Back in 2003, Tony Jaa was the biggest name in punching things, thanks to the release of “Ong Bak,” the Thai martial-arts film that, at the time, provoked a similar reaction to “The Raid,” only set in Bangkok instead of Jakarta. “Ong Bak 2” didn’t quite pan out so well, however, and although Jaa is set for a role in “Fast & Furious 7” he’s never broken out in the west. Nor has Prachya Pinkaew, who made “Ong Bak” and who also directed Jaa in “The Protector,” which came out stateside (in a somewhat cut-down version – thanks, Harvey) in 2006.
Now, though, “The Protector 2” is on its way, and it’s gathering a little more attention thanks to the presence of RZA, erstwhile Wu-Tang clan leader (actually, I think Wu-Tang membership is for life) and current martial-arts enthusiast: he directed and acted in martial-arts insanity-fest “The Man With the Iron Fists” in 2012, and behold, here he is in Bangkok, going toe-to-toe with Jaa.
Actually, the trailer is mostly about motorcycles and not about the central plot point of “The Protector 2,” which happens to be the story of the first movie: namely, that somebody is trying to steal Tony Jaa’s pet elephant (no, really). This is obviously the single best plot-driver ever conceived, but the canny trailer-makers have ensured that you’ll have to see the whole movie to get a taste of the pachyderm action. Still, it all looks pretty fun. “The Protector 2” hits on May 2nd.