The Protector (1985 film)
name = The Protector
caption = The DVD cover of the US version
producer = David Chan
King Sang Tang
Jackie Chan Danny Aiello
cinematography = Chang Yao Chu
editing = Yao Chung Chang
Evan A. Lottman
Golden Harvest Warner Bros.
released = flagicon|Hong Kong July 11, 1985
flagicon|United States August 23, 1985
runtime = 91 min.
country = Hong Kong/US
language = Cantonese, English
amg_id = 1:39528
imdb_id = 0089847
"The Protector" (zh-t|t=威龍猛探) is a 1985
Hong Kong/ US action film, directed by James Glickenhausand starring Jackie Chan. It was Chan's second attempt at breaking into the American film market, after 1980's " The Big Brawl", a film which had flopped at the box office.
A gang is attempting to steal computers from an 18-wheeler. One of the gang members remotely hacks a set of traffic lights, turning them to red, whilst other members of the gang rig two chains onto the back of the truck. The gang member who hacked the stoplight turns it green again, and as the truck pulls away, the chains tear the door open. The trucker quickly stops and gets out to investigate. As he approaches the rear of his truck, he is knocked unconscious by a gang member, who then whistles for the rest of the gang to come in and steal the load. Meanwhile, New York police officers Billy Wong (
Jackie Chan) and Michael Alexander ( Patrick James Clarke) are patrolling the neighborhood, joking around about a doll Michael wants to give to his son. On the radio, a dispatcher says that a truck was stripped by their premises, so Billy and Michael check it out. They find the trucker, who sees that his cargo has been stolen. Michael radios in the crime, while Billy picks up the man's hat, and returns it to him saying, "Welcome to New York," shrugging.
Later, the two cops are in a bar. Billy goes to the bathroom and Michael orders another round. Outside, a gang of four are planning to rob the bar, not knowing that the two cops are inside. One of them psyches himself up by snorting cocaine. As soon as they enter, he busts the door, while another gang member rushes to the rear of the bar close to the bathroom. One gang member takes Michael's doll, throws a customer across the bar, and heads towards the bathroom, where Billy has heard the whole thing. The gang forces the bar patrons to stand by the register, whilst one member tries to open the locked bathroom. Gun drawn, he breaks down the door and aims his gun towards Billy, but Billy is ready and shoots the gangster four times before he can make the shot.
Billy heads back into the bar. Michael pulls out his own gun and kills another gangster, but is blown away by the two remaining gang members. Billy jumps, fires a shot, rolls and fires again, killing one gangster, sending him flying through the bar window. The fourth gangster escapes. Billy jumps over the counter towards Michael, who tells Billy with his dying words to find the last gangster. As Michael dies, Billy chases the last gang member to the marina across town. The gangster commandeers a yacht, so Billy demands the boat boy give him the keys to their fastest speedboat. The captain orders Billy to let the harbor police catch the thief, but Billy refuses and speeds off. He calls an air unit who arrive on the scene, hoisting Billy a line. Billy grabs onto the line, and lets his speedboat run into the henchman's boat, destroying both.
After attending a ceremonial funeral held for Michael, Billy gets back to crowd control. He goes to a party undercover with his new partner, Danny Garoni (
Danny Aiello), where they see Benny Garucci (Bill "Superfoot" Wallace), one of Martin Shapiro's ( Ron Dandrea) bodyguards. A kidnapping has taken place, and nobody knows why. They later learn that crime boss Harold Ko ( Roy Chiao) may have smuggled Shapiro's daughter, Laura ( Saun Ellis), to Hong Kongfor ransom. The men get a lead - Garucci has made calls to a massage parlor.
Whilst investigating, they get massages, but Billy sees a reflection of his masseuse pulling out a knife so he jumps, kicking her in the face, and throws a lamp at the other masseurs. Billy and Garoni fight off a the remaining clientele, before getting questioned by the police.
They go to Lee Hing (
Kwan Yeung), to cash in a coin. A man named Stan Jones ( Kim Bass) gets on the boat, asking for supplies. Stan warns Billy and Garoni they are being followed, and Billy goes to get information from the leader. The leader throws a knife at him and escapes onto another boat. Billy and Garoni head back to their hotel, finding cash in a suitcase on the bed. They are attacked by two men, but manage to kill them. They make their exit and are taken to the police station in Hong Kong.
In Hong Kong, Ko has set up an interview to acquire a new horse at a racetrack. Billy and Garoni see Garucci there. They throw the money in the air and walk off. Garoni follows Garucci to a drug laboratory, while Billy sees Hing's tortured and murdered body on his sunken boat. They go to a Buddhist priest who tells them what they are looking for. Billy, Garoni and Stan go to the drug lab, and destroy it, saving Laura Shapiro in the process. Garoni is shot by Garucci, and is held hostage unless Billy returns Laura to Ko.
They meet at the shipyard and Laura is held hostage along with Garoni. Billy fights with Garucci and Ko's guards, and is eventually about to kill Ko, but Garucci comes after Billy with a chainsaw. In the ensuing fight, Garucci is electrocuted. Ko escapes in a helicopter, and Billy follows after him, but a guard blocks his way. Billy and the guard fight on a cargo lifter half-loaded with boxes, with Billy dodging them. Garoni goes outside with the gang and kills a sniper with a 6 shot 20mm cannon. Billy is shot at, but eventually makes it to the top of a crane and Ko's helicopter gets crushed.
With Ko dead and Laura Shapiro saved, Billy and Danny are given a departmental medal of honor. Finally they are back fighting crime with crowd control.
Hong Kong Version
The Chinese version has a subplot featuring
Sally Yeh, with a few additional action sequences. A large number of scenes were cut to improve the pace of the action and to completely remove instances of nudity. Fully dressed lab women were added for the sake of continuity. A lot of swearing and American slang has been totally replaced by more universal dialogue. Bill Wallace also has an extra scene, in which he gets to show off his talent near the ice warehouse. The final fight scene is re-edited to make it more of a Hong Kong style. Overall, the script has been cleaned up and the subplot involving the coin is resolved.
Glickenhaus had previously directed
B movieaction star Robert Gintyin a film entitled " The Exterminator", which was also his only real profitable film. "The Exterminator" was a violent, gritty, and crude vigilante action film, which may be seen as derivative of Charles Bronson's Death Wish films. The Protector would be Glickenhaus' fourth time in the directing chair.
Glickenhaus had wanted Chan's character to be a "
Dirty Harry" type, speaking softly, carrying a big gun and swearing. In addition to the use of expletives, there was also nudity in the film, specifically a scene in which Chan's character walks into a drug lab run by nude women. Chan was shocked at how bad Glickenhaus's directing was, especially since The Protector was to be ostensibly a martial arts film. Chan had gained much experience directing in his Hong Kong films and was disgusted with the way Glickenhaus would move onto each subsequent scene, even when prior ones needed to be reshot.
In his autobiography, Chan relates how he called his manager saying, "He keeps going after four takes of each scene. Four takes! I've never done a scene that took less than 20 takes!"
Chan knew that his Asian audience would be offended by the frequent foul language, exploitive nudity and Glickenhaus's poor direction. Chan asked to direct the fight scenes himself, but Glickenhaus refused, wanting to keep a firewall between actor and director.
In a heated argument between Glickenhaus and Chan halfway through the shoot, Chan quit and walked off the set. Back at his hotel room Chan phoned his manager in Hong Kong and told him what he had done, saying, "Glickenhaus is destroying my career." His agent responded that he had to return to the set and finish the film because Glickenhaus had an iron-clad contract.
When the film was finally completed and Glickenhaus left Hong Kong, Chan initially decided not to release the film in Asia, but ultimately changed his mind, though not until he had re-shot some scenes, removing the nudity and vulgar language, and re-coordinating the final fight between his character and the villain played by Bill Wallace.
In the end, the American version was stiff and the editing was sloppy, whereas the Hong Kong version was more elaborate, dynamic and faster. Subsequently the American version flopped at the box office, whilst the Hong Kong version received moderate success in Asia.
It is claimed that Chan's next Hong Kong film, the hugely popular and critically acclaimed Police Story, was made in order to atone for The Protector.
The following changes were made by Jackie Chan, for the Hong Kong release of the film:
cenes in the US
* Billy Wong asks a civilian where the crook has gone. (added)
* The crook climbs over the chain-linked fence. (deleted)
* Michael's funeral. (deleted)
cenes in Hong Kong
* Extra dialogue between Billy, Danny and the chinese police chief, intro to the massage parlour. (deleted)
* A few short scenes featuring Billy in action in the massage parlour. (deleted)
* Billy catches the gun. (slowed down)
Boat and dock area
* Billy locates Sally Yeh, deals with two guys in a gym and interviews Sally Yeh. (added)
* Small scene with the african-american on the boat. (deleted)
* A few scenes when Billy chases Sally Yeh's uncle on the boat. (deleted)
* The death of Moon Lee's father on the boat. (deleted)
* Billy's scene with Moon Lee on the boat and buddhist prayer. (deleted)
* Mr. Ko talks to Bill Wallace. (deleted)
* Mr. Ko's assistant beats Sally Yeh's uncle and plots to kill Billy and Danny. (added)
* A deep male voice talking to Billy on the phone is replaced by a female voice demanding that he should leave. (replaced)
* Bill Wallace attacks Moon's father and friend, Moon Lee unhappy with Billy around. (added)
* A bomb in Sally Yeh's bedroom, her uncle warns Billy and Sally, the departure of Sally and her uncle. (added)
Drug lab and warehouse
* A small scene of Bill preparing to shoot. (deleted)
* A fight scene between Billy Wong and Bill Wallace near a chain-linked fence. (re-edited)
* Bill gets hit by Billy using some dangerous equipment. (deleted)
* Bill Wallace uses a chain-saw. (re-edited)
Changes to Content
* All cursing has been excised.
* All nudity with women has been excised with the drug lab re-shot showing fully dressed women.
* American slang has been changed.
* Danny's use of the phrase "T 'n' A" has been changed.
In North America, "The Protector" was a box office disaster, making only US $981,817. Chan's re-edited version grossed HK $13,917,612 in Hong Kong, a respectable sum, but significantly less than any of Chan's domestic films at the time.
Jackie Chan filmography
*imdb title|id=0089847|title=The Protector
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