Review: POLICE STORY 警察故事 (1985) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Review: POLICE STORY 警察故事 (1985)

Review: POLICE STORY 警察故事 (1985)

Jackie Chan stars as the hard-boiled police officer, Chan Ka-Kui who is part of a dangerous operation to bring down Chu Tao (Chor Yuen), one of the area's most powerful drug lords. However the operation goes awry and Chan wastes no time to chase the bad guys and subsequently manages to arrest them. He also arrested Tao's secretary, Selina Fong (Brigitte Lin), who later forced to become an important witness. Chan is then assigned to protect Selina, even though she doesn't need his protection at all. To convince that she's actually in danger, Chan stages a mock attempt on her and ends up taking her to his apartment. A series of misunderstanding ensues when Chan is shocked to find his girlfriend, May (Maggie Cheung) has actually planned a surprise birthday party for him. Personal matters aside, things become complicated when Selina is found disappeared. Even though Chan manages to come up an evidence playing a tape of her testimony, Tao is released for the lack of evidence after the tape is found accidentally tampered with something else altogether. The worst case scenario struck upon Chan when he is being lured into a trap by Inspector Man (Kam Hing-Ying), a corrupted cop who's been secretly working for Tao all the while. However, Tao's right-hand man, Danny (Fung Hak-On) uses Chan's gun to kill Man and subsequently framed him for murder. Evading the police, Chan persuades Selina to break into Tao's computer at the office somewhere in a shopping mall for solid evidence to be used against him. Things go out of hand when Tao and his men spotted both of them. Chan has no choice but to single-handedly take down all his men once and for all.

REVIEW: This is the movie that redefines the usual Hong Kong action genre and also launched martial art actor Jackie Chan as one of the nation's most bankable superstars of his generation.

POLICE STORY was immediately made in response to Chan's own displeasure over the box office failure of THE PROTECTOR the same year (in which he also failed to conquer the US market again). Here, Chan also writes and directs the movie, has clearly shown a lot of enthusiasm. The action is especially top-notch, and no doubt that POLICE STORY is best remembered for some of the most insanely-choreographed and spectacular stunts ever seen in the cinema. The opening scene itself is one hell of a gigantic entertainment that could have been staged as a climactic finale -- a terrifying car chase down a hillside and through the shantytown and followed by a relentless foot chase as Chan ends up catching the speeding double-decker bus by using an umbrella. The other one, of course, is the jaw-dropping moment in the climactic finale at the shopping mall which sees Chan squaring off against Tao's men. The final scene earned the movie its nickname as "Glass Story" by the crew, because of the sheer amount of sugar glass being broken (that's gotta be a world record!). Chan's fight scene is particularly brutal and intense, while a memorable stunt involving Chan sliding down a light-covered pole from several stories up is a must-see to believe (that scene alone has resulted in Chan suffering from second-degree burns, back injury and dislocation of his pelvis upon landing onto the ground). Over the course of extensive stuntwork he and his crew have to endure, all the amount of pain felt in this production has forced Chan to build his own stunt team (in which he would subsequently use to this day by paying them with his own pocket money).

The only gripe about this movie is Chan and Edward Tang's formulaic script. Frankly, the plot is nothing much than a typical cop-vs-criminal genre. Still, the comedic elements that presented here are reasonably hilarious. One particular scene involving a series of misunderstanding conflicts between Chan, Selina and May is worthwhile.

As an actor, Chan proves to be highly versatile playing an aggressive cop who stops at nothing to pursue the bad guys, and at the same time, he can be both charming and funny as well during the lighthearted moments. The rest of the actors are equally memorable, with veteran Chor Yuen is perfectly cast as the despicable Chu Tao while Brigitte Lin is ace as the headstrong Selina and Bill Tung provides a decent comic relief as Inspector Bill Wong.

Winner of 2 Hong Kong Film Awards including Best Picture and Best Action Choreography, POLICE STORY was also nominated five more for Best Director (lost to Mabel Cheung in ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT), Best Actor (Jackie Chan lost to Kent Cheng in WHY ME?), Best Actress (Brigitte Lin lost to Pauline Wong in LOVE WITH A PERFECT STRANGER), Best Cinematography (Cheung Yiu-Cho lost to Poon Hang-Sang in THE ISLAND) and Best Editing (Cheung Yiu-Chung lost to Chow Seung-Kang in HONG KONG GRAFFITI). The movie also went on to become a huge box office hit, grossing at HK$26.6 million and widely regarded by many as one of the greatest action movies ever made. Whichever way it is, POLICE STORY certainly earned its reputation as a true Hong Kong cinema classic.

POLICE STORY may have been a formulaic cop-and-criminal genre, but this certified HK action classic is a must-see for some of the most insanely-choreographed stunts ever seen in the cinematic history.

No comments: