The Protector

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.

Bad guys Roy Chiao and Shum Wai
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.
Sally Yeh
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 bad guys.
Moon Lee

(My rating for the American version: 5.0)

My rating for the Hong Kong version: 7.0