Jackie Chan plays a Police Officer named Chan Ka Kui. When a planned sting called ‘Operation Boar Hunt’ goes wrong, Chan and his team chase down a team of criminals as they try to escape. Inspector Chan manages to arrest the head of the crime organisation , and refuse a bribe. With his superiors quite happy, Chan is made somewhat of a role model among the public as the ideal police officer.
His first task (after they release Chu Dao – the crime lord) is to protect the girlfriend of Chu Tao, as they intend to use her as a witness to lock him away. After a laughable attempt at tricking her into thinking Chu Tao is trying to kill her, an actual attempt is made by his men. Of course Chan is then forced to fend them off with his martial arts skills. He then takes her back to his apartment where she catches on to his little deceit and leaves him behind.
From there he tries to rescue her, getting himself in trouble and framed for the murder of a fellow policemen, so he then must also try to reclaim his name by catching Chu Dao and getting the truth out of him.
A True Jackie Chan Comedy mixed with Serious Action
As with most of his films, Jackie Chan does an excellent job at making this movie quite funny. He often lies (quite innocently) to impress others but is pretty transparent in his attempt. When he is found out in quite a funny way that ends up with him copping a mouth full from his girlfriend May.
The attempt to have a fellow police officer that pretends to try to kill the witness Selina is also quite funny as he heroically steps in to save the day. As he purposely fails to defeat him, Selina continues to knock him out with a series of heavy objects, to which Chan continues to pretend to fight him off (holding him up while he’s unconscious) so he isn’t found out. It’s actually quite funny – just as funny is the confident and peaceful whistle he has when leaving, before being attacked by the real thugs, which happens just after he proclaims “don’t worry I’m used to this situation…” (when he obviously isn’t).
But after all of the jokes and light-hearted humor, things get serious when Jackie is forced to fight for his innocence, and release a bit of rage on the people behind the whole mess. He finds himself totally driven, outraged and takes on a group of men at at the very end of the movie in a mall (the famous mall scene!), which is charged with excitement, action and anger.
A Police Story
The story is a very much formula based, and is really just a saddle for the action and humor to be shown off on – which is something critics typically aren’t a big fan of.
But screw the critics!
This movie, as with other martial arts movies is about finding a way to display and awesome level of action, martial arts and stunt work – and the coppers vs bad guys story line is one of the most flexible and believable. I think the title ‘Police Story’ fits it perfect. They do make things interesting, but they also know that their strength lies in the action and humor of the the main actor (Jackie Chan) and the supporting cast. A few minor twists – such as Chan becoming wanted for the murder of his fellow police officer, and holding his superior ransom gives it an interesting turn and keeps the pace of the movie up.
If it was just a simple copper goes after bad guys movie I think the excitement and pace would have diminished throughout the movie. I think they kept the balance quite well and let the action tell the rest of the story.
After all, this was the first movie made that utilised a ‘police vs criminals’ style storyline as the backdrop for a Kung Fu movie in Hong Kong – so they set a high standard!
Martial Arts, Action & Stunt Work
As always the finest stunt work and martial arts action (of the 80’s) can be found in Hong Kong movies like this one. This movie is like a ‘sandwich’ of awesome stuntwork. At the beginning of the movie Jackie’s double decker bus scene is fantastic to watch as he hangs on via and umbrella from the bus, with everything in between it leading up the to mall scene.
The mall scene, in my opinion, is some of Jackie’s very best work. The fights are a furious, the moves are quick and ruthless and the environment is used quite resourcefully as it always by Chan. The amount of glass that people were thrown into adds a sense of realism and not just flashy punching, blocking and kicking – but real life brawling where things are broken and shattered (a good use of the sugar glass panes I think!).
The level of commitment from Jackie Chan in this movie was phenomenal, he was hospitalized and almost paralyzed making this movie – so you have to respect the dedication and especially the fact that we were able to continue watching Jackie in his future films.
Would I recommend it?
This is one going up high on my list, so the answer is yes. It’s one of the true classic and is packed with action and physical comedy. If you haven’t seen it, as a martial arts fan I think it’s a must see!
Find it on Blu-Ray
On DVD –
Region 1 (US & Canada)
Region 2 (UK, Europe, etc)
Police Story on DVD