The Protector (1985)

protector_6The Protector [威龍猛探] (1985)

Starring Jackie Chan, Danny Aiello, Roy Chiao, Bill Wallace, Moon Lee, Victor Arnold, Kim Bass, Richard Clarke, Saun Ellis, Ronan O’Casey, Patrick James Clarke, Sandy Alexander, David Ho, Peter Yang Kwan, Sally Yeh

Directed by James Glickenhaus

Expectations: Jackie Chan, American style.

twohalfstar


Like all of Jackie Chan’s American films, The Protector is a much watered-down version of the amazing action star. But in terms of his “first wave” of American films in the ’80s, The Protector is easily the best and most “Jackie” of the bunch, making it quite an entertaining film as long as you also like the general ’80s action genre. And who doesn’t?

The Protector opens in New York, as some Mad Max rejects re-wire a stop light in order to rob a semi-truck full of computers. Don’t worry about remembering this because none of it matters. It’s merely a setup to introduce us to New York cops Billy Wong (Jackie Chan) and Michael, who respond to the call. They chastise the Texan truck driver about stopping for a red light during the night in the Bronx. But the cops should’ve taken their own advice, because when they end their patrol shift by knocking back a couple of brews at the local bar, the place is robbed by a bunch of armed gunmen. Jackie’s partner is murdered, so he gives chase by land, sea and air (kinda), resulting in the murderer dying in a ball of fire and boat debris, and Jackie being given a more ho-hum job of working security at a party.

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The Stuff (1985)

Starring Michael Moriarty, Andrea Marcovicci, Garrett Morris, Paul Sorvino, Scott Bloom, Danny Aiello, Patrick O’Neal, James Dixon, Alexander Scourby, Russell Nype

Directed by Larry Cohen

Expectations: High. I’ve heard many good things for many years.

On the general scale:

On the B-movie scale:


As soon as I saw an old man scoop up a handful of bubbling white foam and immediately taste it, I knew I’d enjoy The Stuff. This is literally the first scene in the movie and it immediately sets the ridiculous, hilarious tone that fills the entire film. Simply put, The Stuff is one of the most consistently entertaining ’80s B-Movies I’ve seen in a while, successfully pulling off a horror/comedy/corporate espionage/social satire/action hybrid, and the finale contains gigantic, fiery explosions. The Stuff is just as intoxicating and additive as the stuff in the film that causes all the trouble.

So as I mentioned before, an old man finds some bubbling white goo coming out of the ground and once he determines that it’s pretty damn tasty, he immediately commercializes it and starts a nationwide food revolution. The Stuff sweeps the nation with a catchy ad campaign and soon the American people are eating nothing but the stuff. No one knows exactly what it is (it’s a secret formula!), but they know they want it all the time. But not everyone is taken in by the craze, so it’s up to our heroes to work together and save the day. Just watch the movie, because no sentence I can construct will be as funny and as entertaining as watching the movie.

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Do the Right Thing (1989)

Do the Right Thing (1989)

Starring Spike Lee, Danny Aiello, Giancarlo Esposito, Bill Nunn, John Turturro, Steve Park, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Richard Edson, Rosie Perez, Paul Benjamin, Frankie Faison, Robin Harris, Joie Lee, Samuel L. Jackson, Roger Guenveur Smith, Martin Lawrence

Directed by Spike Lee

Expectations: I’ve seen this a few times so I know what I’m getting into.


Do the Right Thing is one hell of a challenging film. I first saw it fairly close after its release, when I was a pre-teen. I had no way to process the feelings it brought up and I don’t remember liking it very much or understanding why it was so popular. I saw it twice more as I aged, coming to appreciate it much more over time. Rewatching it again now, I found it to be even better than I remembered. Backing up a bit, in the months before I started this site I began a personal project to work through Spike Lee’s filmography, much like I’ve been doing with Sam Fuller’s on this website. Watching Do the Right Thing with a knowledge of what Lee’s first two films were informs the viewing experience greatly, as it contains heavy doses of the theatrical style, narrative structure and distinct characters that permeated his first two films.

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