The Protector: Limited Edition – 88 Films (Blu-ray)
Theatrical Release Date: Hong Kong/USA, 1985
Director: James Glickenhaus
Writers: James Glickenhaus, King Sang Tang
Cast: Jackie Chan, Danny Aiello, Sandy Alexander, Victor Arnold, Kim Bass, Irene Britto, Jesse Cameron-Glickenhaus, Al Cerullo, Roy Chiao, Moon Lee
Release Date: November 18th, 2019
Approximate running times: 92 Minutes 9 Seconds (U.S. Cut), 95 Minutes 23 Seconds (Hong Kong Cut)
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC (U.S. Cut), 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC / Standard Definition Source (Hong Kong Cut)
Rating: 18 (UK)
Sound: DTS-HD 5.1 English, LPCM Stereo English (U.S. Cut), Dolby Digital Mono Cantonese (Hong Kong Cut)
Subtitles: English SDH (U.S. Cut), English (Hong Kong Cut)
Region Coding: Region B
Retail Price: OOP
"After the kidnapping of a wealthy businessman's daughter, maverick New York City cops Billy Wong (Jackie Chan) and Danny Garoni (Danny Aiello) are sent to garner leads in Hong Kong, but the pair find themselves beset by the local police and crime boss, Harold Ko (Roy Chiao) who will stop at nothing in ensuring the continuity of his drug empire.” – Synopsis provided by the Distributor
Video: 3.75/5 (U.S. Cut), 3/5 (Hong Kong Cut)
Here’s the information provided about the transfer, "Brand New 2K Remaster of the Original USA Release Version."
The Protector comes on a 50 GB dual layer Blu-ray.
Disc Size: 44.9 GB
Feature: 22.1 GB (U.S. Cut), 10 GB (Hong Kong Cut)
Though the source used for the U.S. cut is in great shape, it is a marked improvement over this film’s previous home video releases. There is room for improvement. Sometimes image clarity and black levels are not as strong as they could be. Also, though colors and flesh tones fare well, there are times when they look slightly off. That said, compression is very good, and the image always looks organic.
The Hong Kong cut comes from a standard-definition source, and it obviously does not look as good as the U.S. cut. That said, the image generally looks crisp, the black levels are adequate, and there are no issues with compression.
Audio: 4.5/5 (LPCM Stereo English), 4.25/5 9DTS-HD 5.1 English), 3.75/5 (Dolby Digital Mono Cantonese)
The U.S. cut comes with two audio options, a DTS-HD 5.1 mix in English and a LPCM stereo mix in English. Both of these tracks are in great shape. Dialogue comes through clearly; everything sounds balanced, and fight sequences sound appropriately robust. That said, I would give a slight edge to the stereo track over the DTS-HD 5.1 remix track. Included are removable English SDH subtitles.
The Hong Kong cut comes with one audio option, a Dolby Digital mono mix in Cantonese with removable English subtitles. The audio sounds clean and balanced. Range-wise, things sound very good.
Extras for this release include Hong Kong theatrical trailer (3 minutes 52 seconds, Dolby Digital mono Cantonese with burnt-in English subtitles), international theatrical trailer (3 minutes 56 seconds, Dolby Digital mono with English text), Japanese theatrical trailer (1 minute 20 seconds, Dolby Digital mono Japanese, no subtitles), Japanese theatrical trailer (1 minute 20 seconds, Dolby Digital mono Japanese, no subtitles), Japanese theatrical teaser (25 seconds, Dolby Digital mono Japanese, no subtitles), Japanese end credits (3 minutes 47 seconds, Dolby Digital mono), a side-by-side comparison of the HK cut and the US cut of the film titled A Tale of 2 movies with Steve Lawson (18 minutes 9 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an interview with cinematographer Mark Irwin titled Follow the Puck (33 minutes 43 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an interview with director James Glickenhaus titled Hard Edge (24 minutes 21 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an audio commentary with filmmaker Arne Venema and Hong Kong film expert Mike Leeder for the U.S. cut, an audio commentary with Irish filmmaking maverick George Clarke and Mike Leeder for the Hong Kong cut, reversible cover art, a gloss o-card slipcase (limited to 3,000 copies), and a forty-four page booklet (limited to 3,000 copies) with an essay titled Jackie Chan: Western Style The Protector and the U.S. Rebranding of Jackie Chan written by Scott Harrison, and rare stills and lobby cards from The Protector.
Directed by James Glickenhaus, who is most known for directing The Exterminator and The Soldier. When he was brought in to direct The Protector in the hope that this would be the film that made Jackie Chan a star in the U.S., after three failed attempts
The narrative revolves around two New York cops who are given the task of rescuing a rich businessman’s daughter from a notorious crime boss who has her stashed somewhere in Hong Kong.
There are two versions of The Protector, though they share a lot of footage. They are distinctively different when it comes to pacing and tone. Director James Glickenhaus’ version has far too many moments that drag on longer than they should, which greatly affects pacing. Also, his vision of The Protector goes against everything that one would expect from a Jackie Chan film. Then there is Jackie Chan’s preferred version, known as the Hong Kong cut. This version features characters and full sequences that are not in James Glickenhaus’ version. Also, though these scenes are more in line with Jackie Chan’s strengths, unfortunately, most of these new scenes add little to the overall arc of the narrative. That said, both versions have their strengths and flaws.
The main attraction of The Protector is Jackie Chan (Wheels on Meals) in the role of a police officer named Billy Wong. This character is unlike any that Jackie Chan had portrayed up to that point in his career. Notably, when it comes to his character's use of a firearm and overuse of profanity, he delivers a good performance, but this is not one of Jackie Chan’s stronger performances.
The rest of the cast ranges from serviceable to good. With the only performance of note besides Jackie Chan being Danny Aiello (Do the Right Thing) in the role of Billy Wong’s partner, a police officer named Danny Garoni. Though Jackie Chan and Danny Aiello make an odd pairing, their characters more than fulfill the buddy cop stereotypes.
From its opening moments, The Protector does not feel like a Jackie Chan film. Also, outside of a few well-executed scenes, most of the action set pieces are fairly pedestrian by Jackie Chan’s standards. The most memorable action set piece is the scene where Billy Wong starts a chase on a motorcycle, then continues the chase on foot by jumping from one boat to another. Ultimately, The Protector is a tale of two versions, both of which have their flaws.
The Protector gets a first-rate release from 88 Films that comes with a strong audio/video presentation, two versions of the film, and informative extras, recommended.
Note: 88 Films has rereleased The Protector in a standard edition.
Written by Michael Den Boer