By: The Cinema Drunkie
Welcome to FOOT FIST FRIDAYS! A weekly dose of fight action where the Action-Flix.com experts share their thoughts on some of the greatest scenes of fisticuffs in action cinema history!
In Hong Kong 1978, Drunken Master was released, turning its lead into a bonafide megastar overnight. That star of course was Jackie Chan. Jackie went on to star in other films that were also successful, such as The Young Master & Dragon Lord, but there was something he wanted to do with his newfound fame that was only a dream when he was a struggling actor. He wanted to star in American movies.
Then, in 1980, he got his chance when he starred in the Robert Clouse directed The Big Brawl. Also known as Battle Creek Brawl, it was hoped that the combination of Jackie and the director of Enter the Dragon would help him to finally realize his goal of being a star in America. Unfortunately, the film did little business and quickly disappeared from view. Next were appearances in the Burt Reynolds starrers Cannonball Run 1&2. And while both films were successful, they did little for his career in the states.
Then, in 1985, he gave it one final shot. He teamed up with exploitation director James Glickenhaus to make The Protector, where he plays a New York Cop who must rescue a kidnapped heiress from the clutches of an evil crime boss. So, was this the big break in America that Jackie was hoping for?
The film was a failure, and Jackie’s dissatisfaction with the final product led him to not only reshoot a good portion of the movie for the international market, but also led him to make one of his finest movies, Police Story. Of course, Jackie would try again in the 90s with Rumble in the Bronx, and finally get that stateside hit, bringing him the US stardom he so desperately wanted. But I want to stay on The Protector for a second…
What I’m about to say next may seem controversial to some, but I actually prefer the Glickenhaus cut of the film over Jackie’s cut. Known for the vigilante grindhouse smash The Exterminator, Glickenhaus knows how to make a great, trashy action flick, and that’s what he gives us with The Protector. The tone is persistent throughout, and Jackie’s attempt to lighten up the proceedings by taking out all the sleaze & bloody violence and adding scenes of comedy that’s closer to his style actually hurts the film more in my eyes than helps it.
Besides, if I want to see a great cop action movie starring Jackie Chan that’s closer to his style, I’ll just put on Police Story. That’s the reason he made it anyway.
But, even with all that being said, there’s actually one part of Jackie’s reshoots that I think improves upon the original version: the climactic fight scene between him and martial arts icon Bill “Superfoot” Wallace. Here is where Jackie excels. While the fight scenes in the Glickenhaus cut are fine, they are pretty inferior to what we usually got from Jackie. Aside from adding a couple of small fights earlier in the movie in his cut, Jackie also almost completely reshot his fight with Wallace.
The original fight, per Glickenhaus’ vision, was made to be more in line with Bruce Lee’s style of action filmmaking, as Glickenhaus himself said that he was not a fan of Jackie’s style of choreography, and preferred Bruce’s realistic style instead. And while I love Bruce Lee… Jackie is not Bruce.
Jackie is his own man, and must be approached as such. Trying to shape Jackie as a version of Bruce didn’t work with New Fist of Fury back in 1976, and it doesn’t work here. So Jackie’s style of fighting works so much better because… that’s who he is, and that’s why he’s the legend that he is today. Bill Wallace also gets to shine better here, as he gets to show off that amazing leg work that made him an iconic figure in the martial arts community.
But I’ve been babbling for far too long. It’s time to get down to business. Below, I’ve provided 3 versions of the fight. The first is the Glickenhaus’ version of the fight (sorry about the quality of the clip. It was the best of what I could find).
The second clip is Jackie’s version of the fight. And the third is more or less a hybrid of both. While the fight is remotely the same as Jackie’s version, there’s a flying jump kick delivered by Jackie to Wallace that’s kept from the Glickenhaus cut, and the battle with nameless goons afterwards appears virtually the same as it happens in his cut as well, except for the moment where Jackie kicks a guy out a window, then sweep kicks another guy off a loading container. That appears in Jackie’s cut, as well as the added music.
Well, that’s about it, folks. Thank you for reading, and enjoy!
About The Aurthor: With his mind utterly intoxicated off of a steady stream of movies, comics and cartoons, a young boy from Brooklyn, New York grew up to become the man known as… THE CINEMA DRUNKIE!!! https://thecinemadrunkie.wordpress.com/