The Protector 2 Blu-ray Review
Anytime an American action film hits unexpected paydirt at the box office, you can rest assure that a sequel is in the works before the till closes on the opening weekend. And depending on who is involved with the project, sequels can expand on the original writer’s or director’s vision, enabling them to flesh out ideas that they only dreamed of capturing on camera – most of the time though it’s just more money for bigger explosions and a higher death toll. So when a foreign action film is able to make some noise here in the States, even in the DVD and download market, you can “double down” that an even more obnoxious set of standards are involved with a film like THE PROTECTOR 2.
The owner of a large elephant camp attempts to purchase an elephant named Khon from his owner Kham (Tony Jaa, ONG BACK). When Kham refuses, Khon is kidnapped. Kham finds the owner of the camp to have been already killed as he walks right into a setup. Now the primary suspect in a murder investigation, Kham tries to avoid the police and infiltrate the underworld gang that framed him as he tries to recover his beloved elephant.
THE PROTECTOR 2 is certainly not trying to protect any sense of real-world scenarios throughout a quilt of action sequences tied into a sham of a movie. Even though Tony Jaa is a phenomenal martial artist, his talents are sinfully wasted in this film as the director obviously wanted him to channel his inner Jackie Chan for most of the first half, continuously setting up Jaa’s character to have to run away from the bad guys while fighting them while making cliché faces and noises of a cartoon character.
The plot attempts to convince you that the film is deeper than just a guy trying to get back his elephant by inserting some politics and espionage, but ultimately those are just vehicles to give the main antagonist LC (RZA, DJANGO UNCHAINED) something more to do than just have his legion of numbered tattoo fighters entertain him by almost killing each other. RZA as always is entertaining to watch on screen, but it’s painfully evident that he cannot hold his own in a martial arts arena with trained experts as his speed and technique do not garner any credibility as being able to portray a character that can go head to head with someone as highly trained as Jaa.
There are of course the standard epic fight scenes between Jaa’s character and the big bads, but they come off as just some really cool YouTube videos crowbarred into an absurd script with jarring special effects and directorial POV’s that clumsily stutter the fluid action, which is really the only attribute the film has going for it.
THE PROTECTOR 2 is obviously trying to emulate an over-the-top Jason Statham type of actionpalooza, however the exaggerations are more silly than shocking and Tony Jaa has nowhere near the charm or intriguing personality to pull it off.
Video: 1080p/AVC MPEG-4, 2.35:1 Widescreen: Some films require a slight to moderate scaling back of today’s ultra glossy, HD quality video to ensure the proper feel and tone of the subject matter. However for a martial arts film, you want and expect all dials to be turned to the max. Unfortunately THE PROTECTOR 2 could not even deliver on this most basic attribute as many of the scenes are soft and the digital effects are amateurish at best. Black levels are also rather murky and contrast as whole lacked a definite “pop.”
Audio: Thai and English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1: The audio track is neither worthy of praise or criticism. It does the minimum needed to deliver clear dialogue, and offers some good and some bad surround sound qualities during action sequences but overall fails to use the full spectrum of the channels.
Behind the Scenes (22 min): Although mostly subtitled, the 4 featurettes, i.e., “Cast and Characters,” “Speaking with the Director,” “Action and Stunts,” “Working in 3D,” are substantial in providing insight into the characters and how they tie into the first film, and technical info on how a director must adjust when filming with 3D in mind.
AXS TV: A Look at The Protector 2 (3 min): A promo for the film from AXS TV.
Trailers: A few different cuts of the theatrical trailer.