The 10 Craziest Stunts from The Protector (2005)
2005 was a big year for martial arts star Tony Jaa, who had just emerged from a peak after releasing The Incredible Ong-Bak: The Thai warrior. Fans of action movies were amazed at the feats Jaa was able to accomplish, which did not include any gadgets, threads, or CGIs of any kind. He was the real deal and a Jackie Chan for a new generation.
His big follow-up film was The protector, also known as Warrior king or Tom yum goong, an ambitious project that sought to surpass what he had done before with even more breathtaking stunts. From start to finish, this fast-paced action classic delivers a level of excitement that only the best underground martial arts movies can hope to match, and reinforces Tony Jaa’s status as one of the greats.
ten Flying Knee Domino Attack
The first 20 minutes of The protector is devoted to setting up the overall story of the main character Kham’s precious relationship with a majestic war elephant named Por Yai and her calf, Kohrn. The two are stolen by poachers during the Songkran festival in Thailand, and Kham decides to take matters into his own hands.
His first big shot in the film comes when he infiltrates the house of a corrupt MP allied with poachers and throws one of them into a wall. As the gang prepares to fight, Kham soars across the room with a devastating flying knee attack that knocks them all down at once.
9 Kham throws a streetlamp
It’s no secret that Tony Jaa is a talented martial artist. His stunts are spectacular and he is more than capable of giving iconic legend Jackie Chan a major run for his money. He proves it in the first half of the film when he confronts a thug armed with a knife who doesn’t seem very confident.
Kham kicks the knife with his hand, then demonstrates his superior skills by doing an incredible jump kick that shatters a street lamp above his head. It is one of the most astonishing feats in the history of martial arts cinema, and a hallmark of Jaa who actually broke the world record for the highest kick.
8 The Backflip Handstand
It’s really amazing how talented some martial arts actors and stuntmen are, and Jaa is at the top of her game. One of the most amazing stunts in the whole movie takes place when he’s attacked by a bunch of extreme sports enthusiasts who hit him with everything from fluorescent bulbs to off-road motorcycles.
When one of the runners tries to knock him down, Kham does a last minute backflip over a narrow ledge that ends in a pear tree. It then makes its way through the small ledge before descending with a front flip of a crate. The level of technicality and skill required to succeed in such a movement is difficult to understand.
7 The glass window kick off
In the last part of the battle against the sports gang, Kham is attacked by a thug driving a four-wheeled ATV. It’s a heart-wrenching scene that sees the rider get on two wheels in an attempt to roll straight over his head. Narrowly avoiding the attack, Kham runs in the opposite direction as the horseman launches the chase.
In a biting slow-motion shot, Kham runs to a glass window and backflip it, milliseconds before the ATV rider crosses it. If the timing of this stunt was shifted even by half a second, Tony Jaa could have been seriously injured, or worse.
6 Kham Flash kicks Johnny through a door
After making his way to the infamous Tom Yum Goong Otob in a single continuous and dazzling shot, and one of Tony Jaa’s best fight scenes, Kham finds himself facing an infamous restaurant feeding his clientele. numerous of all kinds of endangered and exotic species. animals. This infuriates Kham, who hires Johnny and his men after they taunt him about the plight of his elephants.
At first, Johnny seems to have the upper hand, but Kham ends up dominating Johnny’s men, before performing a street fighter-style flash kick that sends Johnny face first through the window of a pair of steel doors. It’s an amazing and cool way to unlock a room.
5 The tornado strike
One of the coolest moves in contemporary martial arts cinema is the famous tornado hit, made famous by the incredible Scott Adkins. In The protector, Tony Jaa handles a tornado hit himself, just as graceful and devastating as the best Adkins has to offer.
While he is hiding in a Buddhist monastery, a trio of villains attack and set him on fire. Kham returns and confronts them, one by one. First, he takes out a master fighter in Capoeira, one of the worst styles of martial arts in a movie, analyzing his rhythm and patterns to design counterattacks. He finishes it off with a truly punishing tornado kick that knocks him down for the count.
4 The Strike of the Leaping Mallet
The fight against the Capoeira master was tough enough, and not one of the best martial arts styles in a movie, but Kham has yet to complete the Buddhist temple scene. Next, he faces off against a wushu swordsman who turns out to be quite lethal with a blade. With nothing to fall back on except his own limbs, Kham realizes he needs to improve his chances.
Kham equalizes the score by grabbing a pair of giant gong mallets to compete with his sword. The wushu fighter runs after Kham and attempts to stab him, but Kham responds by making an incredible circular jump that allows him to dodge the attack and punch him to death in the chest with the heavy mallet.
3 Double stroke knee attack
Kham loses the fight in the Buddhist temple against the third fighter, a beefy wrestler who turns out to be too much for him. The sudden arrival of the police prevents things from going any further, but Kham is lucky enough to get revenge in the film’s final act when he interrupts a lecture.
Right off the bat, both fighters are ready for the second round and they run as fast as possible towards each other. Kham makes up for his much smaller size by putting everything he has in a sweeping knee attack that impacts the wrestler in the head, knocking him to the ground. It’s a move that can’t be faked with the cunning of the camera.
2 The helicopter Uppercut kick
After her henchmen are taken down by a relentless Kham, the evil Madame Rose attempts a daring last-minute escape aboard a helicopter on the roof of the building. Kham chases after her and prevents her from getting into the helicopter, but she is not his only target.
His personal aide tries to help him get into the helicopter while reaching the door. In a mirror image of the aforementioned kicking stunt, Kham replicates the movement by leaping into the air and kicking him in the face, knocking him off the helicopter and onto the roof.
1 The rooftop jump attack
Madame Rose manages to gain the upper hand over Kham after he takes a moment to knock out his accomplice. For a moment, it looks like she might actually escape, especially when the helicopter clears the roof. However, Kham is not done with it yet.
He performs a death-defying jump from the roof of the building and hits her with a knee attack, knocking her off the helicopter’s ski and sending her plunging through a glass ceiling. Kham barely survives the fall, being “saved” by the skeletal remains of his beloved elephant, Por Yai. As the scene ends, Tony Jaa solidifies his status as one of the most beloved and best action movie stars.
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