The Protector (1985): Breakdown by Kain424
A Chinese New York cop (yeah, I know) goes to Hong Kong (go figure) to rescue a millionairess and take down a drug cartel.
After The Big Brawl turned out to be less than the massive success they’d hoped it to be, Jackie Chan went back to Hong Kong and worked hard at maintaining his star image there. Five years later, they tried the American market again, and this is the result. Like the western version of Tom Yum Goong, I have no clue as to why it’s called The Protector.
Things start wrong right off the bat, as Chan is introduced awkwardly trying to share a conversation in English with his partner. Chan is supposed to be a New York cop, but can hardly speak the language. Furthermore, the next few Action sequences involve more gunplay than anything resembling Jackie’s signature kung fu. And I have never seen someone fire a gun in a more awkward fashion.
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Apparently Jackie Chan and and director James Glickenhause (The Exterminator) did not get along at all during the shoot, with Glickenhaus wanting Chan to be more of a hard-boiled Dirty Harry-type character, and Chan wanting to do more of his signature stuntwork and be more of a Chan-like character. A different stunt coordinator was hired and Chan was held at bay until shooting was completed. Jackie then re-shot a few fight scenes and you can find this version only in Hong Kong.
There are two versions: the American version with cussing, nudity, Engrish, and short fight scenes, and the Hong Kong version, with an added love story twist, more fluid fight scenes, but with no nudity, cussing and the languages all dubbed.
It’s pretty much lose/lose. But the film does try a lot of cool things, and attempting to make an Asian action star is OK in my book. I think if Jackie had kept at it after The Big Brawl, he just might have gained an audience. Unfortunately, he wouldn’t see himself a star Stateside for another ten years. Oh well.
[HOW BAD-ASS IS THE MAIN CHARACTER?]
Jackie Chan is Detective Billy Wong
Despite being more John McClane than Harry Callahan, Billy Wong never really comes off as a bad-ass. He can hold his own in a fight, but he rarely seems to be able to bag his bad guys. He does, however, seem to prefer blowing them up to arresting them.
[THE BODY COUNT: 16]
This is actually one of the more violent Jackie Chan films I have ever watched. When people are shot, they bleed a fucking ton! A whole lot of people are shot in this one, too. Jackie only kills seven, but several others die from gunshots, stab wounds, or being eviscerated in fiery explosions.
[MOST SATISFYING ASS-KICKINGS & DEATHS]
I’ll have to go with the fight between Jackie Chan and Bill Wallace. They use their hands, feet, brass knuckles, and even a power saw! Oh, but it’s probably better in the Hong Kong version. See it if you can! Actually, here. I’ve edited the two versions together for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy:
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The Protector rights held by Warner Bros. and Golden Harvest.
[DUDESWEAT AND MACHISMO]
When Jackie’s partner dies early on, Jackie flips out like he’d just lost his lover. During this scene it is also revealed that Jackie pees while holing his gun as well… not sure how to read into that, but I’ll keep it in this section.
While Chan openly flirts with women in this film, he’s never that into it. He does, however, get very into splashing his new partner, played by Danny Aiello (The Professional), when they go to a bath house together. Aiello he goes further than you’d think, yanking a towel off an unsuspecting male passerby.
[EXPLOITATION AND MISOGYNY]
In the American version, women are seen as either untrustworthy bitches or damsels in distress. In the Hong Kong version, Jackie added a whole new character for him to rescue and treat like dirt. It’s pretty funny.
Oh, and did I mention that there’s a lot of nudity?
[EPIC MOMENT AND BEST ONE-LINER]
Jackie Says “Fuck”!
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The one-liner? The bad guy asks Jackie, who has a gun on him, “Are you threatening me, officer?”
Jackie smiles and responds, “That’s not a threat. That’s a promise.”
[THE MORAL OF THE STORY]
If you’re gonna set the movie in Hong Kong anyway, let Jackie do his own fight choreography.
[THE GIST OF JACKIE: 5 outta 5]
[X] Breaks Into Someplace Or Escapes By Way Of Acrobatics
[X] Has An Annoying Tag-Along Companion
[X] Makes The ‘OW!’ Face And/Or Rubs A Soar Spot
[X] Performs A Ridiculously Dangerous Stunt
[X] Uses A Random Object To Defend Himself
[THE CHECKLIST: 19 outta 25]
[X] Athlete(s) Turned “Actor”
[X] Clinging To The Outside Of A Moving Vehicle
[X] Crotch Attack
[ ] Dialogue Telling Us How Bad-Ass The Main Character(s) Is/Are
[ ] Ending Featuring An Ambulance, A Blanket or A Towel
[X] Giant Explosion(s)
[X] Heavy Artillery
[X] Improvised Weapon(s)
[X] Macho Mode(s) Of Transportation
[X] Main Character Sports Facial Accessory(s)
[ ] Manly Embrace(s)
[ ] Notorious Stunt-Man Sighting
[X] Passage(s) Of Time Via Montage
[X] Politically Fueled Plot Point(s)
[X] Senseless Destruction Of Property
[X] Shoot Out(s) and/or Sword Fight(s)
[X] Slow-Motion Finishing Move(s)/Death(s)
[X] Stupid Authoritative Figure(s)
[X] Substance Usage and/or Abuse
[ ] Tis The Season
[X] Torture Sequence(s)
[ ] Unnecessary Sequel
[X] Vehicle Chase(s)
[X] Vigilante Justice