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Police Story
|     review    |     notes     |     awards     |     availability     |     also see    |


Another day at work for Jackie Chan in Police Story
Chinese: 警察故事
Year: 1985
Director: Jackie Chan
Producer: Leonard Ho Koon-Cheung
Cast: Jackie Chan (Sing Lung), Brigitte Lin Ching-Hsia, Maggie Cheung Man-Yuk, Chor Yuen, Bill Tung Piu, Charlie Cho Cha-Lei, Ken Tong Chun-Yip, Wu Feng, Mars, Fung Hak-On
The Skinny: The execution of this police thriller more than compensates for its formula plot. Jackie Chan's first Police Story film doesn't impress with its story or acting, but the action, stunts and comedy all combine for one of the best Hong Kong Cinema—or any cinema—experiences around.
 
Review
by Kozo:

Eschewing any need for a back story, Jackie Chan's classic Police Story series kicks off with its first installment. Intrepid policeman Chan Ka-Kui (Chan) and his comrades attempt to take down evil crime boss Chor Yuen, and manage to snag his girlfriend Selina (Brigitte Lin) as their key witness. Contracts are put out on them both, so Chan must protect Selina from a mob-style rubout. Meanwhile, his loyal girlfriend Maggie Cheung gets jealous and pouts like Maggie Cheung did in all her earlier films. Then there's fighting and stuntwork.

To evaluate this film on the basis of its finely detailed plot and crackerjack acting and script would be meaningless because the film doesn't have any of the above. The acting, while appropriately amusing, is nothing special and the story and script could have been written by nearly anyone. Simply put: bad guys try to get Jackie Chan, so he must run around all over Hong Kong as they try to do away with him. Eventually, he strikes back in inimitable Jackie Chan style. That's it, end of story. It wouldn't be suprising if a Jackie Chan script only had twenty pages, with occasional notes stating: "Greatest Action Sequence Ever in a Shopping Mall ensues".

And it does. Police Story possesses some of the most insane stuntwork ever put on film, and the proof of that is the sheer amount of people put in the hospital. Reportedly, the amount of pain felt on this production was so great that Chan was forced to start his own stunt team, which he uses to this day. Highlights of the mayhem include the above mentioned shopping mall fight, which could contain a world record for broken glass, and a bus chase which ends with stuntment flying out of the front window and accidentally landing on unpadded asphalt. There's also a car chase through a shanty town, and numerous stunts performed by Chan, his stunt team, and even Brigitte Lin and Maggie Cheung.

The comedic elements of the film are finely handled, too. Despite being a kick-ass kung-fu artist, Chan Ka-Kui is also a lovable regular joe who mouths off at inappropriate times and is constantly trying to placate his girlfriend. Jackie Chan's generous comic persona is in full effect here, and is a welcome change from the hard-ass action heroes of the eighties. Police Story is a prime example of what made Chan so appealing to audiences.

In the end, the film could be—and has been—dismissed by some as nothing more than a well-made action film. True, all the hard work done by the production team was merely for glorified B-movie status, but they more than outdid themselves. Police Story is one of those rare cases of a film's artistic execution overcoming its typically limited genre. The planning and sheer chutzpah that went into performing the film's action and comedy is as commendable as all the hours Merchant and Ivory spent trying to figure out Howard's End. Despite its violent content and lackluster storyline, Police Story is a truly admirable work. And a Hong Kong Cinema classic. (Kozo 1993/2002)

 
Notes: • In America, the Weinstein Brothers now own this film.
Awards: 5th Annual Hong Kong Film Awards
• Winner - Best Picture
• Winner - Best Action Design (Jackie Chan)
Nomination - Best Director (Jackie Chan)
• Nomination - Best Actor (Jackie Chan)
• Nomination - Best Actress (Brigitte Lin Ching-Hsia)
• Nomination - Best Cinematography (Cheung Yiu-Cho)
• Nomination - Best Editing (Cheung Yiu-Chung)
 
Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 3 NTSC
Kam & Ronson Enterprises Co Ltd
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Track
Dolby Digital 5.1 / DTS
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles
*Also Available on Blu-ray Disc
Also see: Police Story 2 (1988)
Police Story 3: Supercop (1992)
Police Story 4: First Strike (1996)
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image courtesy of Mega Star Video Distribution, Ltd.

   
   
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