REVIEW: Warrior King (Tom-Yum-Goong/The Protector)

 

Some films don’t need overly complicated plots or major character development. They just need Tony Jaa, plenty of goons, and a dedicated steadicam to keep up with all the carnage along the way.

 

Don’t fuck with another man’s elephant is the moral lesson in Warrior King. Yes, when Kham (Jaa) has his elephant, Por Yai, and his calf, Kohrn, stolen and whisked off to Austrailia by a cocky Vietnamese gangster (Johnny Nguyen), he strives to rescue the sacred animal he grew up with.

 

The plot’s that simple, really, which leaves plenty of room for the most gifted martial artist of the moment to incorporate his own style of Muay Thai. With help from choreographer Panna Rittikrai, Warrior King showcases some tremendous fight scenes, all of which constantly outdo themselves as the film progresses.

 

The pick of a huge bunch includes a ten-minute unedited sequence where Jaa storms enemy headquarters and beats the living crap out of everyone taking a shot at him on the spiralling staircases. There’s also an awesome battle inside a burning temple, which begins with Capoeira practitioner Lateef Crowder and ends with former WWE wrestler Nathan Jones; and an absolute moment of carnage involving a countless number of suited thugs, which has more limb breaks then twenty Seagal films put together.

 

There’s no wires and very limited CGI work, and there’s plenty of slow-motion cinematography to emphasize the true force of a Tony Jaa kick to the face. Warrior King is by no means a faultless movie (the storyline, for one, may seem overly sentimental to some), but it’s without doubt an incredible action spectacle that has to be seen to be believed.

 

 

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