The Protector

[Amazon Link] [3.0
stars] [IMDb Link]

One of the persistent criticisms of free-market capitalism is its alleged failure to provide adequate levels of vital products and services: so-called "market failure". For example, the critics say, in a laissez-faire economy, R-rated movies about Thai marital arts masters gone off to Sydney Australia to rescue elephants kidnapped by gangsters—and also to avenge the murders of their fathers—would never be made. I believe Paul Krugman argued this last year, and since he's behind the Times Select wall, you can't very well prove that I'm just making that up, can you?

Well, fortunately, that criticism has been ably addressed by this film, and Krugman and those other critics will just have to shut up now.

The movie … well, even by martial arts standards, the movie is low in humor. You'd think, with that premise, that there'd be more. The good-guy star, Tony Jaa, has no acting ability, although he's absolutely astounding in the fight scenes. But (again, even by loose martial arts standards) the action and fight scenes are poorly integrated into the overall plot. It's OK, not great, not awful.

[Before some outraged economist writes in: yes, I know what market failure really is. And I haven't actually checked to see if this movie was subsidized by either the Thai or Australian government, although I would hope not.]

Last Modified 2012-10-21 6:42 AM EDT