Featured Blu-ray / DVD Review: The Protector 2
The Protector 2 is the latest martial arts movie starring Tony Jaa. Tony Jaa was thought to be the next big thing when it comes to martial arts movies, but that hasn't panned out, at least not here. The reviews might be taking a toll on his career as only Ong Bak has earned overall positive reviews. Can The Protector 2 win over this critic? Or is the martial arts at least worth checking out, if the movie itself isn't?
In the first film, Tony Jaa starred as Kham, a man who lived in a small village that had a baby elephant, Khon, as one of its citizens. Some shady character came into the village looking to buy the elephant, but the villagers said no. Then the elephant disappeared and Kham traveled to Sydney to get it back.
In The Protector 2, Tony Jaa starred as Kham, a man who lived in a small village that had an adult elephant, Khon, as one of its citizens. Some shady character came into the village looking to buy the elephant, but the villagers said no. Then the elephant disappeared and Kham traveled to Bangkok to get it back.
The main twist here is that when Kham goes to find the gangster he thinks stole his elephant, Suchart, he finds Suchart is already dead. While he's examining the body, Suchart's two nieces, Sue Sue and Ping Ping, walk in and naturally assume he killed their uncle. A fight ensues, but Kham quickly gets away. Now he has to figure out who took his elephant, while avoiding the cops, gangs, etc.
The plot could also be summed up as "Plot? What plot? Who said anything about a plot?" The plot here is just an excuse to get Tony Jaa to show off his martial arts prowess. That's the good news, because if we cared about the film's plot, wow, this movie would be a mess. Tony Jaa is not exactly the best actor and the script he has to work with doesn't help. Amazingly, RZA, who plays the main villain, is arguably a worse actor.
So the movie mainly exists merely to show off Tony Jaa's abilities. Does it work in this regard? Partially. Tony Jaa is still amazing as ever, but for some reason, the filmmakers have decided to go with a lot of Wire Fu, and worse still, CGI effects. These are distractions that get in the way of Tony Jaa's natural talents. Worse still, they are poorly done CGI effects. The film was also shot in 3D and there are a number of cheesy moments where things are flung at the screen. Sadly I don't have the 3D version of the movie to compare, but there were many moments in many scenes that were clearly made to show off the 3D effects, not always to the benefit of the movie.
... That said, there are enough good fight scenes that if you are a fan of martial arts movies, then The Protector 2 is worth checking out. It isn't a classic, on the other hand.
There are four behind-the-scenes featurettes with a total running time of 22 minutes, plus a AXS TV: Behind-the-scenes featurette. This isn't a ton, but it is better than most foreign-language films have.
The technical presentation is excellent, so much so that it makes the weak CGI stand out even more. The level of details is very high, while the colors pop. There are a number of darker scenes and the shadows never swallow up the details. The audio track is just as good with plenty of activity in the surround sound speakers, including dynamic effects. The technical presentation isn't as good as a $100 million Hollywood production would have, but it is excellent for its budget range.
I don't have the 3D Blu-ray to review, but it costs just $20, which is cheap for this type of release. It is also only $2 more than the Blu-ray, which in turn is only $3 more than the DVD.
The Protector 2 is not a good movie. The writing and the acting prevent it from being good in the traditional sense of the word. However, as a showcase for Tony Jaa's talents, it works enough that it is worth checking out. I'm not sure you need to buy it, but if you are a fan of his, at least give it a rental. If you do decide to buy, then the 3D Combo Pack is the better deal over the DVD and Blu-ray.
- Submitted by: C.S.Strowbridge
Date posted: 2014-07-27