Saturday, September 23, 2006

The Protector

This morning the Lady Downstairs and I headed to Chinatown for dim sum; we went to the "usual," Grand Chau Chow (I think I got the name right). Next time I go I would like to try one of the other ones that are nearby, just to compare. Chau Chow has decent dim sum, though, it's a good fall-back place.

The Boston Commons theaters are no longer operated by Loews (unless Loews got bought out by AMC), and Fenway is no longer AMC--it's Regal Cinemas.

The Lady Downstairs wanted to see The Protector (Apple trailer), because it stars Tony Jaa, the Thai muay thai sensation. (An interview with him.) She loved him in Ong Bak. I haven't watched Ong Bak yet; the Lady Downstairs says it is a better movie, and I'm inclined to think so as well, based on the reviews I've read. By the way, the original name for the movie is Tom Yum Goong, it's the name of the soup that so many people like plus the name of the "exotic foods" restaurant in the movie. The Lady Downstairs doesn't think Tony Jaa is that handsome (and he has a high-pitched voice), but he does have a good body. Or was there another reason for the attraction? (His fighting skills? Haha.)

John Mark Butterworth wrote this review for the movie. I'd have to agree with his comments on the plot, script, dubbing, and editing... as an action movie I thought it was... not so good. Watching him knock down a bunch of people over and over again, like a human bowling ball gets repetitive. When Wong Fei Hung does it in the Once Upon a Time in China movies, at least the sequences are short. The sequences with Tony Jaa fighting a "big baddie" were quite good, though. And there were some literally big baddies--the 7-ft tall wrestler types who show up towards the end.

It reminded me of something similar in Fearless--apparently the only martial arts Westerners can do is some sort of mix between wrestling and boxing. Jet Li and the wrestler:

Heck, it might even be the same actor! haha! And it is! Nathan Jones! (More photos pertaining to Fearless.)

There is a fight in a Buddhist temple between Jaa and a capoeira artist, which was interesting. (I wonder how useful capoeria is, in real life...) After the capoeira guy went down, a wushu guy with a Chinese broadsword replaced him. Muay thai fighters look tough, and they are known for harsh training practices (strengthening their shins, etc.) and fights (like using broken glass in their hand guards), but I wonder if they are really that powerful. Has a muay thai fighter taken part in shoot boxing or something similar in Japan?

There was a woman in the row behind us (Sarge can guess what I'm talking about) making comments during the fight scenes. "Give it to him!" "Mm-hmm!" "Ow!" "Ooooh." Well, I'm glad she enjoyed the movie.

The Lady Downstairs thinks there are some racist undertones--the Chinese Dragon Lady, the Chinese gang, the Anglo-Australian cops who make comments about their Thai colleague, etc. Or is she being only half-serious? haha

"Where are my elephants!"

Misc Links
Muay Thai resource guide
World Muay Thai Council
Thai Boxing Association of the USA

Intro to Capoeira; Capoeira Arts; Capoeira SJ; Capoeira Brasil

Bongkoj Khongmalai, she stars in The Protector; my guess is that Range won't think she is as pretty as Thais of mixed heritage.

photos accompany this press release

Thai actress, Pumwaree Yodkamol (stars in Ong Bak)

There were some trailers for horror movies, including the TCM: The Beginning and The Grudge 2; I discouraged The Lady Downstairs from watching the first since I knew what movie it was, and I think she avoided watching the one for The Grudge. Curious--Sarah Michelle Gellar gets star billing for the movie, but the trailer gives away the fact that her character is killed off. I'm not sure if I would pay money to see it, though there were some interesting aspects to the movie. They also played the trailer for Deja Vu--it might be ok, but it does have Denzel Washington, and he gets to wear SWAT gear, so... Apparently Jim Caviezel is in the movie, but I don't recall seeing him in the trailer. Plus Val Kilmer? I guess I'd have to rewatch it; it's a possible give-away that one of them is the villain? Or maybe it's outdated and inaccurate casting news.

After the movie...
After the movie we took a walk through the Common, and then on to Newbury Street. Although it was a cloudy day, there were still people walking down Newbury doing their shopping. (Ugh, the conversations...) I did see a group of Japanese students walk by--some were quite cute, I'm sure Range would like to have met them. The Lady Downstairs went to Toppers; she picked up a black beret, and will purchase a green one there, sooner or later. (Evidently she loses her berets easily.) Oh, she also liked the pair of jeans she was wearing today, having inherited them by "divine right"--they apparently fit her quite well, though the legs probably need to be shortened. Alas, a lot of young people wear jeans that are too long for them, and the edges end up becoming frayed after constact friction with the floor or ground. Young people...

I dropped by the Sanrio store--not too many dolls in there. I wonder if they special order.


Lady Downstairs said...

Good report! The beret is dark blue, though, not black. As for why I like Tony Jaa movies....that is a secret!

I liked Ong Bak better for many reasons, including its really cool stunts. The Protector had fewer stunts; instead it showed the hero breaking and dislocating bones in a myriad of ways. I was grossed out by the crunching noises.

Ong Bak had a barely sentient huge Australian guy, and The Protector had four or five. White people were largely absent from Ong Bak--I think they just played tourists. There weren't too many of them. In The Protector, there were more white people--since it was set mostly in Australia--but the white people were all criminals, crooked and/or didn't like Thais. The worst ones were being controlled by a rich Chinese family. Weirdly the Australian-Asians spoke English with American, not Australian, accents, and I wonder if Sydney looks quite as Asian as all that.

I am wondering what the HUGE white guy thing is all about. But the Chinese didn't come off well either. In Ong Bak, there was one Chinese bad guy, but he wasn't the principal bad guy. In fact, he got up the nose of the principal, probably Thai, bad guy. Here all the Chinese were really bad. In this movie, you were good only if you were Thai or an elephant. Oh, and there were no white women in this movie, which cannot reflect modern day Australia.

As usual there is no love interest for Tony Jaa's character. Maybe this is to show how single-minded he is about his quest. I wrote a mini sequel to Ong Bak in which an ex-Japanese general with a team of Australian henchwomen kidnaps Ting's white wife. There is a comical priest involved. The guy who always plays Tony Jaa's buddy could play him.

Asian Princess said...

Tony Jaa just doesn't cut it as an action hero! He doesn't even come close to Jet Li. He should be delivering food on a bicycle instead of trying to act. Leave the action movies to real men like Jet Li.