Review: CRIME STORY 重案組 (1993) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Review: CRIME STORY 重案組 (1993)

Review: CRIME STORY 重案組 (1993)

Chan plays Inspector Eddie Chan, who is assigned to protect a high-level, real estate tycoon Wong Yat-Fei (Law Kar-Ying) after he receives kidnapping threats. Although Eddie and his team try their very best to ensure the safety of Wong Yat-Fei, he ends up getting kidnapped after a gruelling car chase throughout the outskirt of the city. The kidnappers demand a $60 million ransom or they will kill the businessman. Realising Eddie has failed to perform his duty well, he does everything he can to locate the businessman and determines to apprehend the kidnappers altogether. But his action is constantly interrupted by his partner, Inspector Hung (Kent Cheng), who has secretly conspired with the kidnappers, partly to get back at the greedy businessman and also partly for the ransom money. Despite that, Eddie and his team manage to track down the kidnappers' hideout aboard a freighter. At the same time, he also discovers that Hung is part of the kidnapping after all. After a brutal fight in the hold of the ship in which Hung figures Eddie has already died from below, he has clearly mistaken. Eddie is lucky enough to be alive and returns with a vengeance to overcome the kidnappers and Hung once and for all.

REVIEW: A radical departure from the usual norm, CRIME STORY is unlike any typical Jackie Chan movie you've always come to expect. Instead, it's a gritty police drama based on the true story centres on police corruption and kidnapping case in modern Hong Kong. The result might surprise a lot of die-hard fans, but CRIME STORY proves to be more than just a gimmick to promote Jackie Chan in a different light because the movie actually delivers as a solid and edgy police drama.

Blessed with an engaging screenplay, relentless action and strong characterizations, director Kirk Wong manages to pack his picture with enough flair to keep the viewers on the edge of their seats. However, the movie is still not without flaws. As a movie intended for a straightforward and gritty police drama about a tough cop facing a group of hardened criminals, it's quite awkward to showcase Jackie Chan in some of his usual trademark stunts. (It was reported that Chan was uncomfortable with the overall dark tone, and had the movie re-edited before its theatrical release. Chan's action had nevertheless caused a huge uproar against director Kirk Wong). If Chan chooses to play his part more believable (he really could) and softens his daredevil stuntwork, the movie might have been a better result. But then again, he also feared he might alienate most of his die-hard fans. Despite all the tinkering he has done to the movie, CRIME STORY turns out to be one of his underrated efforts and also a box office flop in Hong Kong.

Still if one doesn't look too hard, the movie remains entertaining enough. Likewise, the action is top-notch, including a highly-energetic car chase that sees Chan driving his broken car down a concrete hill (sounds like the opening scene in POLICE STORY) and a particularly brutal fight scene involving him and the kidnappers at a hawker stall. Elsewhere, Jackie Chan's serious-minded performance is throughout convincing (his role was originally meant for Jet Li), but it was Kent Cheng who steals the show as the corrupted high-ranking police officer. Law Kar-Ying, who made his feature movie debut here, is pitch-perfect as the greedy and cocky businessman.

Despite its uneven approach, CRIME STORY is one of the best police dramas ever seen in recent years. The movie is also marked as the first in an unofficial trilogy of police dramas by director Kirk Wong, who followed up with ROCK 'N' ROLL COP and ORGANIZED CRIME AND TRIAD BUREAU (both starred Anthony Wong, but both movies are unrelated altogether).

In addition to that, CRIME STORY won Best Film Editing and earned five nods including Best Film (lost to C'EST LA VIE, MON CHERI), Best Director (Kirk Wong lost to Derek Yee in C'EST LA VIE, MON CHERI), Best Actor (Jackie Chan lost to Anthony Wong in THE UNTOLD STORY), Best Supporting Actor (Kent Cheng lost to Paul Chun Pui in C'EST LA VIE, MON CHERI) and Best Action Choreography (lost to FONG SAI YUK). CRIME STORY contains an extended version not shown in theatrical release, which focusing on the character of Pan Lingling who plays Eddie's psychiatrist and her subsequent relationship with him (in the theatrical version, she only appears in the beginning during the counseling session where Eddie is not fit for duty due to his reckless handling over a shootout at the armed robbers).

Kirk Wong's CRIME STORY is uneven but well-acted police drama blessed with engaging action scenes and a rare dramatic performance from Jackie Chan.

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