THE PROTECTOR (TOM YUM GOONG)
This is the official website of the 2005 Thai martial arts action film,TOM YUM GOONG, starring Tony Jaa.
The film was distributed as Warrior King in the United Kingdom, as The Protector in the United States, as Thai Dragon in Spain, as Revenge of the Warrior in Germany, and as Honor of the Dragon in Russia and CIS countries
Content is from the site's archived pages and other outside resources.
Initial release: August 11, 2005 (Hong Kong)
Directors: Prachya Pinkaew, James Glickenhaus
Languages: Thai, English, Cantonese, Vietnamese, Chinese, Standard Mandarin, Standard Cantonese
Music composed by: Howard Drossin, Ken Thorne
US Release Date: September 8, 2006
Distributor: Dragon Dynasty (The Weinstein Company)
Director: Prachya Pinkaew
Screenwriter: Prachya Pinkaew
Cast: Tony Jaa, Mum Jokmok, Xing Jing
The Protector (2005) - Trailer
I don’t remember how I came across it but somehow I saw the quote “You killed my father, and you stole my elephant!” and that pretty much inflamed my desire to see The Protector, another offering from the Prachya Pinkaew/Tony Jaa team. The film follows young fighter Kham (Jaa), who raises elephants for Thai royalty and has been trained in martial arts so he can protect them from predators. But he fails in his duty, and his two prize elephants are stolen and his father is killed all in one day. He travels to Australia to reclaim his animals from the powerful Thai criminals who took them, going up against various skilled fighters and gang assassins to get to their leader. An unorthodox Sydney cop (Petchtai Wongkamlao) helps him out despite corruption in his own office.
So this movie is pretty ridiculous, and shoddily made, and a little weird, but sort of endearing in its own way. A lot of it is Tony Jaa running around Sydney in his cute red ascot yelling about his elephants, which is silly, but then he starts beating the shit out of everyone he sees and I am definitely into that. The fight scenes are awesome, with Jaa barreling his way through large groups of angry grunts, never stopping more than he has to. I loved the range of villains Jaa goes up against, especially the capoeira fighter Lateef Crowder and wushu fighter Jon Foo. Ballet dancer Xing Jing is ferocious as the evil elephant-killer Madame Rose, dressed in fashionable outfits and fighting with a deadly whip all Catwoman-style. Apparently there was a whole subplot about her character being transgender (as the actress actually is) that was cut out of the American version, though I’m not sure why.
The fights are great, but that’s kind of the only really good thing about this movie. The story doesn’t make much sense, the script is cheesy and uneven, and the production isn’t exactly top quality (the dubbed-over English is the biggest distraction). Plus I couldn’t tell if it was taking itself seriously or not. But luckily, a good portion of the overall film is just radical fight sequences, and Tony Jaa alternating between his adorable ascot/jacket combo or bloody shirtlessness. And that’s all ok.
TOMATOMETER CRITICS 54% | AUDIENCE 76%
September 23, 2006
Nathan Rabin AV Club Top Critic
Jaa's ingratiatingly ridiculous Protector delivers a steady stream of cheap B-movie thrills, plus two positive messages for young people: Be nice to animals, and when in doubt, always aim for the tendons.
September 23, 2006 | Rating: B-
Marc Bernardin Entertainment Weekly Top Critic
The plot in your average martial arts flick is never more than an a thin excuse to get the hero mad enough to kick ass. But I’ve never come across one as exotically ludicrous as ”You killed my father and stole my elephant!” That’s what sends Cam (Tony Jaa) from his native Thailand, where he raised sacred pachyderms, to Australia, to settle the score. It’s silly, at times laughable, sure, but Jaa has a reckless, bone-cracking grace that transcends the film’s triviality. For fight fans, he’s worth the price of admission.
August 3, 2007 | Rating: 4/5
Rob Gonsalves eFilmCritic.com
In "The Protector," known in its native Thailand as "Tom Yum Goong," Tony Jaa plays a young man whose elephants are stolen. He wants them back. There are shabby attempts at other plot threads, but that's all the movie is about.
A gangster named Johnny has taken a majestic adult elephant and his baby son. Tony Jaa is supposed to protect those elephants. So Tony Jaa confronts Johnny on numerous occasions with dialogue so basic it's almost a Zen koan: "Johnny, where are my elephants??" "Johnny, you stole my elephants!" "Johnny, give me back my elephants!" Uh, Johnny? Tony Jaa really wants those elephants back.
Word around the campfire is that The Protector has been shorn of some fifteen minutes for its American debut; its distributor is The Weinstein Company, whose owners Bob and especially Harvey Weinstein are fond of taking scissors to everyone's movies except Quentin Tarantino's. (Tarantino "presents" The Protector, though he probably didn't do anything other than to say "Hey, Bob! Harvey! This movie is fuckin' cool!") So there were certain plot elements that lost me. Someone I didn't remember seeing before in the film shoots the police commissioner of Sydney, Australia, to the horror of several characters who seem to know the shooter. Tony Jaa's previous import, Ong-Bak, had similar problems. Characters appear and disappear at random. Fans of early Jackie Chan films will recall comparable plot dissonance.
As with Jackie Chan, though, you go to a Tony Jaa film for one reason, and it isn't the plot. Jaa, a master of Muay Thai martial arts, once again disregards gravity and physics, flying across rooms to knock down several flunkies with his knees. If a video game allowed you to do what Tony Jaa does, it would be the bestselling video game in history. This outing doesn't give Jaa quite as many eye-popping stunts as he had in Ong-Bak, though it does boast a truly astonishing sequence in which Jaa runs up several flights of stairs, disabling one attacker after another on each floor, in one unbroken take that lasts about four minutes. I couldn't even climb stairs for four minutes straight, never mind kicking dozens of asses. The sequence, which took a month to prepare and two weeks to shoot, is some sort of compressed masterpiece of kinetics.
After a while, The Protector becomes a kind of brutal comedy. Getting closer to the true power behind the elephant-stealing Johnny (a whip-wielding woman in blood-red lipstick), Jaa goes up against several wrestler types who look to be about twelve feet tall. (Jaa stands five-eight; like Chan, he's compact.) My favorite was the Aussie strongman Nathan B. Jones, a towering baldy who shrieks and roars at Jaa. (Oh, for some meaningful dialogue between the two: "RAAARRRGH!" "Where are my elephants??" "AAAARRRGH!!!" "Give me my elephants!!") There's also the alarming-looking Lateef Crowder as a dreadlocked capoeira fighter who almost gets the drop on Jaa, and Xing Jing as Madame Rose (ha, I love that name), the aforementioned whip artist. What I really wanted, at some point in the narrative, was a werewolf. Yes, a werewolf with a flamethrower, getting between Tony Jaa and his elephants. Or maybe a robot. A samurai robot with, like, fangs and shit. Because if you're going to make a movie this daft, why not go all the way?
The Protector is a fun, junky Saturday evening out, though I suspect you'd do better to get your hands on the original Tom Yum Goong, which may, for all I know, contain mitigating plot intricacies, plus a werewolf. Jaa remains perhaps the hardest-working actor in the world, and probably occupies the top slot on Internet death pools now that poor Steve Irwin has taunted his last croc. Actually, I worry more about the health of the many stuntmen who wind up on the receiving end of Jaa's heavy elbow landing on their skulls from twenty feet up.
I would like to see a documentary about a stuntman working on a Tony Jaa movie, unable to sleep the night before shooting his big scene in which he speeds towards Tony Jaa on a motorcycle and Tony Jaa knocks him off the bike into a plate-glass window with a well-aimed knee. And then it has to be done again because someone on the set sneezed. Maybe one of the elephants.
*** ½ John M
December 29, 2010
A beautiful story about a man and his elephant. The Protector stars martial arts expert Tony Jaa and it's sort of about a man who was born to protect going after some guys who stole his father's elephant, but you're not watching this for that. The story is muddled (note: I just learned through Wikipedia that the U.S. theatrical cut that I watched runs 27 minutes shorter than the Thai cut, which may have something to do with it), the acting is bad and campy, and it is haphazardly put together. But it succeeds where it counts: the martial arts are hard-hitting and well choreographed, and that's the reason why you are watching this. The story is ridiculously flawed and lacks cohesion, but that's never the point. It's almost like they said to hell with the story, let it take a backseat, and make it move so quickly that when you start to question gaps in logic, you've already forgotten about it because thereâ(TM)s another elaborate fight sequence. And speaking of action sequences, there's this one undeniably impressive balls out scene all done with a no-cut follow shot that lasts four minutes and kicks all kinds of ass. I would never call this a quality movie, but it's definitely entertaining and a whole lot of fun.
**** Alexander K
December 14, 2010
The plot was pretty lame. Wasn't digging the whole Elephant story. The fighting on the other hand in this movie is insane!!! I laughed, I cried, and I was in shock thru out all the fighting. Wish more movies were like this (minus the crappy plot of course). If you're a dude who loves fighting (or an awesome one of a kind babe), you need to watch this. You'll be amazed!!!
*½ Colin T
December 12, 2010
The combat scenes get 4.5 stars but the rest of the movie is terrible. Really really terrible.
***** Matt G
December 11, 2010
I want to be Tony Jaa
****½ Jon K
December 5, 2010
Again people, this is a martial arts film from Thai Land. There doesn't need to be some STUPID plot. Just enough story to bring together the fight scenes is all you need. Tony Jaa is without a doubt the best martial artist working in film today. He is the evolution of martial arts in film as we know it(and to think, he almost took a roll as the villian in Rush Hour 3)! I would love to see him in some bigger budget American films but I don't think he ever will. Jaa makes tons on cash over sea's so why would he come across the pond?
*** Matthew G
November 28, 2010
Ridiculous story but brilliant choreography in the fight scenes which makes up for what's essentially about some bloke trying to find his Elephants that get stolen.
November 27, 2010
low-cost movie, low quality.
***** waylan n November 24, 2010
Kham's life is turned upside down when an international mafia syndicate, based in Australia, captures his two beloved elephants and smuggles them thousands of kilometers away to Sydney. The two elephants are far more than mere animals to Kham and his father; they are part of his family and were being prepared to be presented as a token of devotion to his Majesty the King of Thailand. The only way Kham can possibly save the animals is by venturing into a foreign land for the first time. Taking on a mafia group to rescue two elephants from a foreign country presents a huge challenge, even for a martial arts master like Kham. Despite the help of Sergeant Mark, a Thai police Sergeant based in Australia, and Pla, a Thai girl forced into modern day slavery, the going gets tough. They must take on the ruthless gang of Madame Rose, whose henchmen include Johnny, a Vietnamese thief and martial arts expert, and the hulking TK. Kham has no choice but to risk his own life for the animals he loves.
**** ½ Alex O
November 18, 2010
this movie is off the hook. reminds me of Bruce Lee in a way.
dedeauxann ANN D November 18, 2010
Why can't I watch the whole movie? If I can't watch it then it's no need for me to be a member. Alot of these moview I don't like.
November 16, 2010
Amazing action scenes on par and possibly better than Ong-Bak - the only problem is the plot - random... and the line "Where's my elephant?" will now forever be stuck in my head and not for good reasons - funny when its not supposed to be. Great action bad plot
November 15, 2010
I tried to watch it but it was a little too authentic
*** Kan R November 10, 2010
"Where the hell is my elephant?" : )
**** ½Chad B
November 4, 2010
I loved this movie, amazing fight scenes and tony jaa makes you want to get up and kick some ass