John Chang is sent from Bejing to protect the only witness to a murder, Michelle Yeung. However, as the two get in deeper and deeper into the fight for survival, they start to get feelings that could spell doom for the both of them.
Jet Li was some 4 years away from becoming a world star as opposed to his standing in Asia, his pre American efforts are a highly mixed bunch. Here with The Defender we find Li oozing cool and delighting in the art of chop sockery and intricate gun play, but strip away the action and we are left with a pretty empty film. It's a standard fable of bodyguard protects pretty girl (the delicious Christy Chung) and after the initial resentments subside, we find our duo falling in too deep and putting all at risk within their world. However, the action (the point of these pictures as we know) delivers royally, particularly in the last quarter where the ante goes thru the roof and the testo level follows it, it's here where Li and the rest of the grafters earn their respective corn. The finale sequences alone make this picture worth your while, whilst you will rarely see a skateboard and a torch be so intricately and funnily used at the same time!
Instantly forgettable outside of the action set pieces, it still manages to be an entertaining watch for the action junkies amongst us. 5.5/10