Learning from and eventually re-cutting his 1985 American action thriller The Protector for the Hong Kong audience, Jackie Chan decided to make the true police action film he was meant to bring. And it truly holds up thirty years later as one of his best films.
The Hong Kong police have a mission and that is to take down corrupt businessman Chu Tao. In Operation Boar Hunt, each officer is given a specific assignment to go along with the mission. However, when one of Chu’s men spots Officer Kim sporting binoculars, noticing it all is Sgt. Kevin Chan. When the jig is up, a shootout ensues. As Chu attempts to escape via car, he learns both sides of the road have been blocked. Kevin goes after Chu and his men eventually succeeding despite an almost bust thanks to fellow Inspector Man.
The police want to bring Chu to justice and to do so, they intend to make Chu’s secretary and sometimes girlfriend Salina Fong as their main witness. Salina doesn’t like the idea and tries to make everything go wrong for Kevin. When Kevin even goes as far as protecting her from first a fake attack and then a real attack, Salina learns Kevin’s first fake encounter and uses a tape recorder to instead talk about Chu, seduce him, embarrassing Kevin at court. This leads to Chu being freed but Chu begins to suspect that Salina may in fact be changing her mind and has her kidnapped. When Kevin rescues her, he finds out Man is in fact in cahoots with Chu, but Man himself gets double-crossed by Chu’s nephew Danny, who kills Man with the intent of framing Kevin. Now, Kevin must do what it takes to bring Chu to justice while at the same time, clear his name.
Many fans in the West have seen Jackie Chan do his bit for many years. However, this film is truly one of Jackie Chan’s best films. Having learned from his experience on The Protector, in which he was practically forced to act like a Clint Eastwood figure, he went ahead and changed portions of the film for the Hong Kong release of that film, including a much better fight between himself and kickboxing legend Bill “Superfoot” Wallace. This would lead Chan to collaborate with longtime friend and writer Edward Tang to develop what would be Chan’s true “police action film”.
Chan isn’t the big superman here that was portrayed in The Protector, but rather a cop who is just doing his job and goes to great lengths to make sure the job is done. However, he is truly a man who does come across everyday issues, both on and off the job. Off the job, he deals with relationship issues with girlfriend, played by Maggie Cheung, who does quite well even when just pouting and handles herself well in the comic relief department. Brigitte Lin is the other female lead, the secretary for our villain who is forced to be the key witness against her own boss/lover, played with such slyness from veteran filmmaker Chor Yuen. Jackie Chan Stunt Team member Mars provides some comic relief of his own in the fake assault scene as Officer Kim.
Speaking of stunts, you can’t do better than this film. Chan does some insane stunts in this film, some of which would be an influence to major Hollywood films. A car chase that results in the destruction of a shantytown village was done many years later in the 2003 action sequel Bad Boys II. A scene where Chan points his gun to a double decker bus just after he hangs onto it for dear life with just an umbrella, only to shoot in the air and force two goons out of the window would be used just four years later from Sylvester Stallone in Tango and Cash.
However, the “piece de resistance” of the film is the finale, which is set in the shopping mall. This is where we see Jackie Chan at his finest fight wise. His stunt team has been known to nickname the film “Glass Story” because so much glass gets broken it is ridiculous. Chan and even Brigitte Lin get knocked through glass and tables. However, Jackie truly fights his way through Chu’s men in an all-out fight to the finish that results in one of his most insane stunts in which he slides down a pole with dangling lights. However, it must be noted that the voltage was not lowered when Chan slides down the pole, resulting in his virtually burning the skin off his hands.
If you need to know what one of Jackie Chan’s best films is, it is truly Police Story. There are official sequels made from 1988 to 1996, with two unrelated installments in 2004 and 2013. However, this original film, even thirty years after its initial release is truly one to see.
WFG RATING: A+
Golden Harvest presents a Golden Way Films production. Director: Jackie Chan. Producer: Leonard Ho. Writers: Edward Tang and Jackie Chan. Cinematography: Cheung Yiu-Cho. Editing: Peter Cheung.
Cast: Jackie Chan, Brigitte Lin, Maggie Cheung, Bill Tung, Chor Yuen, Charlie Cho, Fung Hark-On, Lam Kwok-Hung, Kam Hing-Yan, Mars, Kent Tong, Tai Bo, Lau Chi-Wing.