Review: NEW POLICE STORY 新警察故事 (2004) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Review: NEW POLICE STORY 新警察故事 (2004)

Review: NEW POLICE STORY 新警察故事 (2004)

Chan plays Senior Inspector Chan Kok-Wing, who leads a top police team, including his fiancee, Ho Yee's (Charlie Yeung) brother, Hong (Carl Ng). For the record, Chan and his team are certainly good for what they do as none of their cases has ever gone unsolved. Until that is, the arrival of the notorious Gang of Five, lead by Joe Kwan (Daniel Wu). The fancy-masked gang, which are all young people, spend their time committing robbery and killing cops for the sake of entertainment purpose. After the gang robbed a bank and executed a whole team of cops, Chan made TV headline that he will stop at nothing to apprehend them within three hours' time. Within a short period of time, Wing receives a reliable source of Gang of Five's hideout and quickly set out a team operation. Once they are at their hideouts, which happens to be a big warehouse, they never realise that the gang has already set a series of booby traps all over the place. Soon, one by one ends up dead and not surprisingly, Wing is the only survivor left. Ridden with guilt, he sinks himself into depression and spends all the time boozing around. A year later, Chan continues to become an alcoholic loser and does nothing until the sudden arrival of Fung (Nicholas Tse), a young man who disguises as a rookie police officer. He claims he is sent to help out Chan to get back on track. After several attempts, Fung has finally convinced Chan to return to normal life and starts everything new, including rekindles his sour relationship with Ho Yee. Soon Chan and Fung develop an unlikely partnership to track down the Gang of Five before they strike further chaos.

REVIEW: After "wasting" his time making Hollywood movies that doesn't really capitalizes his true potential (e.g. 2002's THE TUXEDO, 2003's THE MEDALLION and 2004's AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS), Jackie Chan made his highly-anticipated comeback to Hong Kong with NEW POLICE STORY, a reboot of his own beloved POLICE STORY franchise aimed for the new generation. It's also a refreshing change of pace to see Chan back in a serious role -- something he never does for a long time since the underappreciated CRIME STORY (1993).

As a reboot, NEW POLICE STORY is reasonably engaging enough for a Jackie Chan movie, even though it doesn't exactly live up to the higher expectation on par of his own groundbreaking POLICE STORY (1985). But at least, it's the kind of gritty action movie that is a mile better than most movies (both Hong Kong and Hollywood outings) Jackie Chan has made nowadays. Blessed with a huge budget of HK$80 million, the movie is gorgeously photographed and there are plenty of exciting action showcase worthy the price of admission. That includes the spectacular scene where an out-of-control double decker bus demolishes through the crowded city block with Chan struggling on top (an obvious shade of POLICE STORY knockoff, but done quite well) and some equally impressive aerial stunts. Not to forget also, is Chan's trademark of martial art sequences. Despite his age, Chan still has what it takes when comes to fight scene and this is evident in the unforgettable duel between him and one of the gang's best fighter, Tin Tin (Andy On) -- one at the warehouse, another one at the Lego Toy Fair.

As for the acting, Chan has clearly attempted to depart from his usual role we always expect from him. Although we have seen him play the serious character before, he goes further with his dramatic acting skill and even takes a backseat in the comedy department -- a rarity in his career. Here, we see him cry a lot (yes, I mean a lot) and also drink a lot. For some reasons, he manages to pull off a convincing portrayal of a drunken person sunk into depression. It's a nice try, even though he tends to overact a lot to the point of annoyance. As for the comic relief, Nicholas Tse plays his role well. Daniel Wu is effective enough as the playful and merciless gang leader. Unfortunately, Charlie Yeung, who made an acting comeback after a long retirement from showbiz, does nothing much since her role is mainly relegated to a filler. Adding another filler is the typically annoying Charlene Choi.

Alan Yuen's screenplay is fairly competent, especially the way he tackles today's crime issue involving misguided youth easily influenced over the senseless act of violence. While his story does tend to get overly melodramatic, director Benny Chan (who worked with Chan before in 1998's WHO AM I?) manages to balance things out with some lighter moments -- the most memorable one is the hilarious scene where Chan and Fung break out of the prison while the police officers "pretend" as if they never notice them at all. All the technical credits are top-notch, even though some of the special effects work are glaringly obvious.

NEW POLICE STORY proves to be quite a decent hit in Hong Kong (with HK$21.1 million at the box office). The movie earned 8 Hong Kong Film Award nominations including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor for Daniel Wu but none of them managed to win a single thing.

NEW POLICE STORY is neither groundbreaking nor particularly memorable, but this highly anticipated reboot gets a reasonable boost from Jackie Chan's dramatic performance and top-notch action choreography.

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