After retiring from his trademark style of action with Chinese Zodiac, Jackie Chan returns in a new installment of his seminal Police Story series. However, unlike his previous films, this is a thematic sequel (like 2004’s New Police Story) that has a dark and gritty tone that showcases Chan’s acting ability.
Zhong Wen is a Mainland police officer who has come to Bar City to meet up with his daughter Miao. He goes to one of the bars and meets the owner Wu Jiang, who is revealed to be Miao’s new boyfriend. Zhong is unhappy but Miao has a rebellious side because she blames Zhong for practically sticking with his job while her mother was ill. However, after a conversation and witnessing a scuffle between bar patrons, Zhong finds himself knocked off.
When Zhong awakens, he finds himself tied to a chair. He learns that Wu is the mastermind behind the kidnapping. Wu tells Zhong about an incident that occurred in the past that Zhong was involved in, but doesn’t give full details. Zhong, who eventually escapes and makes up with Miao after she learns of Wu’s betrayal, must fit the pieces of the puzzle and learn why Wu has kidnapped him while having a prisoner come to the scene as he has a bone to pick with him for his involvement in the very incident that prompted him to kidnap Zhong in the first place.
It seems that Jackie Chan is beginning to make good on his promise. As he has finally hit the big 6-0 this year, he finally decided to end his trademark style of action and focus on taing more roles that would showcase his acting and lessen down on the action. While 2004’s New Police Story had Chan’s trademark style action, it would also showcase his acting skills as an embittered cop who drinks his sorrows away only to get motivated by a young upstart. 2009’s Shinjuku Incident was a treat for Chan fans to see him do something that doesn’t rely on action, but more on acting.
Even more under the radar, Chan had shot this film while doing rounds for his last action spectacular, Chinese Zodiac. After going out with a bang with his trademark action film, this film brings Chan in a much darker and grittier tone that works well. Here, instead of playing an everyman Hong Kong cop, Chan plays a Mainland cop who finds himself under the mind control of a crazy bar owner who blames Chan for an incident that occurred in the past. Yes, this may sound like the Korean film Oldboy, but there is no controversial theme and the film takes place in the span of one night. In addition, Chan knows who the kidnapper is.
Veteran actor Liu Ye does quite well as the villain of the piece. A crippled bar owner, we get to delve into his backstory as an underground boxer in Thailand and how his past eventually connects to Chan’s incident. While Liu doesn’t fight in the present day (he leaves that to Liu Hailong in the film’s only “big fight” scene), the fight scenes involving Liu in the past are quite nicely done.
The film plays like a cat and mouse game between Chan and Liu. As mentioned, Chan only engages in one major fight scene against Liu Hailong. Kudos must go out to Jackie Chan Stunt Team members He Jun and Han Guanhua for their choreographing this particular fight. They use slow motion to showcase the impact of certain moves but what’s even better is that Chan uses more grounded techniques rather than his usual style of acrobatic action. After all, at the time of the film, he was already pushing the age. It shows that Chan adapts well with the age and is forced to use a more close quarter style of combat here.
If you want to see Jackie Chan in a new light, check out Police Story: Lockdown. He may only have one fight scene, but that is the intention as the film plays more like a cat and mouse game that has some twists and turns only for everything to finally be revealed with a somewhat drop of the mouth reaction. Definitely a worthy “new Jackie Chan” vehicle.
WFG RATING: A
A Jackie & JJ Productions Film. Director: Ding Sheng. Producers: Jackie Chan, Jerry Ye, and Lu Zhang. Writer: Ding Sheng. Cinematography: Ding Yu. Editing: Ding Sheng.
Cast: Jackie Chan, Liu Ye, Jing Tian, Yin Tao, Na Wei, Zhao Xiao-Ou, Yu Rongguang, Liu Peiqi, Liu Hailong.