The Protector

Discussion in 'Movies' started by SimonMonty, Aug 20, 2006.

  1. SimonMonty

    SimonMonty Auditioning

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    I just saw a commercial/trailer on TV a few minutes ago for Tony Jaa's new movie the Protector. I loved Ong Bak, but this was a definite surprise. The trailer is in english and the film will have a wide release September 8th.

    The great thing about Tony Jaa is that he doesnt use wires. So when you watch The Protector (or Ong Bak) keep that in mind. I found a trailer on Yahoo! Movies too, for those who havent been able to see it on TV.
     
  2. Brian Dobbs

    Brian Dobbs Ambassador

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    movie looks cool.
     
  3. Kirk Tsai

    Kirk Tsai Screenwriter

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    Hate the American title. It's generic and instantly foregettable.

    Saw this on DVD during the summer when I was in Asia. It's a good follow up to Ong Bak. The action is in a similar vein to Ong Bak, which is to say that it breaks no new ground, but still kicks way too much butt. The script is likewise pretty bad, involving a very complicated, multi-national crime story (I think it had Jaa going from Thailand to Sydney because Chinese criminals captured his elephant).

    There is one stunning shot that seems to last around 4 minutes where Tony Jaa goes up a staircase, and kicks the crap out of people, and a steadicam chases him up. I don't know if I missed the shot break somewhere. If not, this is one of the most astonishing shots I've ever seen.
     
  4. Phil Florian

    Phil Florian Screenwriter

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    I got to see the movie last night at the theater with some of my buds. Being a large fan of martial arts films and on the look out for "the next big thing," especially since the world famous Jackie Chan is getting long in the tooth and Jet Li is supposedly retiring from the martial arts movie game, I found "Ong Bak" to be a very impressive first effort by a genuine new talent with Tony Jaa and had high hopes from the trailers for "The Protector" that his movies would only get better.

    I was mistaken, however. While Jaa's new movie boasts some wonderful choreography and stunts and shows some resemblence to his first outing, this movie fails to capture my imagination as his first film did. While plotting and story aren't always the most important aspect of a martial arts film, some basic understanding of these are still important. While I do appreciate the sometimes more-is-less idea about story and character development, this movie went a bit far.

    The movie has a similar set up as Ong Bak. Jaa plays a simple country man who loves his village and its older traditions. Like Ong Bak, outsiders come into his spiritual world and tear it up, forcing him to jump into action. The original movie had Jaa chasing down his village's sacred artifact while in this movie he chases his village's sacred elephant. While Ong Bak had a much better flow with story and better justifications for different characters to be involved with the story, "The Protector" finds the story as a mediocre interference with the action. Set piece action scene gives way to set piece action scene but there are no characters we can identify with or support because they are so thinly drawn, if drawn at all.

    The action scenes are nifty and maybe with a better vehicle would have sold the movie. There is a great scene at a temple where we see Jaa's Muai Thai go against capoeira, a highly underused Brazilian martial arts. It is a great fight but you have to wonder...who is this bad guy? He is never connected to the main villain(s) of the picture. Neither is the cool sword guy and then giant mountain of a man that are in the remainder of the scene. There is another Xtreme biking/skating/rollerblading team that fights Jaa. Again, a fun scene but completely devoid of any logic or reason...and I am not saying I need a lot. Just a teeny bit would do.

    So if you like Jaa's martial arts style, this will probably at a base level satisfy but if you like a little coherence for your money, this might be a better rental or matinee showing. Me, I am holding out for Ronny Yu's "Fearless" and man, there was a great trailer for Yimou Zhang's "Curse of the Golden Flower." THAT looks like some fun storytelling mixed with martial arts.
     
  5. Kirk Tsai

    Kirk Tsai Screenwriter

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    Saw this again in theaters. I am not entirely sure, but I believe the movie has been cut slightly, and some of the music changed.

    Outside of Tony Jaa and the action sequences, Ong Bak was a bad movie, but this is an atrocious one. The action does not really rival Ong Bak either, though the capoeira fight Phil mentioned is a big highlight. Still, when it comes to the end of the movie, and Jaa goes off cracking people's bones, there is a giddiness in the collective audience.

    I really could not detect a shot break in the staircase shot. There is no obvious "let's use the door as a break," Rope-type of camera move. Just to think of the coordination, choreography, and blocking of this shot boggles the mind.

    Look out for a cameo early in the movie, similar to what was done in The Rundown.
     
  6. TheLongshot

    TheLongshot Producer

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    Tony Jaa confirmed this in an interview with AICN.

    To be honest, after seeing Ong Bak, I wouldn't expect a great movie. Really, the only reason to watch Jaa's movies is to see what eye popping thing he does next. The plots and the acting in Ong Bak were substandard even for HK films.

    Jason
     
  7. Jeff Jacobson

    Jeff Jacobson Cinematographer

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    Type in "The Protector" into the IMDB title search and you'll get a lot of matches, including a Jackie Chan movie. One year there was apparenlty two movies released with this title.
     
  8. BrianB

    BrianB Producer

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    The US release is cut by about ten minutes, according to the newspaper article I read yesterday.
     
  9. ChrisBEA

    ChrisBEA Screenwriter

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    I think there was a bit more than 10 minutes cut.... I have seen the original listed as 109 minutes, and this was barely 80.
     
  10. RyanAn

    RyanAn Screenwriter

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    At the theatre I work at it's listed as 84 minutes, I believe with previews and commercials.

    I had a lot of fun with the movie and really dug the near five minute onw shot.

    ry
     
  11. Henry Gale

    Henry Gale Producer

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    It was an amazing piece of dance....I wonder how many times they had to shoot it.
     
  12. ChrisMatson

    ChrisMatson Cinematographer

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  13. Mikah Cerucco

    Mikah Cerucco Cinematographer

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    Tony Jaa has covered most of the questions in interviews. Aint it cool news has one such interview up.

    - Yes, the movie is cut in the R1. Supposedly to "tighten it up".
    - The stair scene is done in one steadycam take. They had to do it 8 times to get it right.

    I still much prefer Ong Bak. This movie felt like one reviewer I read -- people were literally lining up waiting to be beaten down.
     
  14. Michael Gunde

    Michael Gunde Auditioning

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    I prefer Tom Yum Goong for the simple reason that it doesn't have those godawful and VERY annoying instant replays Ong Bak has.

    Personally I found the capoeira fight boring but loved the one with Nathan Jones - that man is a mountain!!!
     
  15. Phil Florian

    Phil Florian Screenwriter

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    This is EXACTLY how my friends and I joked about it during that one particularly long version of "Hello, here is my arm. Would you break it, please?" scene. It was almost a parody of the Crazy 88 fight in "Kill Bill" but in that movie it was done with more panache and variety.

    Another scene that was fun but ridiculous was the Xtreme biker fight where they chased Tony around with nearly harmless flourescent lights. Having seen "40 Year Old Virgin" and a guy getting wacked on the back with one only to cry, "ow!" they just don't seem that threatening. I was hoping they would do something like the very good "Pedicab Driver" (starring Sammo Hung) where they had two guys yank lights from the ceiling only to do a very fun parody of a lightsaber duel, with appropriate sound effects. THAT is how you handle weird fight scenes.

    While I didn't care for the "Let's show the same stunt 5 times from beginning to end" replays, I still think Ong Bak was a better movie. They aren't art but neither were many early Jackie Chan movies. I think when Tony Jaa gets a good team of artists around him to craft a vehicle for him that balances his amazing physical talents with his natural charisma he will do well. Unlike many martial artists in movies he has a natural charm to him that doesn't need to be forced (as it was in "The Protector"). He just needs to relax a bit.

    I wonder if there are any cool Thai directors out their itching to do a martial arts movie? Sort of a version of China's Yimou Zhang who went from quality art-house fare to fun, epic and colorful martial arts movies. It can happen. Someone will snap Tony up, I have no doubt. All the crazy bad CGI of the ancient Thai warriors made me think how cool it would be to see Tony in a period piece of his nation. That would be amazing (again, if not handled by his usual compadres).
     
  16. Harry Lincoln

    Harry Lincoln Stunt Coordinator

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    Just to clarify a point made above, the US theatrical cut has been trimmed by 27 minutes, the soundtrack was also re-scored for the US market and a DTS track added. The international cut has DD5.1 only.

    Harry.
     
  17. Rakesh.S

    Rakesh.S Second Unit

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    i thought the movie was alright..tony jaa is definitely the next big thing, if he can learn english and polish his acting skills.
     

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