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Film / Tom-Yum-Goong

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"...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, as Revenge of the Warrior in Germany and as Honor of the Dragon in French) 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 (Jin Xing), 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:

  • Adaptational Sexuality: Madame Rose is transgender in the original dialogue. This is played down in the English dubbing.
  • 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.
  • Bad with the Bone: 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.
  • Battle Amongst the Flames: Kham battles a capoeirista and a wushu guy in a burning temple.
  • Berserker Tears: Kham is crying during his Roaring Rampage of Revenge in the final battle, due to his rage and sadness over the death of his beloved elephant.
  • 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.
  • Disney Villain Death: After Kham beats up all of her men, Madame Rose attempts to escape him via a helicopter, but Kham catches up to her and kicks her off the building, and she falls through a skylight to her death.
  • Ditto Fighter: Several fighters give Kham serious trouble until he adopts their manner of fighting;
    • The capoeira fighter, with agile spinning kicks and ground work.
    • The wushu fighter, by weilding weapons of his own.
    • Johnny, by matching his kicks with fists.
    • The giant mooks, by augmenting the power of his fists with elephant bones.
  • Dragon Lady: Madame Rose is The Queenpin of an Asian crime family, and has a domineering and seductive personality.
  • Dramatic Dislocation: During the final Zerg Rush, Kham loudly dislocates many mooks' bones. Those were the lucky ones.
  • Exotic Entree: The point of Madame Rose's eponymous restaurant is to serve food made from animals that are endangered.
  • 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. It's also a Badass Boast, as well as meaningful because he fights Kham inside a (burning) temple, a building in which people do exactly that.
  • 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.
  • Made of Iron: Kham has several moments of impossible toughness, but the greatest of them is possibly when receiving a charged meia lua de compasso to the head from the capoeirista and inexplicably not being knocked out.
  • 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.
    • Kham's sole female opponent tries to stab him in the back. He easily disarms her and simply pushes her over.
  • 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 is able to fight throgh dozens of Mooks all by himself, just using his martial arts skills.
  • 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.
  • Punch! Punch! Punch! Uh Oh...: When Kham first encounters the wrestler in the temple, his punches and kicks just make the guy growl louder.
  • The Queenpin: Madame Rose becomes the head of the Thai crime syndicate she's part of when she poisons the current head (her uncle) for his prejudice against her.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: The entire final sequence, where Kham savagely beats up all of Madame Rose's gang in revenge for the death of his beloved elephant.
  • Scarf of Asskicking: Kham is identified by someone as a man wearing a scarf.
  • Short-Lived Aerial Escape: At the end of the film, Madame Rose and her butler attempt to escape from Kham's wrath via a helicopter, but Kham catches up to them and kicks her off of the helicopter, leading to a Disney Villain Death.
  • Signs of Disrepair: Occurs during the boat chase scene, when an impromptu Ramp Jump leads to Kham and a few of his pursuers flying through the air and crashing through a bilboard depicting a musical band playing. Kham's boat notably went through the band guitarist's crotch.
  • 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 transgender and her family disapproves of it.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: The giant wrestlers in the final battle, as well as TK. Being wrestlers they tend to focus on tossing Kham around rather than trading blows. That being said, TK makes his entrance by smashing through a door, and one of the wrestlers picks up Kern, a baby elephant, and throws him like a sack of potatoes.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Madame Rose is The Queenpin but is publicly known as a legitimate businesswoman, and is even seen at one point holding a press conference.
  • Waterlogged Warzone: Kham battles the capoeirista and a wushu practitioner in the burning temple, the floor of which is covered in ankle-deep water.
  • Whip of Dominance: Madame Rose carries a whip. fitting with her being a ruthless and domineering Dragon Lady. She uses it to intrude in Kham's fight against the Giant Mook at the Final Battle.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): The Protector


Mui Thai Takedown

Yang Xiao Long performs a takedown worthy of Tony Jaa.

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