The Protector (US & HK Versions)
"My friends and I made a better film in Media class this year."
- James H.
The Protector (1985)
Literally: Mighty Dragon Fierce Detective
Director: James Glickenhaus; Jackie Chan (HK version only)
Writer: James Glickenhaus; King Sang Tang (HK version only)
Producer: David Chan
Cast: Jackie Chan (Sing Lung), Danny Aiello, Roy Chiao (Kiu Wang), Bill Wallace, Moon Lee Choi-Fung, Kim Bass, Tse Hung, Joe Wong, Sally Yeh (Yip Sin-Man) (HK version only)
Running Time: 91 min
Plot: Chan plays a U.S. cop who is teamed up with Danny Aiello. The two of them must go to Hong Kong in search of a wealthy businessman's daughter who has been kidnapped. In the process they uncover a drug trafficking ring which they proceed to combat.
Availability: This title is available at HKflix.com
JOE909'S REVIEW: Possible conversation between director James Glickenhaus and anonymous financial backer, early 1985:
"So James, let's hear what you've got."
"Uh, well, [name deleted], it's an idea I had for a cop flick. Two rogue officers, play by their own rules. Plus I've got some shit set in Hong Kong, like you asked."
"Good. Golden Harvest wants this to be a total US-Hong Kong venture. I hear the studio head, some guy named Chow, has had his greedy eyes on the US market for a while. Jackie Chan's his top attraction, I mean the guy's like a god over there. Chow wants to break him in the US market. This could be an opportunity for you, James. This guy could be the next Bruce Lee."
"Yeah, but that's Hong Kong, [name deleted]. If this Ching guy thinks he can go from being a superstar over there to cock of the block in Hollywood, I'm sorry, but he's fuckin nuts, you know?"
"I know where you're coming from, James. But this is still a great opportunity. And his name is Chan. So let's hear about the movie."
"Okay, so it opens with midgets. Midgets and dudes straight out of Road Warrior. Mohawks, facepaint, armor."
"So this is a post-Apocalypse type thing?"
"No. No, they're just your average New York punks."
"So they rob a truck, right? And that's the intro for our boy. He shows up with his partner, right on the scene of the crime."
"He gets in a fight with the Road Warrior guys? I like that."
"No, no, those guys are gone. We only see em in the opening. Uh, Jack shows up after it's all over. But you know, we gotta set it up that New York's one dangerous place, right?"
"So Jackie and his partner go after the mohawk guys, then?"
"No, no, they go to a bar."
"Right. Just to let off some steam, whatever."
"So you mean we don't even see these Road Warrior guys anymore? Or the midgets?"
"No, [name deleted], they got nothing to do with anything, okay? I just wanted to show some bizarre shit to get the ball rolling, you know?"
"All right. Let's say we've got these guys, I want em real hardcore, Vietnam vets lookin for the latest score. They're gonna rob a bar, right? In the middle of the day."
"Would the place even have any money?"
"Look, that doesn't matter. These guys are hardwired, right? I'm talkin Mac-10s, Uzis, M-16s. They go in, and get this, it's the same bar Jake and his partner just went into!"
"I like it!"
"Yeah. I mean, these guys are so hot to rob and kill, they just kinda charge on into the place. I mean, if one of em happens to bump into the door on the way in, we'll keep it in the print, you know?"
"Make it look real-to-life."
"You got it. And let's say they're holding the place up, and one of em I kinda picture him as a big dumb guy who likes plush toys goes back to the john, and there's, uh, Jack back there, pissing. At least, that's how it looks. But then the little fucker turns around, right, and real quick we see he's got his .45 in his hands, instead of his cock. BLAM! Robber's guts all over the wall."
"I love it!"
"Maybe he could say something like, 'Can't a fuckin guy take a fuckin piss any-fuckin-more?' or somethin like that."
"Lot of 'fuckins,' there."
"He's a cop, right? 'Fuck' is his favorite word. I want this guy, this, uh "
"I want him to use 'fuck' as a noun, verb, adjective, adverb, all that shit. Fuck, I want im to use it as a pronoun."
"I don't see where he'd have a problem with that."
"But anyway, John's partner gets wasted during the gunfight in the bar. And speaking of which, this gunfight's gonna be the best EVER. Slow-motion, guys screaming while they empty clips on full-auto. I got this image in mind where Jake shoots this one dude, and I'm gonna get this super-slow motion shot of the guy just getting tossed like a ragdoll through a window."
"Jackie's partner gets killed?"
"Yeah, so that way we can work in a revenge angle. But anyway, he gets a new partner. Preferably white. Can't have two ethnicities in the lead roles, right?"
"That's box office poison. That's death."
"Gotta be someone good lookin. For the ladies. I doubt this Charlie guy's got drop-dead good looks."
"It's 'Jackie.' So who're you thinking?"
"Two words: Danny Aiello."
"I got Danny's character in mind as a Vietnam vet, just as crazy as Jake's character is. Two supercops, right? Plus Danny's always lookin for a fight, plus he don't cotton to superiors, if you know what I mean. Hates authority. And everywhere he goes, he takes his Uzi. Got in mind lots of scenes of him screamin while he just lets loose a clip on full auto."
"That's great stuff. Maybe you can have it so that his clothing gets torn often. So he can show off his physique for the ladies."
"You got it. Okay, so halfway through the flick, Jeff and Danny are gonna go to Hong Kong. Let's say they're over there cause they're supposed to be protectin some chick, maybe the daughter of some American criminal. I have it in mind that they're at some fancy fashion show "
"With a catwalk and all that?"
"Nah, I was thinkin it could be more of a deal with models dancing, maybe a couple lights, you know. Then these crooks in ski masks just bust in the place and make off with her. And then Chen and Danny find out the next morning that she's been taken to Hong Kong."
"The crooks get her to Hong Kong overnight? That's impossible! I'm telling you, that's just impossible!"
"Say, I like that. I think I might give that line to Jake and Danny's chief. I've got a real good, original idea for the chief, by the way. He's always gonna be pissed off at the two of em, callin em 'supercops,' and shit. You know, just something totally different than what you'd normally see in a cop picture."
"We'll have it so, uh, our star, he knows through reputation of the Chinese dude who runs all the crime in Hong Kong. He's behind the kidnapping of the chick our boy was protecting. I have him in mind kinda thin, reedy, slicked back hair."
"We gonna get a local to play the part?"
"Fuck that. What're we gonna have him do, speak whatever language they talk over there?"
"Forget it. They're all gonna speak English. When our boy's talkin to the bad guy, I don't care if both of em were born and raised in Hong Kong, they're gonna speak in English."
"Well, there's a problem there, James. I just got word that Jackie's English isn't very good."
"How bad is it?"
"Let's just say he'll need to learn his lines phonetically."
"I don't understand what that means."
"It means we'll have to hire someone to teach him how to say all of his lines: pronunciation, delivery, everything."
"FUCK! Now you tell me this shit! I thought you told me he's made a coupla movies over here already?"
"The Cannonball Run pics and something that 'Enter the Dragon' guy, Bob Clouse, directed. All of it shit."
"Oh, yeah. I loved Cannoball Run 2. He was in that?"
"He was the Japanese guy in the high-tech car."
"So he's Japanese?"
"No, he just played one."
"Same difference. Now let's talk boat chases."
"I want at least five of them."
"I want this guy, this whatsisname, Johnnie?"
"It's Jackie, James. You know, like Gleason."
"I want this little fucker to LIVE on a boat. Someone steals a woman's purse, I want the bastard on a boat, chasing his ass. Fuck, he's in the DESERT, I want a boat chase. Oh, shit."
"What's wrong? People love boat chases, right?"
"It's not that. I mean, this guy's from China, right? He's probably never even SEEN a boat before. You know how that place is. Lots of shantytowns and villages full of VC and shit, fish heads and rice for dinner. We'll probably have to stunt-double him for the boat chases."
"I'm figuring we're gonna have to stunt-double him throughout."
"No shit. I mean, all those people make are chop-sockies, right? Nickel and dime budget, lots of punching and kicking."
"No boat chases!"
"Exactly. No boat chases! Shit, there goes my idea for havin him dangling from a helicopter. The little bastard would probably run away as soon as the blades got going."
"But about these boat chases, James you'll have to make sure people know where they're taking place. I mean, we spend the money to shoot in Hong Kong harbor, we'd better get plenty of shots of the place."
"[name deleted], you know me. I have a reputation in this industry as a master of establishing shots. You wanna make sure people know we're in Hong Kong? I'm gonna make parts of this movie into a fuckin travelogue! Shit, even for the New York boat chase I'm gonna have at least twenty shots of the Empire State Building, the Twin Towers, and the Statue of Liberty jammed in there."
"So how's it all going to end?"
"Well, Danny and our boy basically take on all of Hong Kong's underworld. I got some great shit in my head, can't wait to get it on film. Like the main bad guy, he's got this drug lab that only employs ladies. But the thing is, they're all naked!"
"Oh, have them wearing white tennis shoes, and that's it."
"I've always had a thing for naked women in white tennis shoes. I don't know why."
"Hey, you're puttin up the money. Whatever you want. I'll even try to work in a totally-gratuitous close-up of some jugs while one of em's bagging up some dope."
"Make em saggy ones."
"Saggy tits in the close-up. The saggier the better."
"Uh, okay. Yeah, sure."
"Do you have some fireworks in mind for the finale?"
"That's the best part. The final battle, right? The main Hong Kong villain's got Jackson stuck in some sort of construction rig."
"How'd he get there?"
"Who cares? Audiences'll only be paying attention to the action scenes, anyway. I'll just make up the story shit as I go along. So the villain's circling around in a helicopter, shooting at our boy, let's say with a Mac-10 or something."
"From a helicopter? Would a Mac-10 even be an accurate weapon from so far away?"
"Who cares? But anyway, Chang will somehow lure the helicopter closer, and get hold of the rig's controls. And then BLAM! He drops a couple tons of some shit right on the helicopter!"
"Just blowing the villain out of the sky."
"You got it! And I have it all in my head, right? I mean, we'll keep the camera on Johnnie there in the rig, and we'll see the helicopter explode outside, but here's the genius part: we'll hear the villain scream AFTER the helicopter's exploded!"
"It defies all laws of reality! I love it! You have any ideas for the soundtrack?"
"Don't worry about that. They've got those demo keyboards you can play for free, over at Radio Shack. I'll just get one of the assistants to go over there on his lunch break and come up with some stuff."
"Okay, let's go with it. I'll call Jackie's people, get him over here. I just have one minor concern, James."
"Well, let's say Chan isn't happy with the final product. What if he takes the finished movie and re-cuts it, makes it more like his usual-type flick, and releases his version in Hong Kong?"
"That's preposterous! Asians can't make movies!"
JOE909'S REVIEW: US version (as a "movie" movie): 5/10; (as a work of pure 1980s cheese): 9/10
MIGHTY PEKING MAN'S REVIEW: Whoever thought a filmmaker of a forgettable B-movie like "The Exterminator" would direct a living legend like Jackie Chan - who at the time - was headed at the top of his game all over the world. Following a few Hollywood duds that failed to make him famous like "Cannonball Run I and II" and Robert Clouse's attempt to emulate the Bruce Lee phenomenon in "The Big Brawl", "The Protector" was closure on Jackie's unsuccessful 1980s U.S. career. It wouldn't be until the late 1990s that Jackie Chan would finally gain success in Hollywood with the re-release of his Hong Kong hit "Rumble in the Bronx" and a couple years later with "Rush Hour".
Directed by James Glickenhaus, "The Protector" was everything Jackie was against: Harsh dialogue, dark plot, drug abuse, constant nudity and most of all, a horrible film director telling Jackie what to do and how to film what Jackie was known for - his action scenes. What's worse, is the film was an all-round failure that everyone, including Jackie's hardcore fans want to forget. Bad no-name actors, corny dialogue, and a bunch of fight scenes that are filmed so bad that Jackie's talent is practically wasted. As it stands, "The Protector" is one of Jackie's most peculiar films of his career.
As much as it's a disaster to watch, it's also a rare treat that spawned a good share of infamous trivia. What other film features Jackie saying the words "Give me the fucking keys!"? Or how often does Jackie shoot a guy multiple times with blood splattering against a wall? And, you can't forget the colorful cast, like Danny Aiello, playing Jackie's sidekick a few years before being nominated for an Oscar (for Spike Lee's "Do The Right Thing") and making a name for himself. Let's not forget Jackie's main fight with Bill "Superfoot" Wallace (real-life undefeated Professional Karate Association Middleweight Champion) as well as a brief cameo by late WWF wrestler John Minton Studd (better known as "Big John Studd")? And to top it off, a couple of familiar Hong Kong faces like the late Roy Chiao and Moon Lee also star. As you can see, "The Protector" is a strangely-shaped, mixed bag that's full of color.
"The Protector", a Hollywood film made for American audiences who weren't quite ready for Jackie's style of filmmaking. Of course, Jackie being world-famous would automatically mean that "The Protector" would be distributed all over the globe. Unhappy with James Glickenhaus' final version, Jackie decided to do some major face-lifting that would make the film more appealing for the Asian market. Jackie did everything he could to make it more of a "Jackie Chan" film - he started by cutting out every scene of nudity and R-rated dialogue. Sally Yeh ("The Killer"), one of the biggest Hong Kong stars of the time, was enlisted to appear in a newly-filmed subplot that would add some comedy as well as a nifty, well-choreographed fight scene in a gym. Jackie even called back Moon Lee and more importantly, Bill "Superfoot" Wallace, to re-shoot the climactic bout.
The result: a minor improvement. It was kind of like trying to rebuild 1979 Chevy Nova using car parts from a 2002 Honda Accord. Film stocks didn't match, comedy scenes were out of place and directing styles were crucially apparent. Obviously, the nicest touch to Jackie's version was the fight between him and Bill "Superfoot" Wallace (which is up to par with some of the best one-on-one brawls Jackie has ever filmed). The scene itself proves to be one of the best examples contrasting the difference between the ways of Hollywood and Hong Kong action styles.
The one to own is no doubt Jackie's cut, which is widely known as the "Hong Kong" version (Universe). As for the James Glickenhaus cut (Warner Bros.), it's almost like a bad accident that you can't look away from. But to get the full effect of "The Protector", watch both because it's a whole lotta fun seeing the differences.
MIGHTY PEKING MAN'S RATING: US version 4/10; HK version 5/10
AMERICAN NINJA'S REVIEW: Awful cop movie directed by one of the worst directors in the genre. Jackie Chan and Danny Aiello star as two cops who take on mobsters or something like that. The truth is I tried blocking the experience out of my head and when I re-rented it I couldn't finish it. The movie is a study in bad script, bad acting, bad directing and bad action scenes. The movie is nothing but garbage so avoid this like the plague and rent Police Story. Bottomline:The lowest point in Chan's career.
AMERICAN NINJA'S RATING: US version 1/10
DJ NIXON'S REVIEW: OK, let me first start out be saying that I have ONLY seen the HKversion, and due to the ratings and reviews on this page, I think I would much rather just stick with this one. This is a JC flick which has NO comedy and not that much fighting (but lots of violence). I really like Jackie's movies SO much better then his US ones. The end fight was pretty good and I'm glad Jackie redid it because it has the same fast, intense feel as his normal movies. I can't really say much about this movie because there just isn't much to say about it. I thought it was OK, but the end fight saved this movie.
DJ NIXON'S RATING: HK version 7/10
THE GREAT HENDU'S REVIEW: If we could liken Jackie and Danny Aiello to two different vehicles Jackie would be a well maintained candy apple red Lamboughini and Aiello would be an old, ugly, beatup, rusty '68 Ford pick-up with the bed torn off and replaced with a rotting wooden platform. HOW can these two guys be put in the same universe? If Sammo had taken this script and juiced it up and replaced Aiello with like, say, Yuen Biao, I think it could have been a decent movie. But, as is, it pretty much bites. There are a few minor stunts, lots of shooting, very little fighting and a semi-decent motorcycle jump by Jackie. At the end of the movie Jackie fights Bill Wallace. Now we all know the possibilities are endless, but what a major disappointment it was! It could have been as good as Jackie vs The Jet, but it fell far, far short of that. It's no wonder Jackie was disillusioned by the American market!
THE GREAT HENDU'S RATING: US version 3.5/10
KISHIGAI'S REVIEW: For some reason I kinda liked it. I havent seen the Hong Kong version yet but I heard its way better. Jackie seemed like he didnt have too much fun making the movie but I think it turned out ok, considering the director, the crew, and stuff. And Bill Wallace and Jackie have a brief fight near the end of the film. Its not even close to being half as good as Jackie vs. Benny the Jet in "Wheels on Meals" though.
KISHIGAI'S RATING: US version 6/10
JAMES' REVIEW: There are so many things wrong with this movie, I don't know where to begin. First we have a really bad director (Did anyone see "McBain"?), a lame plot and bad acting, except for Jackie, of course.
The action was very bad, fights seemed slow and chases were boring. Glickenhaus (who also wrote this trash) is totally at fault. He does to an action movie what a hammer does to fixing your stereo. The fights are bogged down with slowmotion crap (not the cool John Woo way) and the chases are lack excitement because they are shot from too far away. I could go into MUCH more detail, about how to film a better chase, but I won't.
Probably the worst part of the movie was teaming Jackie with Danny Aiello (who was good in "Hudson Hawk"). He had such great lines like: "Let's get those fuckers!", "Gimme that fuckin' thing!" and my favourite "Drop the gun, motherfucker!". I mean, really, all he did was pull out his gun and swear at the bad guys. I also had a problem with the nudity in this film. Really, what kind of sick mind does Glickenhaus have? What ever made him think of having naked women in the drug manufacturing plant? Another thing that bothered me was the music. Ken Thorne, who butchered John Williams brilliant music in "Superman II" and "Superman III", can't write a decent theme to save his life.
There were maybe one or two cool kicks and moves, but that was it. My friends and I made a better film in Media class this year. I just wish I had those 95 minutes of my life back.
JAMES' RATING: US version 2/10
WEI XIN'S REVIEW: Jackie plays a cop (gee, what a surprise) who wants to avenge his partner's death. His new partner is Danny Aiello. They go to Hong Kong to confront Roy Chiao and his henchmen. From there they extract revenge and yada, yada. This is probably the least entertaining of Jackie's movies. The stunts and fight scenes weren't that fun to watch, and the whole movie just seemed way too long. Highlight for me: not much really. The fight scene at the end between Jackie and Roy Chiao's henchman was the closest thing that interested me. The gym scene was amusing too, but that's about it. In conclusion, a Jackie Chan movie without humor just isn't a Jackie Chan movie.
WEI XIN'S RATING: US version 2/10
EZWALK'S REVIEW: I don't think this movie is nearly as bad as most people say. I've only seen an edited for T.V. version though. It had several good fight scenes. It also had many good stunts. It did lack most of the humor thats in most current movies. It could have used a lot more fight scenes.
EZWALK'S RATING: US version 6/10
VICTOR NGUYEN'S REVIEW: The American version of the Protector is easily one of Jackie Chan's worst films ever. This version (HK) of the Protector is a major improvement, but was still lacking. The problems that I had with both versions of the Protector is the lack of comedy. Jackie Chan is a gifted comedian, and taking that away from his films is a complete waste unless you have a good dramatic script, and the script for the Protector is far from dramatic. Still, the Hong Kong version had it's strong points, especially the fight scenes. There are two new added fight scenes in the Hong Kong version, one wiith Jackie fighting 2 guys in a weight room and the other involving two friends and gangsters in a ship yard, but was still good. The major difference between the two versions is the final fight between Jackie and Bill Wallace. The fight is much faster and is more exciting. The original version's final fight is short, with the standard punch, kick, block and repeating. This version adds acrobatics which reminds us of the old Jackie. There is also a subplot added with " The Killer" costar Sally Yeh. But by far the best thing about the Hong Kong version is that all of the gratuitous nudity and bad language were taken out, which is a trademark of American style B movies. Overall, the Hong Kong version of the Protector is the best version available and is worth the extra effort to find it. When you watch this version, you will forget all about the Glickenhaus piece of crap.
VICTOR NGUYEN'S RATING: US version 2/10; HK version 7/10
CLINT'S REVIEW: I have only seen the American version of this poor excuse for a JC movie. I have heard that there were major improvements on it in the HK version. I have to locate a copy of that somewhere. You couldn't find a worse script than the one this movie contains. I am not even going to point out the really bad lines in the film. No comedy in this movie at all. The fighting is about as bad as in a Van Damme film, with the exception of Bloodsport and Cyborg, but back to the film at hand. Two halfway decent fight scenes stick out in this movie, they are the massage parlor scene, and the finale in the warehouse. What better place to hold a finale? Oh yeah, JC flips a gun off the carpet and catches it long before he did it in Operation Condor. That's about all you get from the protector. If you must see this film, they show it on basic cable frequently.
CLINT'S RATING: US version 2/10
DUSTY'S REVIEW: This movie is not Jackie. I watched it and just shook my head. Jackie doesn't cuss! Unfortunately in this flick, Jackie let the directors have their way with him. I saw this movie a while ago, and when I look back, I don't remember anything outstanding about the movie. If you're a softcore hornball, you'll appreciate the needless scattered nudity throughout half of this film. Perhaps the worst part of this whole deal is the cover of the film, which features a drawing of Jackie that looks nothing like him, but instead, a Chinese stereotype. Doesn't America suck sometimes?
DUSTY'S RATING: US version 2/10
PETE'S REVIEW: I decided to review the "Protecter" since no one mentioned the revamped Hong Kong version that Chan made. Well since I must say that this movie was was a peice of crap, (Chan wasn't even allowed to bring in his stunt crew) you must at least acknowledge the HK version. It was much better, but that's not saying much! Chan went back to Hong kong and reshot most of the end fight with Bill Wallece.(if you see it watch for the chainlink fence stunt/kick thing) He also eliminated the nudity and added a sub plot with Sally Yeh. I still think out of both versions my favorite part would be when Jackie sweep kicks one of the bad guys off the dumpster and he lands with a loud thud right on his back!
PETE'S RATING: US version 3/10; HK version 6/10
RYAN KLEIN & "BUDDHA"S REVIEW: I see that you have gotten several answers about The Protector and I also wanted to add my own personal digust about this movie because I've never seen a worse movie by Jackie. I think this should be banned by all human watching and should only be used by the Chinese for cruel torture on people who demonstrate. There should be a warning label on the box to warn people to watch at own risk!
RYAN KLEIN & "BUDDHA"S RATING: US version 1/10 Watch this and die!