for the plot-it's the action that counts. Tony Jaa is best known for Muay Thai,a fighting style that lets him go snap,crackle and pop on the bones of his foes and wrap objects to his wrists for better beatdowns.
In one of better fight sequences,Kham takes on several opponents in a burning,waterlogged Buddhist temple(the lighting is gorgeous)and manages to use giant bells,a gong and gong paddles to defend himself. Other makeshift weapons include a corded elephant collar with bell and giant thigh bones that cut like a sword.

This is a fun movie,particularly if lines like"My grandmother drives faster than you...and she's dead!" and "You speak Thai?" "Well,I'm not talking French!" are amusing to your ear. There are also plenty of scenes of elephants in the wild for animal lovers,who may want to take some lessons on how to fight off poachers barehanded. For fans of Kill Bill and WWE,Nathan Jones shows up as one of the evil thugs(the man looks like Solomon Grundy,I swear) and there's a final confrontation scene with echoes of the desicimated members of the Crazy 88s writhing in agony at our hero's feet,with much less gore on the floor.

Tony Jaa seems to be poised as the next big kung-fu star and I for one think he has what it takes. There's not many people that can do a power march to face their foes with a baby elephant at their side and still look badass. Jaa is said to be working on a sequel to Ong-Bak which has me ready,willing and hopefully able to reserve my aisle seat at the multiplex to enjoy the show.


PJS said...

Doesn't sound like my cup of tea, but if I ever run across it I'll give it a chance based on your recommendation.

Although I must admit, I HATE it when someone messes with my elephants...

lady t said...

I really think that should be a tagline for this movie"Don't mess with this man's elephants!"-could bring in another $5 million at the B.O.