The Protector (1985)

 The Protector (1985)

The Protector (威龙猛探) is a 1985 Hong Kong and American martial arts crime drama film directed by James Glickenhaus, and starring Jackie Chan. It was Chan's second attempt at breaking into the American film market, after 1980 film The Big Brawl, a film which had flopped at the box office. Conflicts between Glickenhaus and Chan during production led to two official versions of the film: Glickenhaus' original version for American audiences and a Hong Kong version reshot by Jackie Chan. Also, this led to Chan's decision to make Police Story as a response to this film.


Plot

US version

Later, the two cops are in a bar. Billy Wong (Jackie Chan) goes to the bathroom while Michael Alexander (Patrick James Clarke) orders another round. Outside, a gang plan to rob the bar, unaware of the cops inside. They charge in busting the door and start roughing up the customers and gathering them by the till. Billy, still in the bathroom, has heard the commotion. The gang forces the customers to stand by the register, while one member tries to open the locked bathroom. Gun drawn, he breaks down the door, but Billy has overhead everything and shoots the gangster four times before he can make the shot.

Michael pulls out his own gun, killing another gangster, but is then shot by the two remaining gang members. Billy leaps and fires, killing one gangster, sending him flying through the bar window. The fourth gangster escapes. Billy approaches Michael, who asks, with his dying words, that Billy find the last gangster. Billy chases the last gang member to the marina across town. The gangster commandeers a yacht, so Billy gets the keys to the fastest speedboat from the boat boy. 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 and hoist him 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 Garrucci (Bill "Superfoot" Wallace), one of the bodyguards to Martin Shapiro (Ron Dandrea). 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 Kong for ransom. The men get a lead – Garrucci has made calls to a massage parlor.

While 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 the remaining clientele, before getting questioned by the leader of the massage parlour.

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.

Garoni follows Garrucci 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 Garrucci, 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 Garrucci and Ko's guards and is eventually about to kill Ko, but Garrucci comes after Billy with a cut-off saw. In the ensuing fight, Garrucci is electrocuted by trying to slice open Billy's head, but missing and hitting an electric panel that he smashed Billy's head on. 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.


Hong Kong version

Even though the narrative is the same, the Chinese version has a subplot featuring Sally Yeh in connection to the coin and her uncle working at the massage parlour. A large number of scenes were cut to improve the pace of the film and to cut down on any instances of nudity. Fully dressed lab women were added as a replacement to give more logical sense for the Chinese version. A lot of swearing and American slang has been totally changed to make the story cohesive enough for the story to work for the Chinese audience.

Bill Wallace also has an extra scene outside the ice warehouse against Lee Hoi Shan in which it sets him up as a formidable opponent against Jackie Chan later on in the warehouse. The final fight scene is re-edited to make it more of a Hong Kong style. Overall, the script has been cleaned up to make it compatible for Chan's audience, to make it distinctive enough from the US version.

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