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Jackie Chan: Crime Story / The Protector(1985-1993)
No synopsis for Jackie Chan: Crime Story / The Protector.
For more about Jackie Chan: Crime Story / The Protector and the Jackie Chan: Crime Story / The Protector Blu-ray release, see the Jackie Chan: Crime Story / The Protector Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on January 14, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 2.5 out of 5.
Starring: Jackie Chan, Danny Aiello, Kent Cheng, Victor Arnold, Kar-Ying Law, Christine Ng
Directors: James Glickenhaus, Kirk Wong
This Blu-ray release includes the following titles, see individual titles for specs and details:
Jackie Chan: Crime Story / The Protector Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, January 14, 2013
Kirk Wong's "Crime Story" (1993) and James Glickenhaus's "The Protector" (1985) arrive on Blu-ray courtesy of Shout Factory. The supplemental features on this release include original trailers for the two films; deleted scenes; new video interview with director James Glickenhaus; behind the scenes featurette; video interview with director Kirk Wong; and more. In English and Cantonese, with optional English subtitles for the two films. Region-A "locked".
Eddie Chan (Jackie Chan, Shinjuku Incident, The Myth), an honest Hong Kong cop, is ordered to protect a local businessman (Law Kar-Ying, Viva Erotica, Tricky Business) who fears that he could be the target of a kidnapping plot. He immediately performs a quick background check on the businessman and determines that his concerns are justified. Soon after, the businessman is kidnapped by a powerful gang with connections in Taiwan. Chan follows a lead and ends up in Taipei, where a portion of the ransom the kidnappers have demanded and received is wired.
Chan is accompanied by Hung (Kent Cheng, The Sensational Pair, The Bodyguard from Beijing), a seasoned cop whose opinion is well respected within the Police Department. With the assistance of the local authorities, the two quickly track down a man who has been communicating with one of the kidnappers in Hong Kong. The man leads Chan and Hung to a building on the outskirts of Taipei where the ransom money are delivered. After an intense shootout, during which Chan is seriously injured, the gang's local leader and his top men are eliminated, and the ransom money recovered.
Before heading back to Hong Kong, Chan sees Hung talking to one of the gangsters and then killing him, and realizes that he is secretly assisting his bosses. In Hong Kong, he immediately requests that Hung is monitored. Much to his surprise, however, he is told to focus on what matters - the kidnappers - and stop worrying about Hung. Shortly after, Hung, who is already aware that Chan suspects him, attempts to kills his partner on a ship that has been used by the kidnappers.
Inspired by a true story, Crime Story is a film that allowed Chan to prove that he could portray serious traits. In it the comedy elements that appear in many of his previous films are replaced by a stronger dramatic pulse, and the focus of attention is primarily on the events surrounding the kidnapping of the businessman.
The secondary characters are also not entirely overshadowed by Chan. There are important relationships between them that get as much attention as the action scenes where Chan does his usual tricks. Naturally, the dynamic progression of the film is a lot better than that of many of Chan's classic films.
Quite predictably, the action is sizzling. There are a number of wonderfully choreographed scenes from Taipei, and later on from Hong Kong, where Chan shines. Only a few, however, have the marquee comedic overtones that helped Chan become a superstar. The special effects in these scenes are also fairly modest.
Kirk Wong's direction is confident and motivated. There is a good balance between the action sequences and the dramatic scenes that ultimately gives the film a solid, stylish look. Cinematographer Arthur Wong (The 36th Chamber of Shaolin, Iron Monkey) and editor Peter Cheung (Police Story, Police Story II) are also to be commended for the film's consistent tempo.
Note: In 1993, Crime Story won Golden Horse Award for Best Actor (Jackie Chan) at the Golden Horse Film Festival. A year later, the film won Best Film Editing Award (Peter Cheung) at the Hong Kong Film Awards.
New York City cops Billy Wong (Jackie Chan) and Danny Garoni (Danny Aiello, Jacob's Ladder, Léon: The Professional) are sent to Hong Kong to investigate the kidnapping of Laura Shapiro (Saun Ellis), the daughter of a well known businessman. Before they leave, the two cops are warned that Mr. Ko (Roy Chiao, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom), a notorious drug lord, might be behind it.
In Hong Kong, Billy and Danny begin asking questions. Soon after, the Police Commissioner (Richard Clarke, The Elephant Man) warns them not to create any drama in his city and stay away from Mr. Ko. But Billy and Danny do precisely the opposite – they confront Mr. Ko and he sends his goons after them. Things quickly get out of control.
The Protector isn't amongst Chan's best films but it is still quite entertaining. The majority of the action sequences in it are well choreographed, though admittedly not as elaborate as those seen in many of Chan's previous films. The pacing and editing are also good, but Chan apparently wasn't impressed with the film's final American version and later on cut a number of scenes (most of the nudity) for his preferred version, which was also dubbed in Cantonese.
Aiello's character is the obvious weak link in the film. His attitude and smart jokes feel incredibly awkward because the film simply does not have the type of edge they demand. Chan does his best to maintain some balance, but his interactions with Aiello are quite problematic as his arsenal of English words is very limited.
Jackie Chan: Crime Story / The Protector Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in their original aspect ratios of 1.85:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted 1080p transfers, Kirk Wong's Crime Story and James Glickenhaus's The Protector arrive on Blu-ray courtesy of Shout Factory.
Screencaptures 1-9 are from Crime Story, while screencaptures 10-20 are from The Protector.
There is not a lot to be overly excited about as the transfers for the two films appear to have been sourced from standard definition masters. Needless to say, all of the key areas that we typically address in these reviews have the types of limitations one should expect from standard definition transfers - weak detail and color reproduction, unconvincing depth, and unsatisfactory clarity, among other things. I should also mention that there are various tiny specks and minor scratches that pop up here and there, which were also present on Kam & Ronson Enterprises' Blu-ray release of Crime Story. Some edge shimmer is also visible on both films (it is more prominent on The Protector). All in all, despite the minor compression improvements, you should consider picking up this release only if you do not already own the two films on it on DVD. (Note: This is a Region-A "locked" Blu-ray disc. Therefore, you must have a native Region-A or Region-Free PS3 or SA in order to access its content).
Jackie Chan: Crime Story / The Protector Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Crime Story arrives the following audio tracks: Cantonese DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, Cantonese Dolby Digital 2.0, and English Dolby Digital 2.0. The Protector arrives with the following tracks: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and English Dolby Digital 2.0. For the record, Shout Factory have provided optional English subtitles for both films.
The lossless tracks are probably the biggest reason why one would want to consider upgrading his DVD releases of Crime Story and The Protector. Though slightly uneven, the lossless Cantonese track on Crime Story certainly opens up the film during important action scenes. The lossless track on The Protector, however, isn't as pleasing. Though dynamic movement is elevated, there is some light background hiss that pops up from time to time. There are no serious distortions or audio dropouts on the two tracks to report in this review.
Jackie Chan: Crime Story / The Protector Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Jackie Chan: Crime Story / The Protector Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
I think that it is quite disappointing to see that there are no decent high-definition masters for so many of Jackie Chan's early films as they are his best. With so many of these films arriving on Blu-ray in Hong Kong and now in the U.S. with transfers that have been sourced from standard definition masters, I believe it is fair to say that these might be the best versions that will appear on the home video market. I would love to be proven wrong, but it is obvious to me that Fortune Star does not have proper masters. If you have not already picked up the Hong Kong Blu-ray release of Crime Story, I would recommend that you consider Shout Factory's release as it also includes The Protector and some interesting supplemental features, including a new video interview with director James Glickenhaus. However, if you insist to have these films in high-definition, then this Blu-ray release is not for you.
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