THE PROTECTOR (1998)
Directed by: Boon Collins & Fabien Lloyd
Screenplay: John McFetridge, Boon Collins, Russel Langille
Story: Robert Cousins
Starring: Frank Zagarino, Matthias Hues & Steven Nijjar
Ok, so this is not The Protector that is the underrated 80s action flick which was Jackie Chan’s first bid at Hollywood stardom but rather a low budget and quite frankly insane action film from the 90s. This one stars B-action movie stalwarts Frank Zagarino, Matthias Hues and Steven Nijjar. Wait, who? Fans of 80s and 90s straight-to-video action films will no doubt know who Zagarino (Shadowchaser films) and Hues (No Retreat No Surrender 2) are but who the hell is Steven Nijjar? Well he’s the main principal here, not to mention he also produced this low budget oddity, and spends most of his time running around trying to dodge bullets and fisticuffs. And when he’s not dodging either of those he, well, does more running! Seriously, half the 90 minute runtime is Mr Nijjar just running around and away from various things, and while he has great stamina and rarely breaks a sweat, you do begin to wonder what the hell is he running from now, especially when he’s got to find his memory, rescue his once-thought-to-be-dead-son, and thwart Hues’ big, bad and oh so camp bad guy.
Ultra low budget action tripe, The Protector is all kinds of action insaneness. Memory wipes, missing sons, chicks with guns (and berets!) and lots of non-acting (mainly courtesy of Nijjar), The Protector certainly has a lot of cool and crazy ingredients but delivers them in such a chaotic and incoherent way it will no doubt even test the patience of even the most hardened action trash fan. However, despite all its silliness the film has 3 tricks up its sleeve that makes it worth a punt. One and two: Zagarino and Hues. Three: tons and tons and tons (and tons) of action! It’s always great to see Zagarino and Hues (they even get a cool fight!) kicking ass, even in one of their more rare action titles such as this. Zagarino does look pissed off the whole time though gets to crack wise about his ex-wife and bust a lot of skulls and Hues is a hoot as the camper than camp villain complete with leopard print shirts, continuous cigars and a bevy of beret wearing/machine gun toting beauties at his disposal. The two stars certainly make the flick more watchable and both get ample opportunity to kick ass and dispense firepower.
And credit where credit is due, The Protector is crammed to the rafters with action. It rarely lets up with fight after fight (some good, some not), explosions, vehicle destruction and machine gun firing awesomeness. The action may be a little rough and ready but its lively, well sustained and makes the flick all that more enjoyable. There is even an elaborate scene where our hero has his feet set on fire but continues to fight and then escapes gunfire by jumping through a window, all the while still on fire! Cool. The less said about the continue re-use of the same corridor in the climactic siege of the villains lair the better (and not to mention the fact Hues is often shooting at nothing off camera!) but for a ultra low budget action flick done by some people that, well, wanted to make their own action film, The Protector delivers action, action and more action.
You laugh (unintentionally), you’ll cry (as it sometimes hurts!), you’ll hurl (mainly because of Hues’ shirts) and you’ll probably be entertained.