The Protector (1985)
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There are *some* fine moments here for Chan fans, but there simply may not be enough. The tone *is* rather gritty, but although there's not a lot of outright comedy, the movie does still have a sense of humour. Chan has some fine action and fight sequences, especially one around the halfway point where he's trying to pursue a henchman escaping by boat. The stunts near the end are impressively scary. Writer / director James Glickenhaus ("The Exterminator") does a very fine job in utilizing the various HK locations. Jackie does his best in the lead, with Aiello offering fine support and Chiao being just right as our glowering bad guy. Jackie does have a decent if not spectacular climactic fight with fellow martial artist Bill Wallace. All things considered, it's not hard to see why Chan himself and some of his fan base might not care for the movie, but there is an alternate cut now available on Blu-ray with additional scenes created by Jackie himself, to better suit his vision (he really had no control on this feature at the time).
In any event, it's worth noting the presence of a couple of familiar faces among the supporting cast, including Becky Ann Baker, John Spencer, Mike Starr, Big John Studd, and Trey Wilson.
It would take another 11 years before North America finally, really took notice of Jackie with the release of "Rumble in the Bronx".
Six out of 10.
Back in Hong Kong, Chan re-shot the movie extensively, adding car chases and kung fu action. He also edited out a lot of the American director's idiotic stuff. That version is supposed to be quite good. This American version? It's AWFUL! You'd never guess what Chan is capable of by just watching this movie. The action scenes here are *dull*. Yes, *dull*.
By the way, Chan next did POLICE STORY, as a "take that!" to that American director (James Glickenhaus, who hasn't done much lately. Hmm...wonder why....). See that movie instead of this!
Pleasantly surprised by this one, great action scenes. Pretty violent and very little or no slapstick comedy!!! Chan gives a fairly poor performance in this but then he not the best actor in the world anyway and it does not really matter. His fight scenes are very good, though not as elaborate as in his other films. This makes the whole thing more realistic, with more emphasis on bloody gunfights and explosions as is typical of James Glickenhaus' work.
Not bad at all. Enjoyable.
The plot itself is wafer thin, but makes some good use of American and Hong Kong on-the-street locations which get the gritty atmosphere across really well. It's business as usual as the two cops go head-to-head against a drug lord who's kidnapped his rival's daughter, and along the way, exploitation director James Glickenhaus throws in loads of pointless but well-shot action sequences and nude women who have no reason to be naked. Glickenhaus famously fell out with Chan and refused to let him shoot the martial arts sequences, but even so they're surprisingly good, with Chan at the physical pinnacle of his career, on the same kind of top form we saw in POLICE STORY. Many scenes are cheesy and hilariously over the top, like the bit where a robber is shotgunned out of a window, but it's that kind of movie and impossible to dislike. There seems to be some kind of Bond influence going on here, with some large-scale stunts and lots of chases, my favourite being the fight on a platform supported by a huge crane, and the cheesy death of the uber-villain has to be seen to be believed.
Danny Aiello does his best as Chan's partner, but he's completely overshadowed by the Chinese star, plus he's given a really obnoxious, selfish and rude character to work with, so definitely not a film to see him in a good light. Roy Chiao makes for an imposing villain but is underused, whilst Bill "Superfoot" Wallace is GREAT as the chief bad guy, who kicks Jackie's backside in the finale and ends up using an angle-grinder on our hero! Amazing spectacle here and certainly the highlight of the entire movie, well worth the wait. Ignore the negative connections surrounding this movie and I'd recommend giving it a chance you might find yourself enjoying it more than you thought.
Round-Up: This movie was directed by James Glickenhaus who only directed 8 movies in his short career, which included Timemaster, McBain, the Exterminator, the Astrologer, the Soldier, Shakedown and Slaughter of the Innocents starring Scott Glenn. You can tell that Chan was restricted with the amount of death defying stunts that he was allowed to do because of the laws in American movies. That's why his career in the US didn't last that long, because he got fed up with being told what to do. You have to hand it to him for trying to make a movie in English and I honestly don't think that it was that bad but it does look really dated for this day and age, which is why I didn't give it a high score.
I recommend this movie to people who are into their action/crime/drama/martial arts movies starring Jackie Chan, Danny Aiello, Sandy Alexander and Victor Arnold. 3/10
This movie was released at the height of Glickenhaus' powers as a director - we can see why Golden Harvest wanted to do a deal with him. He was smart enough to give action fans all of what they want, and none of what they don't. There's no stupid, annoying kid, there's no stupid, annoying romance, it's just one super-cool action setpiece after another, with Jackie doing what he does best. What more could you want? Plus, we get to see a slimmer Danny Aiello teamed with Jackie Chan. This truly was a once-in-a-lifetime pair-up. We thought they made a great team. Aiello wears a red jacket with no shirt, but with a medallion, which was a cool style for the day, and he's familiar with Hong Kong in the film because he was in Vietnam and they used to go there for R & R.
The Protector is a winner - it's just wildly enjoyable fun from beginning to end. Featuring the song "One Up For the Good Guys" by Chip Taylor, we strongly recommend The Protector.
This was an above average 80's action cop-buddy movie with some very expensive action scenes. In NY harbor they blew up 2 boats and in HK they blew up a helicopter. The fights were good to excellent including a Jackie fight with legendary MMA fighter Bill Wallace and a crazy fight in a massage parlor and that is just off the top of my head. Probably my favorite scene is the fight and chase scene in Kowloon harbor on the water itself where a population of boat people live year round. He does 2 death defying stunts in that scene alone, one involving a motor-cross bike and one with a long pole.
It was not a typical Jackie flick because Jackie curses a lot and is seemed to be a cocky womanizer and there is a lot of nudity in this movie and it wasn't a comedy. His acting wasn't bad and i thought his chemistry with Danny Aiello was pretty good too.
Personally, i am a huge fan of Jackies being that i think i saw just about all his movies including some bad ones went he was just starting out in the early 70's and as a fan i'm glad he switched to a new role in this movie...and i don't know but there is just something about this movie that makes me watch it again and again. People ripped the endsong and i thought there was nothing wrong and it was a good song.
It doesn't hurt that the gorgeous Moon Lee is in the movie too! All in all this is probably in my higher selection of Jackie movies that i like. When and if you do watch this movie, know that this is not a typical Jackie movie and just start from there and i hope you will like this movie also.
It was kind of weird the Hong Kong cops came in like a mob instead of acting like professional police officers with their guns drawn and moving in a precise manner like American cops in the movies do. I still like the movie because Jackie Chan was still able to do fast fight scenes in the massage parlor.
*warning = spoilers ahead!*
From the time Jackie sends a thug flying fifteen feet threw a bar window with his 9mm pistol, to the time he faces off with an ex worldwide karate champ who "owns half of new york"; I couldn't stop laughing! The idiocy never stops.
I found it funnier than hell that the chief of police can show up with five squad cars, ten minutes after some fools try to rob the bar Jackie is in, only too tell him not to go chasing after the guy who just killed his partner; which of course, is an order Jackie shrugs off.
(I may have some of the details a little mixed up as I was more than a little wasted)
This is one of those movies where you need to grab some friends and some beer, and enjoy one of the worst made action movies ever.