Thai action star Tony Jaa is definitely making up for lost time. Back in 2003, fans of martial arts cinema fans were struck – not literally, mind you – full force by a little action film from Thailand called Ong-Bak: Muay Thai Warrior and its star, an unknown by the name of Jaa. The young star was heaped with praise for his fighting skills, screen presence, and willingness to perform stunts that really should have maimed or killed him. Comparisons were drawn between Jaa and kung-fu film legends like Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee. While Jaa didn’t exactly break new ground plot wise with Ong-Bak‘s sequel/prequel Ong-Bak 2 (2008) or The Protector (2005), he continuously upped the ante with impressive fight choreography and stunt coordination. Sure, Ong-Bak 3 (2010) wasn’t up to par, but Jaa’s career could only go up from there. Then he became a monk.That’s right, one of the most promising international action stars quit acting to join a Buddhist monastery shortly after the release of Ong-Bak 3. In the intervening years the martial arts film community turned their attention to other up-and-coming stars – especially those from Indonesia. But, Jaa’s sabbatical from the screen didn’t last, and if you read the beginning of this article, you know he’s making up for his time away.
We’ve already reported on Jaa’s casting in the Hong Kong action film SPL 2, and in that article we mentioned two of his other projects: a role in the seventh Fast & Furious movie, and Tom-Yum-Goong 2. Tom-Yum-Goong is the original Thai title of Jaa’s 2005 film, The Protector. It refers to soup with many different ingredients, which is pretty much what we got from the film: many different martial arts styles from various countries displayed on screen. The sequel – title The Protector 2 in the U.S. of course – looks to have more of the same (which isn’t a bad thing at all).
Twitchfilm reports Protector 2 will be available in the U.S. via iTunes March 27, before its May 2nd theatrical release.
Check out the English-language trailer: