Jackie Chan: Crime Story / The Protector [Blu-ray]
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January 15, 2013
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Jackie Chan stars in one of his grittiest roles ever as a police detective on the edge, who must race against time to solve a deadly kidnapping case. Based on the shocking true story of a billionaire abducted in a bold ambush, and filled with explosive martial-arts battles, Crime Story pulses with tension and excitement. Director Kirk Wong (The Big Hit) deftly combines acrobatic fight choreography with edge-of-your-seat action for this thrilling and dramatic tour-de-force for Jackie Chan.
Written and directed by James Glickenhaus (The Exterminator), The Protector stars Jackie Chan and Danny Aiello (Do the Right Thing) as a pair of NYPD cops sent to Hong Kong to catch a drug lord who has kidnapped the daughter of his former associate. Also starring martial-arts star Moon Lee (Angel Force) and Roy Chiao (Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom), this thriller features Hollywood-style action sprinkled with Chans death-defying stunts.
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"Crime Story" is a very suspenseful thriller with few fight scenes. But the action is very intense and there is not a dull moment! The story is a blend of "cat and mouse" and "race against time" as Eddie Chan (Jackie Chan) must find and rescue the kidnapped businessman Wong Yat-Fei. Unbeknownst to Eddie Chan, Wong Yat-Fei has been kidnapped by his own partner in the force!
This blu-ray release of "Crime Story" is the best I've seen yet. It has a very sharp and natural image. The picture has been remastered and the audio is as good as you'll get. The audio is a solid DTS 5.1 HD Master and is the original Cantonese soundtrack, with an option 5.1 English dub or the original 2.0 Cantonese mono track. The special features for this movie are the deleted scenes and an interview with director Kurt Wong. Both are presented in SD, but anamorphic, and have English subtitles.
Now, for "The Protector"
This was Jackie Chan's 2nd attempt to break into the Western/International film market, after the failure of "Battle Creek Brawl", and was directed by James Glickenhaus. According to Chan's autobiography, he became dissatisfied with the movie immediately during its production, and unsuccessfully tried to get Glickenhaus replaced. And when you watch this movie, it's not hard to see why he didn't like it. His character is a "Dirty Harry" type of cop, always serious, "talking tough but carrying a big stick" so to speak. This is the only movie where you'll hear JC say the F-word. The action sequences in this movie are also paced much slower than the style of JC's Hong Kong films. Also present is gratuitous female nudity, something that also upset Jackie Chan.
However, present on this blu-ray is the Asian/Hong Kong version of the film, also known as Jackie Chan's personal edit. Many Jackie Chan fans consider his personal edit to be the superior version of the film. When Chan gained the Asian distribution rights to the film, he did the following
1. Removed all nudity scenes. The naked female workers in the drug factory have been replaced with workers wearing outfits appropriate for a lab.
2. Filmed an entire sub plot involving the massage parlor coin, featuring actors who were in the original US version but didn't have a big part, and actors who didn't appear in the US version, such as Sally Yeh. This subplot adds more depth to the film, and provides us with 3 additional action sequences, one of which features ANOTHER fight scene featuring henchman Benny Garucci (Bill "Superfoot" Wallace).
3. Cut out the pointless "fortune teller" scene, and other scenes were trimmed to help speed up the movie's pacing.
4. Dubbed the entire movie in Cantonese. This was done mainly to replace the cursing and American slang. However, in some scenes the Cantonese dub is completely different from the original spoken dialog in order to match the story as told in the Hong Kong version.
5. Completely re-edited the final one-on-one fight between himself and Bill Wallace. Unlike in the US version, this version's final fight is much more fast-paced, less predictable, and features Chan's style of a fight scene!
However, the downside of Shout Factory's release of JC's edit is that they clearly did not care about giving it an adequate presentation. Unlike other releases, the JC edit is anamorphic, but it's not HD (unlike the US version on this disc). They did not take any time to clean up any film grain and scratches, nor did they try to make any color correction. If you're familiar with the now out-of-print Universe Laser DVD, well, let's just the say that the picture quality here for JC's edit is even worse on this blu-ray release, with the only benefit here being that Shout Factory's blu-ray version is anamorphic.
To compare both versions, the US version has
1. Superior picture quality (HD)
2. The original undubbed English soundtrack (DTS-HD 5.1 Master), complete with all the American slang cursing
3. A lot of female nudity
The Hong Kong version has
1. Inferior picture quality (anamorphic SD, film grain & scratches, no color correction)
2. The subplot that gives which provides more depth and action sequences
3. No nudity
4. The dubbed 2.0 Cantonese mono track with English subtitles
5. A superior re-edited fight scene between Jackie Chan & Bill Wallace
It's all going to come down to your own personal preference. If you're a true Jackie Chan, I recommend buying this for your collection!
Also for "The Protector", we have an interview with director James Glickenhaus who gives "his side of the story" for why he made the film the way he did, and a Cantonese-dubbed behind the scenes featurette (with no subtitles).
Jackie Chan and Danny Aiello as NYC cops. 80s sleaze by exploitation auteur, James Glickenhaus (director of sleaze faves, The Exterminator, Shakedown. He was also a sometime producer for William Lustig) The strangest Chan movie - sex, nudity, lots of violence and a jaundiced few of humanity. All around Sleaze. A honest to God grindhouse flick! Danny Aiello perfect as an un-PC cop, especially when the action moves to Hong Kong. Danny loves himself some massage parlors!
"The Protector", on the other hand, is trash. It has way too many needlessly naked women, and Danny Aiello is plain offensive in his attitude towards Asians. JC did the movie without complaints, then took his option to re-edit the picture for the Hong Kong market, re-shooting many of the scenes and extending the action, as well as getting rid of the nudity.
Which gets me to the bonus features, which are outstanding, especially for "The Protector" there is a short interview with the director, where he gets to state his side of the case. More importantly, the JC version of the movie is also included, and it plays like an entirely different feature - and it is the better version, if not in picture qulaity.
For the money, there is a great deal of value in this package.
Top international reviews
scenes with the 'Two Towers' in the background during the opening sequences,
of course this movie was made in 1985.
After his partner is gunned down in a bar, cop 'Billy Wong' (Jackie Chan) ignores
a direct order to make sure he avenges his lost partner.
'Billy' could face a disciplinary charge for failing to obey a senior officers command,
however after a recent high profile kidnapping that points to a 'Hong Kong' drug
'Billy's' expertise is required for the operation that means following the trail in 'Hong
Kong' along with fellow cop 'Danny Garoni' (Danny Aiello)
The two set out to locate the Gangland operators to enable a rescue attempt of
the kidnapped daughter of a former associate of the Hong Kong outfit 'Laura Shapiro'
The NYPD cops get themselves in a heap load of bother frequently crossing the line
in terms of the law of the land.
They are playing by their own rules to achieve the right result.
Some decent 'Martial-Art' and 'Fire-fight' sequences along with several impressive
Blu-ray upgrade is ok.
* From 'New York to Hong Kong'
* Interview with director - 'James Glickenhaus'
* Behind the scenes featurette.
* Jackie Chan's' personal cut of 'The Protector' including additional scenes directed
by 'Jackie Chan'
THE REVIEW IS FOR 'THE PROTECTOR' ONLY AM YET TO WATCH 'CRIME STORY'
(Bought this on a recommendation from fellow reviewer 'Timelord')