After constantly reading and hearing nothing but negative opinions about the American produced, but also filmed in Hong Kong Jackie Chan vehicle 'The Protector'. It didn't sway me from checking it out. I'm no Jackie Chan fan, but honestly it was director James Glickenhaus' name which fed my interest. Best known for the 80s exploitative vigilante flick 'The Exterminator (1980)' and some entertaining action joints 'The Soldier (1982)' and 'Shakedown (1985). 'The Protector' does have the same vibe of his early efforts; gritty, brutal, rough and seamy. And I would call it lesser work. However the main talking point will always be how Glickenhaus used Jackie Chan. Yes, Chan is wasted in a role that would've been better suited for someone else (Norris comes to mind, as it has more in common with his stuff), as his martial arts abilities and amusing characteristics are never truly capitalized on. I'm so use to seeing him with that *wink, wink* attitude (Project A) and piling on those extravagantly energy-packed stunt work (Police Story). It's a different kettle, and very atypical. Here he looks uncomfortable throughout with that hardboiled edge. Just listen to his sober delivery of the dialogues. That endearing personality is kept in check. This performance seemed to ask more on dramatic acting, than his psychical and lively talent. He's pairing up with Danny Aiello (a loutish cop) couldn't be anymore disjointed and unbelievable. The chemistry never felt right, but with these problems I still was mesmerized. The rest of the performances (Bill Wallace, Roy Chiao) were indifferent. Look out for a short appearance by Mike Starr. While it didn't have the on-going rush I was expecting, Chan gets some furious and hard-hitting action sequences (like the opening slow-motion bloody shoot-out, tricky boat chase (one by water and the other by foot) and a marvellous sky-high balancing act). The film doesn't start off too badly, but when it hits Honk Kong. The copy and paste formula with its many predictable outcomes (involving the seedy crime underworld and the buddy style of two rogue cops) seems to plod along rather coldly. At least there's something enticing about the moody Hong Kong scenery, and ace cinematographer Mark Irwin's crisp moving camera-work is expansively fleshed-out. Effectively detailing the backdrop. Glickenhaus' direction is scratchy, but he knows how to set-up street style locations and infuse sleaze (especially the opportunities that arose to squeeze in nudity). It cops a lot shtick, but without the expectations it's a passable odd of sorts.
Action / Crime / Thriller
Action / Crime / Thriller
Two New York City cops, Billy Wong and Danny Garoni, head to Hong Kong after the daughter of a rich businessman is kidnapped by the drug lord, Mr. Ko.
December 8, 2019