Thursday, July 31, 2014
THE PROTECTOR 2 brings the wires, the C.G.I. and the boring.
I could spend all day writing about how the plot to this story makes no sense or how the RZA should stop acting in stuff. I could do that but really even if a martial arts movie has bad acting or a terrible plot the film can still be good if the action scenes are great. THE PROTECTOR 2 fails on every account. The best thing about the THE PROTECTOR was Tony Jaa doing amazing feats without the use of wires. Everything from hits to jumps looked real. It is probably very dangerous to make a kung-fu movie in Thailand. But the results are on the screen. Now every fight scene or action moment is layered with a coat of C.G.I. fakery that lets us know nothing happening is really happening. Never once do you find yourself invested in the movie gasping as you see Tony Jaa avoid what certainly should have been a near death experience. All the action is a collection of quick cuts that never allows the punches to hit hard or give the audience a moment to awe over. Gone is the long track takes of Tony fighting countless bad guys in perfect choreography completely captured on film without relying on different cuts and angles. There is no flow to the action in this movie.
What makes Tony Jaa so special and so important is lost to the computer technology and the strange desire to go bigger and bigger with every movie. I am sure the same thing will happen to him when he starts making movies here in the states. If they made a more simple but better told story with hard hitting action that did not rely on quick multiple edits and computer tech to enhance the visuals then they could make the new standard in action films. They still seem to be only able to tell stories about a guy who loses something and he needs to go get it back. You will never forget ONG BAK or THE PROTECTOR. THE PROTECTOR 2 however is almost immediately forgettable. I will probably stop buying Thai films for awhile until they get back their reputation of realism. I don't like the direction the current crop of kung-fu films from that region have been heading. They are too reliant on wires and computers. I couldn't even finish watching ONG BAK 3 and I watch anything. If you are looking for the next best action/kung-fu film then I suggest THE RAID and THE RAID 2.