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Criminally underrated Jackie Chan action - one of his best American movies

Author: Leofwine_draca from United Kingdom
18 October 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This unfairly neglected '80s buddy-buddy cop flick sees Jackie Chan in his second American role, after the lesser BATTLE CREEK BRAWL. THE PROTECTOR is generally regarded as one of the star's worst movies, especially by the man himself, but I'm pleased to say that now I've seen it, I can say otherwise. This is an entertaining, violent, and action-packed movie, and it's easy to see why Chan himself doesn't care for it – the copious blood and nudity and bad language is a far way from his modern-day family-friendly action star persona. Indeed it certainly seems strange to hear Chan speak such lines so that's a novel experience in itself.

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.

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Average cop/buddy movie with a mediocre storyline! 3/10

Author: leonblackwood from United Kingdom
26 November 2015

Review: This is yet another mediocre movie from Chan, who tries to crack the US with this English movie. Chan plays a New York cop called Billy Wong and after his partner is gunned down during a robbery, he's teamed up with Danny Garoni, (Danny Aiello) against his wishes. Whilst at a lavish function, a rich man's daughter gets kidnapped and when they piece together the clues, they find out that the father has connections with a drug kingpin in Hong Kong, so they head there to crack the case. It doesn't take long before the kingpin hears that they are in town, so he sends out his hit men to try and take them out. After various battles with the baddies, Billy & Danny come face to face with the kingpin and with the help of an ex-soldier, they use heavy artillery and Chans Kung Fu skills to get back the girl. To be honest, it seemed like many films that I have seen before in this genre. Chan didn't really use his Kung Fu skills that much but it was good to see him actually act, without any silly comedic scenes. There are a couple stunts that were OK but they were not in the same league as Chans movies that he made in his native country. With that aside, it's a watchable film with a decent storyline and I liked the chemistry between Aiello and Chan. It won't go down as a classic but it's one to add to the Chan collection. Average!

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

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

We strongly recommend The Protector.

Author: Comeuppance Reviews from United States Minor Outlying Islands
23 June 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Billy Wong (Chan) is a tenacious and dedicated cop who always gets his man - but doesn't always play by the rules. Because of his rogue ways, he's busted down to "crowd control". While with his new partner Garoni (Aiello) at said crowd, a fashion show displaying "shimmering cocktail wear", a woman named Laura Shapiro (Ellis) is kidnapped by marauding thugs which crash the fashion show. Tying her kidnapping to the nefarious Hong Kong crime lord Harold Ko (Chiao), Wong and Garoni travel all the way from their home base in New York City to Hong Kong to rescue Laura and bring down the criminal enterprise of Ko. While there, they team up with some unlikely allies, Stan Jones (Ballistic director Kim Bass) and Soo Ling (Lee). Will they achieve their mission, and not destroy Hong Kong in the process? Find out today! We really loved The Protector. It's classic 80's fun all the way, with no shortage of action. Not only does the movie look great, thanks to its excellent cinematography, but it truly is Jackie Chan as you've never seen him before. We can see why he and director Glickenhaus had a falling out over differing visions, but, without giving away any spoilers, you just have to check out the scene between Jackie and none other than Big John Studd. It's amazing. In the New York City scenes, there are some great shots of the World Trade Center towers that add another layer of nostalgia. But besides the WTC, there's also a great example of a WYC (a White Yelling Chief, that is). The entertainment value never lets up.

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.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

unfairly bashed just because it was not a typical role for Jackie

Author: bcheng93 from ny ny
1 June 2014

Everybody and their mothers bashed this movie including Jackie himself who reshot and added more action and fight scenes in Hong Kong. I think Jackie bashed the movie himself because it was a flop.

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.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Chan's the man in a great action set piece flick

Author: videorama-759-859391 from adelaide, australia
8 November 2013

This is one of those really unjustly criticized movies, I've vide'd a few times. It too has a great soundtrack at it's end, by Chip Taylor. This is another action spectacular flick from Glickenhaus, who knows how to make bigger than life action movies. The Protector has a lot of qualities about it, and in spite of Chan's real hate for this film, this is one I'd rather opt to watch, than his other chop suey comic style ones. The action sequences in this film that really get us exhausted, watching Jackie, especially in the last one, are fantastically shot. After being suspended for not playing by the rules when avenging his partner, (in the first great action piece, my favorite involving a speedboat chase) Chan's New York cop, Billy Wong is demoted to crowd control for a high fashion show. Here the beautiful daughter of the company is kidnapped and it's up to Chan and likable sidekick (Aiello) to retrieve her, which leads em' to Hong Kong for business and a bit of dangerous if near fatal pleasure, involving some sexy, young, and deadly masseurs, where another great action piece evolves. This movie is heavy on action. It has almost everything, even a drug lab, full of totally nude Asian women. This is a bit of a cheeky action movie, as how it lets a bit of female anatomy seep through, one thing I strongly admire about it, and Chan barely has time to stop and rest, fighting baddies, and impressing us with some of his stunts. The movie too has an interesting, unrelated start, involving thugs stripping a truck, and making of with off the Texan's guy's computers. Aiello and Chan make an interesting team, in a interesting choice of casting. They work well off each other, and though this film isn't at the top of Jackie's hit parade, The Protector is an action movie that delivers on all levels too with a bit of guilty cheek and humor. Don't be put off with the bad reviews, please. Watch for Mike Starr as Thug 2 in the first action sequence.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

not as good as The Big Brawl AKA Battle Creek Brawl

Author: disdressed12 from Canada
2 April 2011

i didn't mind this movie pairing Jackie Chan and Danny's not a great movie by any stretch of the imagination,but it kills some time.i've always liked Danny Aiello,so he elevates the movie a notch for me.the movie itself is a pretty generic crime's much darker in tone than The Big Brawl,Chan's first American movie,which had some humour in it.this one really doesn't.i didn't think the dialogue was all that great in this movie either.some of the lines were unnecessary or just plain silly.still,the movie was entertaining enough.this is Chan's second American movie(Cannonball Run II was just a small role,so it doesn't count)for me,The Protector is a 5/10

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Gets Better With Age

Author: victorpf from United States
20 September 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

OK not a great Jackie Chan movie but this film actually gets better with age. Everybody criticizes this as not a "Jackie Chan" movie, but if you watch Kirk Wong's CRIME STORY, Jackie's character is actually very similar! I have seen the Hong Kong version of this movie with the added scenes, but actually the US version is a lot more realistic because of the tougher (cursing) dialogue and nudity. The HK version has added scenes with Sally Yeh that actually make no sense as far as the plot goes. Plus it is strange listening to the American actors speaking perfect Cantonese! This movie was actually ahead of it's time because it seems to have influenced a lot of the gangster movies of the '90s. It also seems to have inspired Chow Yun-fat's TIGER ON THE BEAT with its chainsaw scene. I know Jackie was not happy with this film and it shows. Still it inspired him to make better films such as POLICE STORY. For that we should be thankful.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Jackie Chan movie for people who don't like Jackie Chan movies

Author: gareth633 from United Kingdom
2 July 2010

This film generally gets bad reviews, mostly it seems from Jackie Chan fans. It is a more 'American' type of action film and if like me you do not like the usual lighthearted Chan films then you may well like this as it is a lot more serious.

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.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

One of Jackie's least memorable movies.

Author: gridoon
14 November 2003

Misguided Jackie Chan vehicle tries to shoehorn the star into a generic, typical action film of the eighties, saddling him with a complete a**hole of a partner, played by Danny Aiello in one of the less shining moments of his career. There are some good stunts and a couple of fight scenes, but they are nothing compared to some of the stuff Chan has done in his best work. (*1/2)

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3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

This movie is good.

Author: Fensmn16 from NJ
22 April 1999

I just saw this movie on TV. Despite the fact that it is an R-rated movie on TV, I thought it was very good. For once Jackie Chan actually does his own voice, with no dubs. The fighting scenes are awesome, and there are lots of long ones. The hotel scene is awesome. The final scene is just great. Jackie Chan took on a whole army of guys. There is lots of other good action too. Don't listen to those other reviews that say that this movie has nothing or bad acting, because it is all good. If you want to see a good Jackie Chan movie, go for this one. The only bad thing is that Jackie Chan does not look in the 80's much like he does in the 90's. But if you forget that, this is a very good movie.

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