Shout! Factory kicks off its 2013 martial arts movie releases with a double feature of Jackie Chan films from the ‘80s and ‘90s – “The Protector” and “Crime Story.” We delves into Crime Story here, however this is out first take on 1985’s The Protector. The Protector was one of Jackie Chan’s early attempts to break into the American movie market and it has lots of action and is better than most of the buddy cop movies of the 1980’s.
The basic premise of the movie is that Jackie Chan is a New York City cop who is involved in a shooting where his partner is shot and killed and he goes rogue in order to get the man who killed his partner. This puts him in hot water with his boss (of course), and he ends up getting stuck on a “crap assignment” in which he and Aiello end up being witnesses to a kidnapping. They end up getting assigned to the case and travel to Hong Kong where they run into a massage parlor full of beautiful naked women that end up trying to kill them, which is just one of many adventures they go through in their pursuit of the kidnappers. As the story unfolds, you end up finding out that there is a lot more going on than just a simple kidnapping. The story progresses to the inevitable showdown at the end of the movie between Jackie Chan and Bill “Superfoot” Wallace.
First, after production wrapped Jackie Chan shot new scenes and re-edited the movie for it’s Asian release. Jackie Chan’s version edits out some of the violence and all of the profanity and nudity. The producers, etc. didn’t get what made Jackie successful in Hong Kong and rather than make a “Jackie Chan” film and inviting his input, they tried to make him ‘fit’ Hollywood and made a typical cop flick starring Chan. The film works for what it was, but falls short of what a true Jackie Chan film can be. So, as you can tell, there were just too many hands in the pot, so to speak. This character casually swears and treats woman with little respect. Not Jackie.
But all that aside. It was only Jackies second attempt at American success. But since the film was done with out much free will to explore by Jackie, it was again, a failure. And he would be the first to admit that! This makes the whole thing more realistic, with more emphasis on bloody gunfights and explosions as is typical of James Glickenhaus’ work. Suggesting this is the best Shout! Factory had to work with, this blu-ray looks very well-done, with black levels and colors popping vividly. The collection of bonus material offers a few surprises – namely “The Protector’s” alternate cut. The interview with Glickenhaus is also interesting, if only to hear his side of the story. Jackie completists, who definitely pick up this blu-ray but all others should casually pass.