Review by Jack Sobjack
One could only imagine what would have happened
if Jackie Chan was given more control over his second attempt at trying
to make it in Hollywood. But director James Glickenhaus had his own ideas
on how to make Jackie a star. By turning him into a Chinese Dirty Harry!
Even though he's known for his comedic expressions, Chan's no stranger
to more serious acting (Heart of Dragon, Miracles and Crime Story, just
to name a few). However, it's clearly obvious he was more than slightly
uncomfortable with his character in The Protector, and one of the reasons
why, after director Glickenhaus left once his duties were done, that Chan
reshot the ending as well as adding additional scenes.
While Chan's version is much improved from the
original one the overall plot is pretty much the same:
Jackie plays a New York cop whom, after getting
into trouble with the force, is paired up with Danny Aiello (who's great
in this). They are sent to Hong Kong on a tip to rescue a kidnapped fashion
show hostess that ultimately puts them in the middle of a war between two
drug lords fighting for control.
What I really want to discuss is the differences
between both films. And since I try to find the good in even the worst
of films, I'll stick to the more positive aspects because I feel it behooves
everyone to see at least one version of this movie (I'd recommend the HK
version). The American Protector has some interesting things about it.
For instance, it's the only film you'll ever hear Jackie using foul language.
Like when he tells the owner of a speedboat to "Give me the %@$#ing keys,"
my jaw just about hit the floor before I burst out laughing. It was so
odd to hear that from Jackie. There's also a scene that includes a visit
to a massage parlor for info where Jackie and Danny are treated to a strip
tease and a massage from two lovely naked women, before they turn on them
and both guys are fighting for their lives.
In the HK version, Chan removes all the nudity,
profanity and American slang. He also creates a sub-plot involving Hong
Kong singer-actress Sally Yeh and reshoots the final fight with him and
martial artist Bill Wallace. It's also a hoot to hear Danny Aiello speaking
perfect Chinese while he mouths English words!
Now I'd be a remiss if I didn't mention the main
reason why I implore you to see The Protector. And that is to see two of
my favorites in the same movie. Jackie Chan and Moon Lee. Although Moon
doesn't get to do any fighting (she does lay the smack down on Jackie though)
she's great in this nonetheless. And she really gives Jackie some wicked
attitude. Knowing he's a cop and that it could bring trouble, Moon doesn't
moon over Jackie (I couldn't resist), but later they unite to take on the
(My rating for the American version: 5.0)
My rating for the Hong Kong version: 7.0