SPOILER ALERT!! (do not read further if you don’t want to know deets)
Last night I had some time to watch Tom Yum Goong 2 (Protector 2 to Western releases), and to be frank, it was dissatisfying and tasteless.
I had high expectations for this sequel the come back of Tony Jaa, after his long break. It is directed by Prachya Pinkaew who did a great job with Jaa’s previous films. However, this time I don’t think they hit the target. Although the film seemed to have a massive budget, it wasn’t used in a productive way.
Now down to the nitty gritty! The fight scenes! …hmmm I wasn’t pleased! Fight scenes lacked the technicality of techniques, the usual signature acrobatics, and the style of ‘hitting for real’ that we have been accustomed to in Jaa’s previous films. There were no acrobatics, flips, spin kicks (tricking) etc. There was some, but it was fast cut and shot with close ups. The fighting at a point, just became exhausting thinking, ‘when is this gonna end’?! With not much peak and fall that played into the story, it just reached a plateau. I think the, fight scenes were also watered down by the fact of the big budget they worked with. Using green screens (YES GREEN SCREENS) and obvious wire work to perform certain moves, which takes away the soul of the action and the believability of the moves performed. Also the fact that it was shot in 3D, there were a lot of slow motion close ups! WHY?!! Where are the shots where we see everything and the beauty of the martial arts!? CARN Tony Jaa!! You don’t need this technology! That’s what I loved about his previous films like ‘Tom yum goong’ and ‘Ong bak’, it was grounded and real! There wasn’t a real challenge with real martial artists/ stunt men like the first movie how they got people from around the world (eg. Lateef Crowder, Johnny Nguyen, Jon Foo). RZA as the boss? Puh-LEASEEEEe!!!!
The Stunts. There were some stunts that you would go “WOAH”!! however there wasn’t enough. I WANTED MORE!!! Again, some stunts were performed on a green screen and wire work. Which killed the believability. There was one scene in particular, where Tony jump building to building. I was hoping it would be shot from a distance so we can see the distance and the danger of such a stunt. But it was shot as a 1st person view, which was an awkward moment. I don’t know if they were being creative in shooting the stunt or they are trying to hide the fact that they were using wire work again?? T_T Why can’t they have shot the stunt like Jackie Chan’s ‘Rumble in the Bronx’, set up multiple cameras and see the stunt be performed in full view?! sigh
The story, PREDICTABLE! well obviously for an action movie you would expect much story development. Guess what?! THEY TOOK HIS ELEPHANT AGAIN?! man!! thats original! urrgghhh I also hoped Jija Yanin (from Chocolate & Raging Phoenix), had a better developed story and fought together alongside Jaa’s character rather having her own agenda, as she performed great fight scenes and stunts. But we are only interested in Jaa’s character right?! You get some references to the first film but didn’t play much of a part in this one.
Overall, it was O.K. nothing special or memorable to take away. I wouldn’t watch it again or add it to my favourite collection of martial arts movies. It FLOPPED like a soft cock! There was some scenes that would excite, but for me didn’t hit the spot. I don’t know that is just my opinion. I have seen heaps of great martial arts movies. This wasn’t one of them. I recommend definitely watching it and making your own opinion. I think NINJA 2: Shadow of a tear starring Scott Adkins, was a WAY better film, technical fight scenes and solid story which you could watch on its own without having to watch the first movie. Jaa should have got Adkins to star with him. Like the sequels of his previous films (Ong Bak2 and Ong Bak 3), it didn’t do well. Maybe because the fight scenes were choreographed by JAA himself and not by Panna Rittikrai as the action director as he made Jaa look great in Ong Bak and the first movie.
Well anyway, TONY JAA is on the hollywood band wagon now. With the roles in FAST7, A man will rise, SPL 2: Rise of Wong Po and Skin Trade. I hope hollywood can make good use of Tony and show off his TRUE skills without the use of thea-TRICKS.
THE PROTECTOR comes out in Australia to blu-ray and DVD In Stores March 19 2014!