Review: POLICE STORY 2013 警察故事2013 (2013) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Review: POLICE STORY 2013 警察故事2013 (2013)

The complexity of the plot in POLICE STORY 2013 is interesting but uneven, while the pacing is inconsistent along with some questionable choice of direction.

From 1985 to 2004, the POLICE STORY series are mainly known for two things: Jackie Chan and his crazy stunts. But for the first time ever, POLICE STORY 2013 (that would be the sixth in the series) marks a radical departure from the usual action movie you've come to expect from Jackie Chan where the action takes a backseat, while story and characters are the main priorities this time around.

Jackie Chan plays Mainland police officer Zhong Wen, who arrives one night to meet his estranged daughter, Miao Miao (Jing Tian) at a heavily fortified bar called Wu Bar. But that particular night goes terribly wrong when Zhong Wen, Miao Miao and the rest of the patrons are suddenly held hostages by a mysterious bar owner named Wu Jiang (Liu Ye). Apparently Wu has a personal grudge against Zhong Wen, which has something to do with a case five years ago.
POLICE STORY 2013 has its engaging moments, particularly in the final 30 minutes where writer-editor-director Ding Sheng brilliantly modeled his screenplay over Akira Kurosawa's RASHOMON-like template to tell one story in a different angle.

As Zhong Wen, Jackie Chan is fairly engaging as an emotionally-conflicted police officer who tries to make things right. Liu Ye, who previously tackled a villainous role in Benny Chan's CONNECTED, delivers quite a satisfying performance as the kidnapper with an ulterior motive, Wu Jiang. 
The MMA-inspired cage fight scene between Zhong Wen and one of Wu's Thai fighters, which represents something refreshingly new from the usual acrobatic fight scene normally expected from Jackie Chan.
Some of Ding Sheng's direction is simply dubious. One of the most annoying problems of all is the way he loves to visualize Zhong Wen's inner thoughts of what consequences might be if a certain situation occurs. Another problem is that most of the action sequences (e.g. falling from a tall building, car chase) are showcased more like an afterthought. Then there's the elaborate plot which sometimes feels bloated (especially during the long-winded opening scene) and could have used some serious trimming. Jing Tian, last seen with Donnie Yen in SPECIAL ID, delivers a thankless role as Miao Miao. It's rather a waste that her character is mostly reduced as a damsel in distress.

While it's nice to see Jackie Chan is bold enough to shed his usual cop role previously seen in all five POLICE STORY series, it's quite a shame that POLICE STORY 2013 doesn't really fulfill its entire potential.

1 comment:

Jay Andrews said...

Great review, Casey. I haven't watched this movie yet, but now I am very intrigued to.