aka ต้มยำกุ้ง 2 aka The Protector 2 2013 Written by Eakisit Thairaat
Directed by Prachya Pinkaew
An elephant gets stolen again, causing Tony Jaa to kick lots of people again. This time, the stunts are bigger and 3D driven, but also more CGI enhanced and less realistic, which is a shame. There is no long tracking shot like in Tom Yum Goong, and the more memorable fights are remembered because of their gimmicks, not because of their awesomeness. But that sounds like I’m bagging on Tom Yum Goong 2 a bit hard, it was still some good fun, even if it can’t live up to it’s predecessor. And let’s face it, there aren’t many martial arts films that can.
Tom Yum Goong 2 went into production in August 2011. It was delayed by horrible Thailand floods, Tony Jaa doing weird things, production infighting, Jeeja’s unplanned pregnancy, and a bunch of other problems too boring to reiterate. It’s more of a minor miracle the film was completed at all, and isn’t terrible. But the money and the problems changed a few things for the worse, and didn’t give anything in return.
The fights are now 3D, so there is less continual choreography and long shots and more 3D-ish effects, which sort of makes them worse. The made-for-3Dness makes the CGI additions a lot more noticeable, especially when you aren’t watching in 3D. But even if I was, there wasn’t that much going on that made me wish I was watching in 3D. 3D doesn’t make the kicks any harder, nor does it make the tracking shots suddenly several minutes long. All we get is a few random CGI items floating across the screen. The most creative shots they didn’t even use outside of one part, which was a POV facecam as Kham was running from a bunch of goons.
Kham (Tony Jaa) – Kham is back and he’s still got his elephant, but now the elephant Korn is in danger…oh, wait, that happened last time. So Kham now has to beat up a lot of people…oh, wait, that happened last time! Eh, just enjoy him kicking butt!
Ping Pong (“Jeeja” Yanin Vismistananda) – Ping Pong and her sister Sue-sue (Theerada Kittiseriprasert) walk in on Kham standing over the body of their murdered uncle, and immediately begin attacking him and chase him down. Only after an examination of the corpse does Ping Pong realize their mistake, but by then Sue-sue has been killed by Number 02. Ping Pong uses drugged needles and agility to defeat larger foes.
Mr. LC (RZA) – Leader of an underground fighting club that does all sorts of bad things, including gun running and getting involved in international assassination attempts to foster dictatorial ambitions of warlords. He never loses, so don’t tell him he lost. His group is ranked, but he made sure to tattoo Number 00 on his head so we all know he’s the best that ever was.
Sergeant Mark (Petchtai Wongkamlao) – Kham’s old friend from Australia is in Thailand helping out with all the diplomatic things going on, and gets involved with Kham’s latest elephant kidnapping party.
Number 02 (Marrese Crump) – Largely silent fighter who wants to be the best fighter there ever was, and will punch whoever and whatever it takes to get there. Murders with a unique series of close blows. Has a complicated honor system, but is still pretty evil and loyal to Mr. LC. Marrese Crump was RZA’s stunt double on The Man with the Iron Fists, and got promoted to costar here.
Number 20 (Yayaying Rhatha Phongam) – One of Mr. LC’s fighters, loyal to him because he saved her during a sexual assault and trained her in fighting so she could get revenge on her attackers.
Media for the upcoming Tom Yum Goong 2 has begun appearing online. First up was a first trailer, followed by the above-embedded second teaser. In addition, the Tom Yum Goong 2 facebook page has been posting character posters, which are posted below. There are posters for Tony Jaa as Kham, Jija Yanin as Pingping (who uses flying needles), Petchai Wongkamlao as Sgt. Mark, Ying Ratha as No. 20, RZA as Mr. LC, and Marrese Crump as No. II. The stunts look amazing, and I hope this troubled production pulls together and turns into something magical. Really pulling for this one.
Jeeja Yanin’s new film Jakkalan has been given the international title This Girl is Bad-Ass, showing they know the soul reason this thing’s gonna get exported overseas. But Jeeja is only a small part of the film, which is largely a comedy focusing on other characters. From the sound of it, the film is trying to be everything and ends up being nothing. Which is sort of sad. Will we still see it? Yes. Will we be disappointed? Probably. Will we learn our lesson? Nope. The name change also keeps us from making lots of jokes like “Jakkalan? Isn’t that what comes with the noodles at King of Thai?” and that’s probably best for everyone.
Some news concerning “Jeeja” Yanin Vismitananda that may be of interest:
The biggest news currently is Jeeja costarring with Tony Jaa in Tom-Yum-Goong 2, which will be in 3D. All the familiar faces were at the news conference, director Prachya Pinkaew, action choreographer Panna Rittikrai, costar Petthai “Mum Jokmok” Wongkumlao, and studio executive Somsak “Sia Jiang” Techaratanaprasert,
Jeeja will also be headlining a 3D sequel to Chocolate Hiroshi Abe will also be returning, and it will be directed again by Prachya Pinkaew, who seems to be directing everything ever.
And finally, here’s a trailer for the bicycle messenger comedy Jakkalan, which hit theaters in Thailand April 28th. It’s directed by and costars Mum Jokmok, who was in the first Tom-Yum-Goong
I had meant to get these films up on individual entries, but kept putting it off and off so now we get a giant post. And, yes, these films will get the full review treatment once they start showing up in a format I can see them.