Jackie Chan Double Feature
Combining two of the attempts to make Jackie Chan into a more "serious" action star, one from Hong Kong and the other one being a Hollywood production, the recent Blu-ray release of Shout! Factory of Jackie Chan Double Feature brings North American audiences Crime Story and The Protector in high-definition for the first time.
For starters, it should be pointed out that Crime Story is listed as clocking in at 103 minutes (the runtime of the edited version previously released in the US by Miramax/Dimension) on the packaging and retail sites like Amazon, but the disc does contain the full uncut 107 minute version. Unfortunately, the included English dubbed track is the same one that was included on the Miramax version, and the subtitles follow this track, meaning they are "dubtitles" and sometimes not an accurate translation of the original Cantonese dialogue track, which is available.
The source materials for this Blu-ray are from the versions previously released by Fortune Star in Asia, which were upconversions, rather than true HD remasters. So, neither movie is going to be a showcase for your home theatre, but they do still look and sound well enough, given the age of the films. For both movies, the picture format is 1080P in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, and the audio mix in in DTS-HD 5.1 or Dolby Digital 2.0. The animated menus are clean and easy to navigate, both before and during the playing of the disc.
The extras on The Protector include:
- Alternate Cut (88:22) - By most accounts, Jackie Chan did not get along with director James Glickenhaus and did not think the end product that was released in the US and Europe was suitable for his fans in Asia. As such, he edited out most of the profanity and nudity, added in a subplot featuring Sally Yeh, gave more screen time to other Hong Kong actors like Moon Lee, and extended and re-cut the fight scenes, especially the ones featuring Bill Wallace for the movie's Hong Kong version. While it is great that this is included as an extra, and it is in Cantonese (albeit dubbed) with English subtitles, it is presented in standard definition, and fairly poorly, at that. As per a Shout! Factory representative on Blu-ray.com: "We found a master in the UK. We didn't rip it from a disc. It still doesn't look great as its an old transfer".
- From New York to Hong Kong (9:30) - This is an interview with James Glickenhaus, and is interesting in the sense he is very honest about never wanting to make a "Jackie Chan" movie, in that he wasn't a fan (to say the least) of Chan's comedic form of kung fu and wanted to make something totally different from them. The BS meter sometimes goes off, such as when Glickenhaus says the movie was a hit in the States (it took in less than a million dollars) and he wasn't aware of Jackie Chan not being satisfied with the footage they were filming. It would have been nice to hear Chan's opinions on the movie as a counterpoint, but one has always gotten the sense that perhaps he would like this movie to be a forgotten entry in his filmography, besides giving him the insipration to do action movies set in modern times, such as Police Story.
- Locations: Then and Now (4:19) - A musical montage of locations featured in the movie contrasted with footage of their modern counterparts. This was an extra that I could take or leave. As a history buff, I found it somewhat interesting to see how the locations have changed over the years, but there's really no sense of depth or knowledge given here.
- Behind the Scenes (4:59) - This is a promotional short that was made for the Hong Kong market. It does detail what went into some of the stunts and gives some "no goods" (outtakes), which are not present in the movie itself. Unforutnately, there are no English subtitles and this is in standard definition.
- Hong Kong Trailer (4:01) - Like many Hong Kong trailers from the time, this is more of a "best of" from the movie than a traditional trailer. It's a fun little extra, especially if you're a trailer geek. Again, there are no English subtitles and this is in standard definition.
- US Trailer (0:48) - A teaser trailer that features the usual cheese ("he's a cop with his own way to fight crime") one might associate with 1980's action fare. In standard definition.
And on the Crime Story side, we have these extras, all of which are in standard definition:
- Kirk Wong Interview (10:30) - This is a decent interview with the director of the movie, though not as in-depth as the 30-minute one contained on the Dragon Dynasty DVD. It's nothing mind-blowing, but Wong does offer some nice insights into the making of the movie, specifically how it was based on true events and the details surrounding some of the pyrotechnic stunts employed. This is in Cantonese with English subtitles.
- Deleted Scenes (6:23) - It's good to have these sorts of things included on home video releases, but once you go through these scenes, you'll see why they weren't included in the final cut. Seeing Jackie Chan singing or playing tennis doesn't exactly add to the tension of a hard-boiled action picture.
- Original Trailer (3:38) - Similar to the trailer for The Protector, this extended view on the film is more like a behind the scenes featurette. There are no English subtitles.
- US Trailer (1:41) - Another cheesefest, this trailer was originally done for the Paragon Video release of the movie and employs just about every genre cliche, like "One good cop. One bad cop."
Note: "Jackie Chan Double Feature" is also available on DVD, but does not include the alternate cut of "The Protector".