Let me start this off by saying I have always been huge Tony Jaa fan. To me, the original Ong Bak and The Protector are both brilliant movies, and very much modern martial arts masterpieces. So please understand, it is with a very heavy heart I write this right now. I am also a huge RZA fan (as you can see here), so I also mean no disrespect to him and his slow and somewhat impressive foray into martial art films so far.
That being said, you can like Tony Jaa and adore RZA, but that still doesn’t make this movie any less of a lumpy turd, sitting in your slipper, just waiting for you to slide your feet into it. I am here right now to kick your slipper away before you slide your naked foot into wet shit. Seriously. It’s that bad. In my opinion, The Protector 2 is the worst movie of 2014 so far (besides the Oldboy remake) and I don’t see anything changing that anytime soon.
Yes, it is THIS awful.
So you guys remember the Protector, right? The movie responsible for one of the best “one shot takes” in film? As a matter of fact, it is a scene that is so good, I feel the need to start this off by sharing it all with you.
This is so well choreographed a scene, I look at it like ninja ballet.
The Protector was about a man who has his elephant stolen and is willing to use any means necessary to ensure its safe return. Use any means refers to the fact that the main actor in this film, Tony Jaa, is insanely good at Muay Thai and basically just beats ass for two hours. It was simple, but the joy one derived from the film was derived from the fact that watching Tony Jaa kick ass is like watching a ballet of butt whooping. Dude is not only insane at throwing elbows and knees (which in simple terms is kinda what Muay Thai is about) but is also insane at free running and parkour. I will illuminate this with a single scene from Ong Bak.
Not only is that one of the coolest scenes in the movie, that is one of the coolest scenes in ANY movie.
I know what you guys must be thinking, right now. He brought us here to talk about Protector 2, and is not talking about it. I know, I first have to set up how good Jaa usually is and how enjoyable his former movies have been, before it will make sense just how awful The Protector 2 is. Remember when you were a kid and you would make your GI-Joe’s do insane flip kicks and impossible stunts and you would place them into nonsensical battle scenes that were more like orgies of idiocy than anything resembling an action film? That, my friends, is The Protector 2, and please don’t let that fool you into thinking it is good. This is offensively bad film making that needs to be avoided at all costs.
Now Keep something in mind before I start listing all that is wrong with this film. I don’t like talking shit about movies. You can read through hundreds of articles I have written across many sites, yet you will rarely find me saying anything that is extremely negative or hurtful about films or other mediums. Why? Because I truly respect anyone who tries to tell a story in any way that they may. In the same breath, though, I don’t want people who I know are fans of good film to waste their time on a film that has no redeemable qualities. Yes, The Protector 2 has NO redeemable qualities. Sorry, but it’s true.
So is it the plot that kills it? Well, this is one of those sequels that falls into the “if the first movie worked, let’s just do that again” school of thought. So, um, Tony Jaa gets his elephant stolen again. Guess what? Much like in the first movie, Tony Jaa is not having any part of that, so he goes on an ass kicking rampage. This is where the crap starts. About fifteen minutes in to this film is what is very much the worst fight scene I have ever seen in a martial arts movie happens. I am going to try my best to explain this, but it is hard to explain an abortion.
Yo Rem, that abortion joke is a little extreme, don’t you think?
Tony Jaa is on the roof of a building, and he is fighting guys riding dirt bikes. Let me say this again, one more time so your mind can try to paint it out for you. He is on a roof in Bangkok, and dudes are driving at him on dirt bikes like they are raging bulls. ON A F*(%$ING ROOF. Wait, where are these guys coming from? What makes them think dirt bikes lean this at all in their favor? Seems to me the first guy who “wheelies” at Tony Jaa and gets tossed would have alerted the remaining guys that the “dirt bike approach” was not a good idea, but no such luck. Two dozen guys and dirt bikes later, I am staring at my screen with my mouth hanging open, shocked at the level of idiocy I was forced to try to comprehend. I know these types of movies thrive off over-the-top fight scenes, but this was awful. Abysmal. And for me, rage inducing. The whole movie tries to recreate all the awesome scenes from Ong Bak, but seems like a blind kid with special needs is the one who is making it. Here, peep the original:
Trust me when I tell you the bike scene in The Protector 2 cannot even touch this.
As I mentioned earlier, RZA from Wu-Tang (who we all know are for the children) is in this movie as the bad guy. I made a very specific promise to myself early in my career to never say anything bad about any members of Wu-Tang, so I will just leave it at that. See The Man with the Iron Fists if you want to see what RZA can really do. If you are fan of his, please, skip this movie. Sorry Bobby Digital. I need to keep shit real. Your band helped teach me that.
Finally, the thing that did it for me and convinced me that I needed to write this and warn fellow souls like me. Do you guys remember the scene from Ong Bak where Tony Jaa LITERALLY lights his legs on fire and beats a guy’s ass? Well, if you watch the behind-the-scenes for that film, you see it was very much real. The nail in the coffin for this movie is that he, wait for it, wait for it, wait for it, lights his feet on fire and fights like two dozen guys in a room where the walls are on fire. The kicker (pun intended) is that it is ALL awful CG, and they forego the idea of realism entirely by leaving out smoke and never addressing the fact that rubber shoes would melt. That, for me, was the straw that broke my back while watching this movie. Don’t even get me started on the f*^%$ing exploding missile tusks that happen later in the movie. By that time, my mind had already taken me to my happy place. I would say Spoiler Alert, but trust me, drinking spoiled milk is better than watching this awful miscarriage of a film. Seriously, stare at the pic below for 90 minutes instead. It is way more entertaining.
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