The Protector (1985) is the action film from director James Glickenhaus where he tried to turn Jackie Chan into a hard edge cop with mixed results. Not to be confused with other films with the same title (including the Tony Jaa film Tom Yum Goong renamed The Protector for the USA market!).
After his partner was murdered by gang members and tearing up half the city chasing them, New York detective Billy Wong (Jackie Chan) is Partnered with seasoned cop Danny Garoni (Danny Aiello who sadly passed away recently) to investigate a kidnapping which is connected to a drug-smuggling ring in Hong Kong and stop the traffic to the USA once and for all.
Director Glickenhaus makes no excuses for trying to turn Jackie Chan into a Dirty Harry clone and making him a more hard-edged action star, even if he failed to see what made him popular in the first place. The action is violent and bloody (especially the opening shootout) but it is a frustrating watch because you can see a little of the Chan magic, but he is so restricted by the way the action is choreographed and edited that its understandable he was so disappointed in the final product. So much so that he actually went back to Hong Kong to shoot additional scenes and edit out most of the nudity and cursing. Also after the experience, he decided to make a cop movie his way, and the result was the far superior and classic Police Story (also available remastered in the UK from Eureka.)
The Protector Blu Ray Picture / Audio Quality –
The Protector has been released on DVD and Blu ray previously but always looked very rough around the edges. This new release from 88 Films is from a new 2K remaster and the results are far superior to anything released before. The image is clean and stable, colours bold and blacks solid. Audio has the options of the original English stereo soundtrack and an English DTS 5.1 remix. Clear and free of any errors the stereo mix is the best option in my opinion.
The Protector Blu Ray Extras –
Extras are plentiful with first an interesting and fun audio commentary from Mike Leeder and Arne Venema. Hard Edge is a candid and interesting interview with director James Glickenhaus on the making of the film and his experience with Jackie Chan. He doesn’t pull any punches and sticks by his reasons for making the film the way he did. Follow the Puck is an interview with cinematographer Mark Irwin. There are a good selection of trailers from the USA, Hong Kong and Taiwan, the Japanese end credits (the only one with outtakes) and a great booklet full of excellent pictures and posters.
The most interesting extra is Jackie Chan’s Hong Kong cut of the film. It’s in SD (No HD master available sadly) with new subtitles (The dub is in Cantonese) but is still good quality and it’s fascinating seeing the alternate cut. There is an audio commentary on this one as well by Mike Leeder and George Clarke. Finally a detailed comparison of the 2 cuts of the film.
It is a superb package, sure the film has a lot of faults, but for a low budget violent 80’s action film with a touch of Jackie Chan stunt magic, the film is an enjoyable revisit, and as a bonus, you get some great extras including a limited edition slipcase with fantastic new artwork from Kung Fu Bob Obrien….
FILM : 6 PICTURE : 9 AUDIO : 8 EXTRAS : 9