The Protector (1985)

Synopsis: Jackie plays Billy Wong, a New York city policeman whose partner is killed on duty. He is assigned a new partner (Danny Aiello, in what has to be the worst pairing in movie history) and given a dud assignment guarding a millionaire’s daughter against kidnappers, because of the reckless manner in which he went after his partner’s killers. I have to admit, I don’t fully understand the plot, but Wong and Garoni (Aiello) end up chasing the kidnappers all the way to Hong Kong, where Garoni ends up being taken prisoner as well, so now Wong must save both his new partner and the millionaire’s daughter. 

Debbie's Review: Whether you like or hate this movie will probably depend on whether you watch the original American, or the Hong Kong version first. The American version was directed by James Glickenhaus, who also directed Bruce Lee in Return of the Dragon. The dialogue and the fights are geared to make Jackie look like a scary, tough guy, but it just doesn’t work. The fights are badly staged, and amateurish looking, and the dialogue…well, let’s just say that no actor on earth could have done much with lines like “Discretion is my middle name,” but when you throw in Jackie’s barely intelligible English, the results are just laughable. On the positive side, you DO get to hear Jackie use the “F” word for the only time in his career (well, okay…until “Burn, Hollywood, Burn,” but who’s ever gonna see THAT one?). But the American version is vulgar, tasteless and just plain stupid. 

The Hong Kong version, on the other hand, was reworked by Jackie after he went back home. He cut out most of the senseless nudity, and re-shot many of the fight scenes, making them much tighter and realistic-looking. The big fight between Jackie and Bill “Superfoot” Wallace, which was flaccid and fake looking in the American version is now taut and exciting. He also added a sub-plot involving a pretty girl, but unfortunately I can’t tell you what it is, because my HK version is dubbed in Cantonese/Mandarin and doesn’t have any subtitles! And even at that, it’s still a better film than the US one. Jackie also added one completely new fight in a work-out room against two male dancers. He uses the weight lifting equipment as weapons in a really clever, funny scene that’s much too short.  And because it’s dubbed into Jackie’s native language, his acting seems much better, making him totally believable as a tough, street-wise cop. 

So, my recommendation is: if you can only afford one copy of this movie, try to get the HK version (with subtitles if you can find it!) But if you can get hold of both copies, it’s fun to compare the two versions, to see how much a little editing and some dubbing can do for a film! 

American version: Score 3/10
Hong Kong version: Score 5/10

Reader Reviews:

Anonymous's Review: The hongkong version of this film is preedy good with great martial arts scenes. By the way Debbie, the director of the american version james glickenhaus whas noth the director of bruce lee's return of the dragon that film whas both written and directed by bruce himself. [Err, yeah, I knew that. I was just testing you guys.  - Debbie]

Score: 5/10

Zargo's Review: I've only seen the U.S version, but it's absolutly wonderful fun! The whole thing is just hilarious! Hearing Jackie say something to the effect of 'I don't want your money, I want your ass!' is making me laugh just thinking about it, and if Jackie walking into a lab full of naked chicks doesn't make you smile, than you're too serious! I guess you have to be lover of bad movie to appreciate it...

Score: 10/10

AYSE's Review: I didnt see the HK version but there arent so much things to say about American version, the film is terrible the only  2 enjoyable things are JC's fight scenes and counting his jackets in the film ,more than 6 :)

Score: 4/10

The Drunken Master's Review: Recently, I rented this film. It cost me $.99.
This film is without a doubt Jackie's worst. Poor Jackie, darn the Americans! Oh yeah, that's us. Never mind.
Buy the HK version. 
Virtually unwatchable.

Score: 1/10

Aww, c'mon, ain't THAT bad, is it?.....Debbie


Joe's Review: I have only seen the American version, but to Debbie I think the girl is the one is from The Killer. Sally something I think. anyways, bad movie with some decent stuff once in a while.

Score: 4/10

Adam's Review: I bought the Hong Kong Version and was very pleased. I previously went crazy on watching Jackie's early stuff, so seeing him in an 80's American movie was cool. I like the feel of the movie. Has a rich 80's feel to it. Jackie went back and redid the nasty bits (have yet to see the American version). Because I have the HK version I didn't hear any of Jackie's foul speach, but I saw him mouth it, and that made me chuckle. I really liked this version.

Score: 6.5/10

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