Film: Tom Yum Goong
aka: The Protector
"...most people call Tom-Yum-Goong 'Where's my goddamn elephant!?' because every scene is him bursting into a room hoping to find his elephant. And if that fails, plan B is punching fucking everything."
—Seanbaby, telling it like it is.
Tom-Yum-Goong (Thai: ต้มยำกุ้ง; IPA: [tôm jɑm kûŋ], distributed as Warrior King in the UK, as The Protector in the US, as Thai Dragon in Spain, and as Revenge of the Warrior in Germany) is a 2005 Thai martial arts film starring Tony Jaa. The film was directed by Prachya Pinkaew, who also directed Jaa's prior breakout film Ong Bak. As with Ong Bak, the fights were choreographed by Jaa and his mentor, Panna Rittikrai. In the United States, it was endorsed by Quentin Tarantino as "Quentin Tarantino Presents: The Protector".In Bangkok, the young Kham was raised by his father in the jungle with elephants as members of their family. When his old elephant and the baby Kern are stolen by criminals, Kham finds that the animals were sent to Sydney. He travels to Australia, where he locates the baby elephant in a restaurant owned by the evil Madame Rose, the leader of an international Thai mafia. With the support of the efficient Thai sergeant Mark, who was involved in a conspiracy, Kham fights to rescue the animal from the mobsters.
This film contains examples of:
- Ancient Tradition: The elephants and their herders are bound by one. In ancient warfare, actual war elephants relied on four soldiers to guard their legs in battle.
- Artistic License – Physics: Elephant tusks somehow cushion Kham's fall from a helicopter instead of breaking his entire skeleton like if he had hit the ground.
- Battle Amongst the Flames: Kham battles a capoeirista and a wushu guy in a burning temple.
- Blood Knight: The capoeirista in the temple seems to be enjoying himself far more than Kham is; He smiles and laughs while fighting, and stops several times when he has the upper hand to taunt Kham.
- The Brute: TK, the giant wrestler.
- Combat Stilettos: Sort of. Madame Rose wears stilettos during her fight scene, but if you look closely you can see that her actress switches to flat shoes when she does any stunts, but the stilettos are back on when she's standing still.
- Dance Battler: The capoerista, played by Lateef Crowder, a real life famous capoeira practitioner.
- Ditto Fighter: Several fighters give Kham serious trouble until he adopts their manner of fighting;
- Dragon Lady: Madame Rose. For the given value of "lady," anyhow.
- Dramatic Dislocation: During the final Zerg Rush, Kham loudly dislocates many mooks' bones. Those were the lucky ones.
- Dynamic Entry: Oh yes.◊
- Exotic Entree: The point of the eponymous restaurant.
- Extremity Extremist: Johnny Nguyen fights almost exclusively with kicks, as well as the capoerista.
- Giant Mook: TK and his team of mooks are all incredibly huge.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: The capoeirista has "PRAY" carved into his chest, and he certainly gives reasons to do it. Doubles as a Badass Boast.
- Grievous Harm with a Body: Kham recovers two elephant bones and uses them as weapons.
- He has access to the bones in part because one of the wrestlers slings him into the skeleton.
- An earlier scene crosses this with Dynamic Entry.
- Just Hit Him: TK and his guys tend to throw Kham around rather than just hitting him. If they simply punched or strangled him he never would've gotten the elephant bones that he used to defeat them.
- Kick the Dog: Madame Rose showing off the bones of the elephant Por Yai she captured, in a bizarre and really naff cross between taxidermy and modern art. A literal Elephant in the Living Room!
- Heroic BSOD: Kham suffers one on seeing Por Yai's bones.
- Intimidation Demonstration: Kham threatens a thug by kicking the light out of a street lamp.
- Large Ham: Madame Rose.
- Never Bring a Knife to a Fist Fight: The mook Kham intimidates with the street lamp.
- Later, getting stabbed is what snaps Kham out of his Heroic BSOD.
- No Sell: TK allows Kham to land several undefended blows to his upper body, provoking Kham to hit him harder. It isn't until Kham lands a blow to his head and draws blood (which it takes the guy a moment to notice) that he promptly picks Kham up and throws him against a pillar.
- Not Too Dead to Save the Day: After the final blow, Por Yai's skeleton catches Kham's falling body, breaking his fall. This is interspersed with scenes showing Por Yai carrying Kham in his tusks, signifying that he carried Kham one last time.
- Now It's My Turn: When Kham is suffering his Heroic BSOD mentioned above, the mooks go about kicking the crap out of him, although he is too mortified to fight back. When one of the goons gets a knife out and stabs him, he finally snaps back and starts painfully dispatching them.
- One-Man Army: Kham, in the most pure Tony Jaa vein.
- The Oner: A pretty impressive one. The film features a four-minute one-shot elaborate fight sequence that reportedly took eight days to get right in which Tony Jaa fights his way up a building. Up multiple sets of stairs and through rooms, with occasional pans out and back again to show extras landing after being thrown over the railings. The only CGI in the whole sequence is a window breaking, and only because the real prop didn't work right and cheating it in with CGI was cheaper than rebuilding the entire set for another take.
- "Open!" Says Me: Kham has a habit of kicking people through doors to get them open.
- Pet the Dog: The entire purpose of the elephants in the movie.
- Punch! Punch! Punch! Uh Oh...: When Kham first encounters the wrestler in the temple, his punches and kicks just make the guy growl louder.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: The entire final sequence, where Kham destroys everyone.
- Scarf of Asskicking: It's a small one, but Kham is identified as a man wearing a scarf.
- Transsexual: Madame Rose in the original dialogue. This is played down in the English dubbing.
- The Unfavorite: It is heavily suggested (and outright stated in the original dialogue) that the reason Madame Rose is being passed over for control of the family business is because she is Transsexual.
- Whip It Good: Madame Rose uses a whip to intrude in Kham's fight against the giant mooks at the end.
- You Killed My Father: The English dub inserts this line.