Saturday, February 25, 2012

Mass Casualty

I went to see Tony Jaa in The Protector tonight.

Holy living hell.

The man is immortal. I mean Ong Bak was a decent movie with pretty mind-blowing low-budget action. But in The Protector - the man takes it to another level. He is the Bruce Lee of the modern age - there is no question about it now.

As a film the movie itself is 80% good - even the elephants work somehow - you actually care about the elephants. Of course there is a little Asian movie weirdness - got to have a gang on roller blades or something to muck-it-up. But other than that slight awkwardness of that one skating gang (which has amazing action so I'm not complaining too much) and some bad editing in the beginning - the movie is martial arts gold.

Tony Jaa is the man - he is a human wrecking machine. Meaning he wrecks humans - that is all he does through the entire film - oh yeah that and yell "Where's my elephant?!"

What really puts Jaa on the map for me as possibly one of the best movie martial artists ever is the obligatory mass casualty scene. Jaa is no dodge 'em Jackie Chan type - he is a "kill every last muther in the room" type of mass fighter.

One man versus many - a ridiculously super-human number of foes.

The two that come to mind for comparison are Kill Bill 1 and The Chinese Connection.

The sword fight in Kill Bill 1 gets a lot of accolades as the best mass casualty fight in modern movies. I think that's a load of crap and I'll tell you why. Because of The Protector. Tony Jaa in this movie's mass fight scene makes Uma and her stunt double look like a pair of hobbled cows doing jumping-jacks in a field of cow-pies.

The mass fight in The Protector rivals the scene in The Chinese Connection when Bruce Lee takes on the dojo. I shit you not. The dojo scene in The Chinese Connection is arguably Bruce Lee's best mass casualty fight. To me it set the standard for one man against many and that standard has never been matched (See what I mean by watching the dojo fight here). Other movies have great mass fights - don't get me wrong (Streetfighter, several Jackie Chan movies, some Jet Li) but none come close to creating a new precedent for martial arts films. The Protector does.

Tony Jaa destroys about 40 guys. I mean really destroys them. It is exhilarating and gut-wrenching and it goes on for ever. I loved it. I cheered. The whole frigging crowd cheered and hollered and ohh-ed and ahh-ed. It was in-fucking-credible. Best mass fight (well ass-kicking really) in modern movies - bar-none.

Aside from the mass-casualty fight - Jaa is on fire through the rest of the movie as well. I can't believe how fast that guy is or how hard he hits.

Seriously - any of you martial arts flicks fans out there - get your ass to the theater to see this thing. The moves are too incredible to miss on the big screen.

Originally posted on September 21, 2006 on Myspace.

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