This fight scene from The Protector, which shows star Tony Jaa ass-whupping his way up the levels of a high-rise restaurant full of opponents in one continuous tracking shot, is pretty amazing. I’m not a huge fan of martial arts movies, having gorged my fill in the Seventies when Bruce Lee and his Hong Kong colleagues emerged to take America by storm, but I’d heard enough about Jaa to make me curious. He really is the shit. I particularly appreciate his disdain for wire-fu trickery, and his reliance on spectacular mastery of muay thai. The film is also made with a slightly higher degree of artistry than one would expect, especially in the early scenes when we see his character’s family raising elephants in the backwoods of Thailand. Not since Dumbo traumatized me at a tender age have I been so inclined to weep over the injustices done to pachyderms. Time to put Jaa’s breakout feature, Ong Bak, on my NetFlix queue.
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