FOOT FIST FRIDAYS: Tony Jaa Carves a Path of Destruction in the Epic One Shot Fight Scene from THE PROTECTOR!

By: John M Jerva

Welcome to FOOT FIST FRIDAYS! A weekly dose of fight action where the experts share their thoughts on some of the greatest scenes of fisticuffs in action cinema history!

This week’s edition has John M Jerva serving up yet another classic Tony Jaa fight scene from the memorable Thai martial arts thriller Tom Yum Goong which was retitled The Protector in the U.S. The scene is presented in the one shot fashion or oner where there are no cuts and no edits where the camera follows all the action as Tony Jaa carves a path of empty handed destruction. Enjoy!

Any action fan knows who Tony Jaa is and to know him is to know that the man is basically the Thai equivalent to Jackie Chan where he is famous for executing his own stunts and fight sequences in his movies with Ong Bak being the first film that would introduce him to the masses. The film was an assault on the senses and the fight scenes were off the hook with Jaa literally defying gravity in every scene.

Jaa would follow that impressive debut up with another round of Muay Thai thrills in Tom Yum Goong which was later retitled as The Protector here in the U.S. which saw Jaa play a similar role to the one he played in Ong Bak. Here Jaa played Kham who was a simple man from the country who embarks on a rescue mission to save his prized elephants after they are kidnapped by ruthless poachers and taken to Australia.

Following their trail, Kham teams up with a Thai-born Australian detective played by Petchtai Wongkamlao and the two discover that the two elephants are being held by a ruthless female criminal named Madame Rose who has an army of cutthroat mercs at her disposal.

What follows is numerous epic displays of brutal Muay Thai fight action as Kham takes on anyone and everyone with his deadly elbows and knees in one savage fight sequence after another.

The scene chosen for this week’s Fist Foot Friday is the classic one shot fight scene or oner as they are called where Kham infiltrates an underground restaurant where exotic animals are killed and served to a high clientele. Kham navigates his way through one assailant after another as the camera follows him along the way as there are no cuts or edits during the scene. What makes a oner difficult to shoot is the fact that there is no room for error and all participants must hit their marks the first time as there are no do overs. It’s one shot, one kill literally and Jaa perfectly executed the scenes with flawless precision along with the numerous stunt professionals assembled for the scene. Don’t blink or you’ll miss something.

After Kham makes his way through the army, he eventually takes on the great Johnny Nguyen in a one on one fight that pulsates with near perfect fight choreography. Both combatants are evenly matched and it is a great bend to a great fight scene that lasts over 8 minutes in length. This was Tony Jaa at his best and the scene is a classic reminder of why he is one of the best in the business as he is a one man wrecking crew. His elbows and knees as well as his fists and feet are more lethal than any weapon and God forgive anyone who gets in his way.

Enough Talk! Check out the full version of the fight scene below and witness the master in action with no edits of any kind!

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