It’s finally time for the finale of Asian Crime Action Month. Today I will examine the master at work; the great martial arts action king, Jackie Chan, who starred and directed this film back in 1985. Chan is a prolific actor who’s been doing martial arts movies since the 70s, and continues making them even now. He also does his own stunts and it’s worth noting that most people would have died attempting ma ny of the stunts he has pulled. Today I will write about his masterpiece, Police Story.
Jackie Chan plays a police officer that rises to fame as a hero cop after capturing a drug lord in a successful police raid. The drug lord makes it his personal mission to take down Chan, and frames him for the murder of a cop. Chan has to race against time with enemies coming at him from all sides in order to prove his innocence and take down the drug lord. Chan co-wrote the script and made a good basic cop drama plot (one that has been seen before). The story is well executed and Chan, known for his comedic fight sequences, balances light hearted comedy with tense action. The first half of the film is the lighter mix of comedy with some action scenes thrown in, while the latter part of the film, when Chan gets framed, goes into full on thriller mode.
Chan’s character is a hero cop, but he isn’t a generic good guy. Chan adds a lot of humor to his character, and an inner rage that drives him later on in the film. Chan can also be a dick at times, including the way he treats his girlfriend, and the fact that he ignores a domestic abuse call to talk to said girlfriend. His girlfriend, May (played by Maggie Cheung) is the worst part of this movie. All she does is whine and nag. She isn’t really a character, she is just a character’s girlfriend. I don’t feel bad when bad things happen to her, or dislike Jackie Chan for how mean he can be to her, because she is a nuisance. Selina (Brigitte Lin) on the other hand is a funny character that plays a significant role in the story. I really wish her and Chan ended up together because they had great chemistry. The funniest part of the film is the time dedicated Chan being assigned to protect Selina. The other characters are either basic, or confusing. The villains are stock, but I really do hate them and want Chan to serve them up a delivery of fists to the face. His relationship to the chief of police and superintendent is baffling, due to those character’s motives and behavior towards Chan constantly shifting.
The action sequences are where the film really shines. Jackie Chan and his stunt team do an amazing job. Chan does well to bring in a variety of different types of action instead of only sticking to martial arts. This is clearly showcased in the opening sequence of the film, which lesser action movies would save as the climax. The film starts with a police operation gone wrong leading to a gunfight in a shantytown. The culprits flee, leading to a car chase that goes downhill through the shantytown, causing lots of explosions and extras to fly everywhere. I think some extras didn’t make it out of the shantytown and actually died. Then the drug lord and his men take over a double decker bus that Chan has to chase after on foot. He gets into a fist fight while hanging off of the bus before finally capturing the drug lord. What a way to start a movie.
The next portion of the film has two smaller scale fight sequences, one comedic, and one dark and intense. The first fight is a staged assassination attempt on Selina to get her to turn on the drug lord. Chan fake fights his friend while Selina jumps in and actually starts to beat the crap out of the false assassin. Next Chan and Selian are run off the road when the real assassins show up. Chan has to take on these baseball bat wielding goons in the middle of the night. It’s a great low level street fight.
The final showdown at the mall is the action scene everyone talks about. It is full of wild stunts and broken glass. So many people get smashed through some really thick stunt glass (you can tell by the real cuts they receive). This is a masterful martial arts fight and while not as versatile as the opening action sequence, it is equally jaw dropping and praised by many.
I currently own sixteen Jackie Chan films, which means I need to buy more. Chan is the master of martial arts action, and this is one of his greatest flicks. It’s a great Jackie Chan film to start with, and a great film to end Asian Crime Action month on.
Favorite Scene: Jackie Chan jumps down a giant string of Christmas bulbs in the mall. He breaks everyone of the bulbs on the way down, getting serious burns and cuts. This is one of his best stunts. The stunt is so good that it is shown before the menu on the DVD pops up, shown three times in a row at different speeds and angles during the climax, and shown multiple times during the end credits.
Written by Tyler Ducheneaux
Images from Police Story