The Protector Prachya Pinkaew

Action fans, your ship has come in. Now there are two ways to experience Tony Jaa in his latest Muay Thai extravaganza. This handsome double-disc edition allows you to experience both the North American cut and the original full-length Thai version, with a whopping 27-minute difference between them. It’s difficult to say which is better: though the Yankee version of Jaa’s odyssey to fetch some purloined elephants (an important symbol in Thai culture) is perhaps a little too smack-smack-smack to keep you feeling anything but insensate, the original version is weighted down with a maudlin back-story that slows things down to an agonising degree. Neither version is a cinematic masterpiece (though to be fair, it borrows quite a bit from the Jackie Chan catalogue), though you can be sure that Jaa delivers the goods in a variety of kick-ass action sequences. The film is determined to make its money shots stick; it’s already justly famous for an unbroken four-minute shot where our man fights off what seems like most of the Australian Thai underworld. Be warned that the plot in the director’s cut is sometimes of sub-silent movie simplicity; be advised that the American cut features music by the RZA. Extras on disc one include an informative commentary by Asian film expert Bey Logan, a so-so "making of” clip, a better featurette on Jaa himself, a thorough "director’s guided tour” of that four-minute long take, a deleted fight scene, a cheesy animated cell-phone "mobisode” and four clips of Jaa demonstrating moves. Disc two features the Thai "making of” (long and talkative) and three amateur action videos from the "Take on Tony Jaa” contest. (Alliance Atlantis)