The Protector (1998)
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Critic Reviews for The Protector
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Audience Reviews for The Protector
It's getting to the point now that I don't remember what life was like before made-for-video movies, but the one nice thing about them is that there will always be work for fallen and falling stars. Rae Dawn Chong and Mario Van Peebles used to make big studio projects for theaters but now they lend their waning star power to dreck like "Valentine's Day", a warmed-over Martin Scorcese wannabe. I always try to give all B-movies the benefit of the doubt, but it's painfully obvious that this is going nowhere fast very early on. It's a mob movie completely lacking in freshness and ambition, and frankly the stars look as bored as you will be. In fact, the only actor in this mess who makes even a little impact is newcomer Zehra Leverman, and it really doesn't have anything to do with her acting ability. She's just as forgettable as the rest of the cast in that department, but she has a killer body and she's not shy about showing it off. Therefore, she makes an impact. The good guys here are bland, but even worse, so are the villains and that really makes for a lackluster film. Ben Gazzara should have been a riot as the mob don, sort of like what he did to breathe life into "Roadhouse" as the bad guy. Instead, he's disappointingly subdued, and that only adds to the misery of watching this dreary picture. And by the time we get to the twist ending, you won't care enough about the film to be shocked. You'll only be happy because you know the credits can't be far behind. Once you see the film, you'll understand that "Valentine's Day" is a pretty clever title. But the screenwriters didn't put that much thought into the rest of this lame movie. It's not worth your time.
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