Thursday, February 14, 2013
Crime Story (1993) / The Protector (1985)
"This is an Insult to Jackie Chan's Legacy."
The Protector (1985) - 5/5
Jackie Chan is Billy Wong in his first leading, English speaking role. While celebrating his tenth anniversary of living in America, Billy and his partner are partying at a bar when robbers come in and start shooting the place up. Billy's partner is killed in cold blood and Billy guns down all of the killers involved, even as going as far as chasing the lead gunman down by boat to kill them all. While morning the loss of his partner and friend, Billy goes to a party where a crime boss's daughter is kidnapped by henchmen who work for Harold Ko. Billy, a Chinese immigrant takes on a new partner and go to Hong Kong to save the kidnapped woman.
We have both American cuts and the Hong Kong version which has additional scenes written and directed by Jackie Chan. In the Hong Kong version, Jackie's character, Billy has a side story with a female character who is new to the film. For his first English speaking role, Jackie does a good job. And I find it really funny yet awkward when Billy says; "Give me the fu**ing keys!"
I cannot remember off the top of my head, but I think that's honestly the only time I have ever heard Jackie say that word in any of the English speaking films that I have seen him in. I think James Glickenhaus did a good job directing him in this movie. I did enjoy both cuts of the film. Do I think Jackie's new scenes were needed? Not really. But, including both cuts, I do give this a 5/5.
Crime Story (1993) - 5/5
This is one of my all time favorite Jackie Chan films. Whenever Jackie does his police dramas, he always shines. In "Crime Story", a gang of thieves go after a crooked business tycoon named Wong Yat-Fei.
The Protector - 1/5 - Rating of Both Cuts Combined
James Glickenhaus' cut of the film is presented in 1080p and Jackie Chan's cut of the film is presented in 480p, which is in Standard Definition. Not that it matters, the Glickenhaus' cut is an SD upscale. This is an insult to Jackie Chan's legacy! I know Echo Bridge got crap for using a cropped version of Supercop, that's bad. This is worse in my opinion. Fortune Star, which owns the Golden Harvest's library, has chosen to let all of these films fall to the way side! These need remastered! Jackie Chan is one of China's biggest stars, if not the biggest, and this is how the Chinese studio chooses to treat his films?
The Jackie Chan cut presented in SD, is horrendous. Print damage and macroblocking is present throughout the whole entire film! Brightness is blown out. Just like in my review for the Canadian Blu-ray for "The Killer" and "Hard Boiled", the brightness is blown out and the white bleeds through the whole image like a poor quality VHS tape. It is infuriating how bad the quality is on this. I give the Jackie Chan cut a .5/5 in terms of quality.
James Glickenhaus' cut of the film is presented in 1080p and is not a high definition transfer, color is decent, if that's the only pro about both cuts of the film. Detail is void in most shots and there's even points where the image gets this blocky/line haze to it. Like there's a scene where they're on a boat in Hong Kong and whenever one of the characters on the boat moved their head, you can kinda tell it's some sort of interlacing problem. I can honestly tell you if there's any print damage because it's an upscale transfer, void of any detail. I give the Glickenhaus' cut of the film a 1.5/5. Which gives us an overall 1/5 for both cuts combined.
Crime Story - 2.5/5
Another SD master upscaled to HD. For an upscaled transfer, it is watchable and it's not as bad as both transfers for The Protector. Color and saturation and contrast is strong while detail and sharpness is flat. Why can't you muster the money to properly restore all of Jackie Chan's films? At least Echo Bridge gave us HD transfers in OAR for Twin Dragons, Supercop, and Dragon Lord. Such a shame. 2.5/5
This gives us an overall of 2/5 for the transfers. Why?
The Protector - 3.5/5
The American cut of the film has both an English DTS-HD MA 5.1 and a DD 2.0 track. I've brought this up before, I am sure; but why would you include a DD track when you have a DTS-HD MA track for the film? It's a waste of space. I know it's not much, just a few hundred MB of space, but still. The DTS-HD MA track sounds good. It's a shame Fortune Star would focus on audio over video and not both together. 5/5.
The Jackie Chan version only has a DD 2.0 Chinese track. It's bad quality like the video. The dubbing sounds muffled and subdued. Overall it sounds subdued. I give the audio on this version of the film a 2/5. This gives us an overall 3.5/5 for the audio portion of "The Protector".
Crime Story - 5/5
For Crime Story, the story is the same as we have English and Chinese DTS-HD MA 5.1 tracks and English and Chinese DD 2.0 tracks. The English dub is okay in DTS-HD MA and the Chinese is great. I give the audio a 5/5.
Overall for the audio portion, 4.5/5.
The Protector - 5/5
"From New York to Hong Kong", an interview with James Glickenhaus discussing working with Jackie and how he was surprised that Jackie was not pleased with the film and creating another cut and calling himself the director. "Locations: Then and Now", which shows the differences between 1985 and 2012. "Behind the Scenes", a Chinese making of. Contains no subtitles. And finally U.S. and Chinese trailers for the film. 5/5 for the extras.
Crime Story - 5/5
"Interview with Kirk Wong", director talks about the production process and explains how he filmed at the real locations in which the story is based on. Like the road where the kidnapping takes place, it's kinda surreal. "Deleted Scenes" that cut out the love interest aspect of the film where Jackie's character is in love with his therapist. And finally the trailers. Considering it's not as much as The Protector's material, the deleted scenes do kinda give some emotional side to Jackie's character. 5/5.
Does this release deserve the overall score of 4/5? Hell no! This is an embarassement to Jackie Chan's legacy. Why Shout! wouldn't just give this a regular DVD release like the double feature featuring Killer Meteors is beyond me. I would never do that as a studio, unless it was shot on video. Never! 4/5, this is a disgrace.