cop

“The Legend of Kung Funk” Trailer Kicks in High Gear

A new martial arts hero is on the rise and his name is Marco “DaAnswer” Johnson.

After appearing in Robert Samuels’ short film Beast, Johnson takes the lead in an upcoming film called The Legend of Kung Funk, which recently unveiled its first trailer.

Johnson plays Kevin, an ex-cop who loses everything when his family is killed as a result of an undercover drug deal gone wrong. Living life as a drunken recluse, after saving the daughter of his former partner, Kevin must fight his own demons when he learns the gang responsible for his family’s death have re-emerged, in order to get vengeance.

Filmed during three days in Baltimore, Maryland this past July, Johnson, a trained martial artist in Wushu, is joined by his father and martial arts teacher, American Wushu legend Willie “The Bam” Johnson, who serves as the film’s main fight choreographer with Jimmy Manfredy also appearing and serving as the film’s assistant fight choreographer. Also appearing in the film is Robert “Bigg Sarge” Deon, a retired U.S. Army veteran.

Jeffery Leslie directed the film, which was written and produced by Gerald Lima.

The film was made with the intention of bringing something positive to the city of Baltimore, according to Marco Johnson. He and his father plan to make more films in the area in addition to doing a special tour with this film where they will be showing it to schools in low income communities, giving students a chance to learn what it would take for them to become skilled in martial arts and/or what it takes to actually create and produce movies.

Marco Johnson had this to say about making the film:
“Baltimore is one of the hardest hit areas in crime and murder in the country right now. The goal for this project is to show my community, especially the children that we have other avenues for them to do something positive with their lives, which is why we as a team plan to donate 10% of the profits of this film to Living Classroom Foundation. The program was created here in the Baltimore area to fund Martial Arts programs, giving the inner-city kids a chance to discover different career paths, rather than just the stereotypical careers they are told to follow which vary from Football Player, to Rapper.”

The film has also been selected for the 2017 Urban Action Showcase in New York City, which will be at the HBO Theaters (1100 Ave. of the Americas) and the AMC 25 Empire Theaters (234 W. 42nd St.) on November 10 and 11.

The film was made by Johnson’s DME (Da Martial Elements) Productions.

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American Kickboxer 2 (1993)

americankickboxer2 usa-iconPhilippines-icon

1993, Davian International

Director:
Jeno Hodi
Producer:
David Hunt
Writers:
Jeno Hodi
Greg Lewis
Paul Wolansky
Cinematography:
Blain Brown
Editing:
Lawrence A. Maddox
Tim Spring
Paul Wolansky

Cast:
Dale “Apollo” Cook (Mike Clark)
Evan Lurie (David)
Kathy Shower (Lillian Hansen)
David Graf (Howard Hansen)
Ted Markland (Xavier)
Jeffrey R. Iorio (Hammer)
Jessica Springal (Susie)
Greg Lewis (Uncle Francis)
Jeno Hodi (Attila)

Two rivals must unite to rescue a kidnapped girl in this in-name “sequel” to the 1991 kickboxing film.

Lillian Hansen married Howard, the CEO of her father’s company, after the birth of her seven-year daughter Susie. However, she is still an heir apparent to the fortune. Xavier, a top criminal, decides to kidnap Susie for a ransom of one million dollars. When he succeeds in the kidnapping, Lillian attempts to get the money from her uncle Francis, who is the current relative who has access to the funds. However, when he decides to think about helping Lillian out, Lillian decides to go another route.

She hires her ex-husband Mike Clark, a volatile police officer who likes to do things his way without any help. However, when Howard is not too thrilled about Lillian calling Mike due to their destroyed marriage, Lillian does find a possible alternate. David, a local martial arts teacher, who had an affair with Lillian while her marriage with Mike was failing, is hired by Lillian. However, Mike has gotten the call as well as now, these two rivals have no other choice but to join forces for the sake of Susie’s life, even if one of them is actually the father of the girl.

The first time this film was reviewed, it was given as very bad and terrible. However, the time came to give this film a second chance and the major issue is that the film is being seen as a sequel to a 1991 kickboxing film called American Kickboxer. Under a different title, this would have better sense, and who knows why the Filipino-based Davian International got the rights to the name to make this a sequel but overall, it’s not a completely bad B-movie that takes the classic “rivals must team up” gig all for the sake of a “mission”.

Kickboxing legend Dale “Apollo” Cook, who graces the film’s poster, plays the very volatile Mike, a cop who is all about action and lets his fists do the talking. His introductory scene has him taking on a group of thugs using some of his martial arts skills. However, when it comes to martial arts, the film’s true star is Evan Lurie, who gets his biggest role to date as David, a playboy martial arts teacher. Their connection is Lillian, played by former Playmate turned B-movie star Kathy Shower. Shower, a staple for erotic thriller films, gets her most mainstream role yet as the troubled former wife of Mike and former lover of David, who is conflicted not only with her daughter being kidnapped, but struggles with who is in fact the father of the girl.

Cook and Lurie actually are quite an interesting duo as when they are not fighting and shooting at the bad guys, they are fighting each other. Their first meeting in the film shows a volatile Cook and a defensive Lurie at each other’s throats when a bystander arrives and threatens to call the cops. Cook gets the upper hand in most of the scuffles between the two but they either end it quick or find themselves being threatened by other goons. One of the four confrontations is forced as they are forced to entertain a crowd in an abandoned warehouse.

Police Academy’s Tackleberry, the late David Graf, plays Howard as someone who is more business-minded and not the action nut his iconic character is, yet he makes the most of his role in the film. Ted Markland is truly a mastermind as Xavier while he has the likes of Jeffrey Iorio, Ned Hourani, and Kris Aguilar as some of his goons. The final act shows Lurie doing all of the fighting while Cook protects Shower and her daughter by shooting. This allows Lurie to get the spotlight and he definitely has the skills to boot.

Despite the title, American Kickboxer 2 should not be seen as a sequel as the 1993 Cannon FilmTo the Death is the real sequel. However, this is actually a decent B-movie buddy film that could have a chance to have given Dale Cook a better chance to show his skills while Evan Lurie does get to show his skills. Overall, the film is a middle of the road B-action film.

WFG RATING: C

DVD

Three (2016)

three2016 china-iconHong-kong-icon

2016, Media Asia Film/iQiyi Motion Pictures/Milkyway Image (HK) Ltd.

Director:
Johnnie To
Producers:
Johnnie To
Yau Nan-Hoi
Writers:
Yau Nan-Hoi
Lau Ho-Leung
Mak Tin-Shu
Cinematography:
Cheng Siu-Keung
To Hung-Mo
Brian Cheung
Editing:
David Richardson
Allen Leung

Cast:
Vicki Zhao (Dr. Tong Qian)
Louis Koo (Inspector Ken Chan)
Wallace Chung (Sun)
Lo Hoi-Pang (Chung)
Eddie Cheung (Dr. Fok)
Lam Suet (Fatty)
Timmy Hung (Chak)
Michael Tse (Gangster)
Raymond Ho-Yin Wong (Gangster)
Stephen Au (Sgt. Tong)
Mickey Chu (Dr. Steven Chow)
Jonathan Wong (Hung)

How far will a doctor, a cop, and a criminal go to make sure their jobs get done and at what cost? The answer lies in this action-drama from the legendary Johnnie To.

When Sun, a local criminal boss, finds himself surrounded by the police, he decides to take the high road by shooting himself in the head. Forcing himself to be taken to the hospital, inspector Ken Chan is assigned to the case. At the hospital, Dr. Tong Qian, a workaholic, has been under fire from her superiors after her last operation left the patient paralyzed. When Sun is taken in, Tong is in charge of making sure the patient will be taken care of, much to the chagrin of Ken.

While in recovery, Sun decides to play mind games with Ken in an attempt to make sure his gang will plan a rescue mission for him. Ken can see through Sun’s methods and attempts to make sure Sun has no chance and even goes as far as mistreating him, which angers Dr. Tong. Sun and Ken are in constant disagreement over Sun as she feels Ken is not helping matters as she attempts to help the criminal recover with the bullet in his head. However, as this trio slowly go to extremes to get their job, what will happen if the gang does well on their promise to rescue Sun?

Johnnie To is truly a master when it comes to crafting films that blend action and drama extremely smooth. The filmmaker tends to either make the drama so tense that it leads to action or make the action lead to extreme tension. In the case of this film, it becomes a case of action leading to tension leading to action. That’s right. To has unleashed a triple (no pun intended) in meshing action and drama with this film and it is not only the layout of the story, but the title revolves around a trio who in their own manners, can be viewed as extremists in their professions.

Vicki Zhao is the extremist and workaholic doctor who will do what it takes, even if she has to deal with the backlash from the failure of her last surgery, to redeem herself when it comes to taking care of our villainous Sun, played with extreme slyness by Wallace Chung. Chung’s criminal mastermind goes to extremes and even keeps his injury in hopes for his gang to come rescue him. He goes as far as not only keeping the injury he sustained but uses it to his advantage to play mind games with the cop assigned to the case, played by the millennial version of Simon Yam, Louis Koo. Koo’s Ken Chan goes to the extreme as well in order to make sure Sun is brought to justice but when he realizes what he has planned, he decides to do the extreme and plays along in hopes to capture the whole gang and this all culminates in one of the most shocking and well shot long take, slow motion action sequences that all presents the results of the extreme methods of these three.

Johnnie To’s Three starts out with action, then some slow moving yet pivotal drama that shows the methods of the titular trio, and culminates in a shocking action sequence that only someone with To’s caliber can pull off. If you are a fan of Johnnie To, then add this to your list of his films to see.

WFG RATING: A

Well Go USA Home Entertainment will be releasing this film on DVD and Blu-Ray on April 4 and is currently available on Digital HD. To pre-order your copy, click the image below:

Beyond Redemption (2015)

beyondredemption canada-icon

2015, Towe Productions/TGK Films/Action Lab Productions

Director:
Bruce Fontaine
Producers:
Theo Kim
Derek Long
Phil Planta
Writers:
Anthony P. Wong
Derek Lowe
Tong Lung
Cinematography:
Gregory J. Brown
Alex Montano
Peter Planta
Editing:
Bruce Fontaine

Cast:
Brian Ho (Billy Tong)
Don Lew (Yuen Chung)
Johnson Phan (Jimmy)
Paul Wu (Bosco)
Tony Towe (Xi Long)
Vicki Huang (Lucinda Long)
Linna Huynh (Tiffany Long)
Eddy Ko (Uncle Bao)
Samuel Patrick Chu (Jack)
Patrick Sabongui (Amir Shahlavi)
Darren E. Scott (Mackay)
Josette Jorge (Melinda Tong)

This Canadian action thriller features some pretty good performances and action courtesy of its stunt-based cast.

Billy Tong has proven himself as the newest recruit of a local Triad organization led by Yuen Chung, aka Big Brother Yuan. However, Billy is actually an undercover police office tasked with taking the Triads down and it has reached the point where his life in the organization is slowly beginning to take over his real life, as he struggles to balance between being a recruit and staying loyal to both the job and his wife Melinda, who is due to have their first child.

Big Brother Yuan has a plan set in motion to kidnap Tiffany Long, the head of Triad Dragon Head Xi Long, who is married to the golddigging Lucinda. When the plan is set into motion, Tiffany attempts to contact her boyfriend Jack but to no avail. As Tiffany sits in a hotel room held hostage by Jimmy and Billy, Billy begins to slowly realize why he agreed to go undercover in the first place and what will be the price should he decide to get himself out of it. Will Billy be able to find redemption within himself or will he fall victim to the very people he was sent to infiltrate?

Bruce Fontaine is a name some might not be familiar with but know his face if they have seen any of the Hong Kong action films in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. Many will remember him for his scene in King of the Kickboxers as the lead actor of a “film” who meets his fate by the evil Khan, played by Billy Blanks. Returning to his native Canada, Fontaine makes his directorial debut on this action thriller, which revolves around the choices one undercover cop must make when the lines between his real life and life as a Triad enforcer are blurred.

What is very interesting about the film is that the main cast are comprised of actors who are noted stunt performers in films the way Fontaine was during his time in Hong Kong. Lead actor Brian Ho does quite well in the central role of Billy Tong, an undercover cop in the Triads who slowly learn if his taking the assignment is worth risking his life for, especially when it is revealed that his estranged wife is pregnant with their child. Don Lew bring some viciousness with a slyness to the role of Big Brother Yuan, Billy’s boss, who has a plan set in motion that could make him the head of the Triads if all goes according to plan. With these films, that ends up predictable.

Johnson Phan and Paul Wu bring a teeny bit of overacting in their roles of Jimmy and Bosco, but it’s not as bad as Peter Chao’s insane acting in his scene as drug dealer Wen Lo. His acting gets to the point of laughable when he confronts his partner about the shipments. Tony Towe does pretty in his role of Dragon Head Xi Long and in a cameo appearance, Hong Kong film veteran Eddy Ko plays Long’s boss, the Godfather Uncle Bao. Newcomer Linna Huyhn makes the most of her debut in the role of Long’s daughter while Vicky Huang’s Lucinda seems to have a sense of predictability with her character is all about.

Andrew Chin served as the film’s fight choreographer and it is a nice mix of Hong Kong-style kickboxing action mixed in with the ground game. Ho takes on veteran stuntman Paul Lazenby in the opening fight of the film and has some great fights against the likes of other stunt veterans. With his experience in Hong Kong cinema, Fontaine does an impressive job with editing the fight scenes, making these stunt performers look quite good. The action complements the story quite well, with the story having a bit of resemblance to one of my favorite video games, Sleeping Dogs, in which the lead character also finds himself caught in between his real life as a cop and being an undercover enforcer, yet of course the similarities only come with the central character and not the generalization of the story itself.

Beyond Redemption is a great directorial debut for former Hong Kong stuntman Bruce Fontaine, thanks in part to the stunt-driven cast, an interesting story, and some frenetic Hong Kong-style fight sequences that look quite good. Despite a bit of overacting from few, it will not ultimately detract from this pretty good action film.

WFG RATING: A-

Well Go USA has released this film on Digital HD and will be available on Blu-Ray and DVD on February 7, 2017. Extras include pre-viz on two fight sequences and trailers. To pre-order your copy, click on the image below:

Main Khiladi Tu Anari (1994)

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The Hollywood film The Hard Way (1991) starred Michael J. Fox as an actor who follows tough cop James Woods to prepare for a role as a cop in an upcoming film. This Bollywood remake of that very film kicks it up a notch due to the presence of one of India’s biggest action stars, martial artist Akshay Kumar in the Woods role.

Kumar plays police inspector Karan Joglekar, who has learned his brother and mentor, Arjun, has been brutally murdered at the hands of big shot crime lord Goli. As Karan searches for clues to find Goli, he gets himself in hot water when he is asked to confront a local movie producer who has kidnapped a woman in order to force her to appear in his films. At the scene as well is Deepak Kumar, an actor known for his roles in romantic comedies who is looking to go against type but is constantly met with disapproval from the unscrupulous producer.

When Karan confronts the producer, he is forced to fight the producer and his security guards using his martial arts skills. Kumar, who holds black belts in karate and tae kwon do as well as being a muay thai practicioner does some great moves for Bollywood cinema. Under the supervisor of action coordinator Akbar Bakshi, Kumar was able to perform his own stunts in the film, even jumping over the hood of a car to kick one of the goons he fights.

Impressed by what he has seen, Deepak is determined to make Karan take him along for the ride in order to study the role of a police officer. Meanwhile, Goli’s girlfriend Mona has been killed by the crime lord because of her betrayal by ratting him out to Arjun, Karan’s brother, before he was killed. However, when Karan decides to find a look-alike to infiltrate Goli, he meets Basanti, and soon she begins her infiltration yet she falls for the hard-nosed cop at the same time.

At first, Deepak and Karan don’t get along due to Deepak’s constant interference with Karan’s mission. However, Karan soon realizes that he cannot figure the whole mystery out himself and it takes the sometimes annoying Deepak to show Karan the meaning of not only working with a partner, but even showing the meaning of friendship.

This film is the second in Akshay Kumar’s breakout Khiladi series of films. As with a Bollywood action film, this is a nicely blended mix of action, comedy, and the mandatory musical sequences that make Bollywood what it is today. Kumar seems to be the best fighter of the entire movie and it shows. Some call him the “Jean-Claude Van Damme” of Bollywood and it may be true in terms of showcasing his skills on screen. Saif Ali Khan provides the perfect comic counterpart to Kumar’s hard-nosed police officer as a very popular actor who just wants a change. The fact that these two learn from each other not only with work, but eventually in life, works out nicely in terms of the plot.

The only disappointment of the film comes in the climax of the film. Most film villains tend to have a top number one henchman that can pose a real threat for the hero, sometimes even more than the actual villain himself. This seems to be the case with the Goli’s henchman. Seeing the film, a fight scene between the henchman and Karan would have been necessary. Sadly, their confrontation is way too short and it doesn’t help that it doesn’t consist of any fighting between the two.

With the exception of a disappointing finale, Main Khiladi Tu Anari is a fun action-comedy in which the credit goes to the unlikely team of Akshay Kumar and Saif Ali Khan with Kumar’s thrashing of the movie producer and his goons as the highlight of the film.

WFG RATING: B-

A United Sevens Combines/Venus Records and Tapes Production. Director: Sameer Malkan. Producer: Champak Jain. Writers: Kader Khan; story by Sachin Bhomwick. Cinematography: Akram Khan. Editing: Suresh Chaturvedi.

Cast: Akshay Kumar, Saif Ali Khan, Shilpa Shetty, Rageshwari, Shakti Kapoor, Johnny Lever, Mukesh Khanna, Beena Banerjee, Goga Kapoor, Shiva Rindani.

 

REVIEW: Elaan (2005)

elaan india-icon

2005, Venus Films

Director:
Vikram Bhatt
Producers:
Ganesh Jain
Ratan Jain
Writers:
Robin Bhatt
Vikram Bhatt
Cinematography:
Pravin Bhatt
Editing:
Kuldip K. Mehan

Cast:
Mithun Chakraborty (Baba Sikander)
Rahul Khanna (Karah Shah)
Arjun Rampal (Arjun Srivastav)
Amisha Patel (Priya)
John Abraham (Abhimanyu)
Lara Dutta (Sonia)
Chunky Pandey (Salim)
Madan Joshi (Kantilal Shah)
Miling Gunaji (Aftab Sikander)
Prithvi Zutshi (Sameer Sikander)
Ritu Shivpuri (Anjali Shah)

Five unlikely heroes form an unexpected alliance against the terror of one criminal mastermind in this 2005 revenge thriller from Vikram Bhatt.

Baba Sikander is a criminal mastermind who has held the elite of India hostage. Along with his two brothers and right hand man Salim, he forces rich businessmen to give them ransoms or they will kill them for non-payment. One well-known businessman, Kantilal Shah, is the latest to feel Sikander’s threat and it is his adopted son, Karan, who convinces his father not to pay the ransom. When Kantilal agrees, he and four bodyguards are later gunned down and Baba escapes to Italy, where he goes into hiding.

Vowing revenge by bringing Baba to justice, Karan knows Italy has no extradition law to India. Instead, he decides to form a team to bring the crime lord back to India. He brings in a suspended police officer, Arjun Srivastav, and Abhimanyu, a former associate of Baba who is serving time in prison after Baba framed him. Upon arrival in Venice, Abhimanyu reconnects with his girlfriend Sonia with the intention of getting out of the whole deal. However, after he and Sonia are kidnapped by Baba’s men, Arjun and Karan rescue both of them and Abhimanyu, realizing his mistake, decides to join them as does Sonia. Add reporter Priya, who has been getting a story on Karan’s crusade, and the five form a team who will do anything to ensure Baba Sikander is brought to justice.

Bollywood cinema is truly one of the hottest genres in cinema today. They may be known in general form for its musical numbers as well as sometimes very long running times. This 158-minute film is mainly an action thriller that can slowly becomes a buddy action film with five unlikely heroes who must stop a dangerous criminal mastermind who doesn’t necessarily do more than order his men around. However, what better way for the five to bond in this film than with the usually required musical and dance number and that’s exactly what happens. However, including this, there are only four musical numbers and they are interspersed from the first to the second hour with the “bonding sequence” to wrap the musical numbers up.

The band of heroes are well played by the ensemble cast. Rahul Khanna’s revenge seeking Karan is not looking to kill the mastermind Baba, but rather bring him back to India for justice. One would expect Karan to kill Baba for killing his father in the name of revenge in the usual action movie. However, Karan is a respectable businessman with morals and refuses to take the vigilante route. He truly wants justice for the death of his father.

Arjun Rampal, coming off his role in the James Bond-ish Asambhav, once again shows his chops in the action department as suspended cop Arjun, who is a single dad who despite having a hot temper, has a heart when it comes to his daughter. John Abraham, who a year prior, starred as the villain of the first Dhoom film, plays Abhimanyu as an anti-hero who started his career working for Baba only to want revenge for his now former boss’s betrayal. Ultimately, a pivotal moment forces him to change his tune to full hero status.

Amisha Patel’s Priya starts out as an annoying reporter who actually highlights the first musical number that eventually leads to her becoming a member of the team and Karan’s eventual love interest. Lara Dutta rounds out the heroes as Sonia, Abhimanyu’s long-suffering girlfriend who at first is reluctant to reunite with him as she has become a famous performer. However, out of respect for him, joins him on the mission leading to a reconciliation between the two.

Mithun Chakraborty truly is evil in the role of the villainous Baba Sikander, who pretty much has the elitist part of India under his iron fist through his ultimatum: pay or die. He doesn’t have much in the action department until the end and delegates his organization, including his brothers, to do the dirty work for him. Even his introduction in the film, which starts before the opening credits, instills the fear his character conveys in the film, telling the viewer that he has India hostage and will not let it go anytime soon.

Abbas Ali Moghul designed some pretty exciting action sequences that involves lots of firepower and in the case of Abraham, some nicely shot fistacuffs. Granted, they are not in the vein of the flashy style we are used to in various martial arts films, but they still hold up quite well. The firepower and chase scenes are reminiscent of something seen in a James Bond or even, an 80’s action thriller, which take away the musical numbers and it has the feel of an 80’s Cannon movie feel to an effect.

Elaan makes good use of its cast with some pretty nifty set pieces. The sporadic musical numbers that make up the first to second hour might be a notable annoyance but we are talking Bollywood cinema here, so in this case, it’s perfectly acceptable.

WFG RATING: B

DVD

Venus Movies, the production company behind the film, has also set up the movie to view for free on YouTube. Click here for the YouTube version, which has English subtitles.

9413 (1998)

9413 Hong-kong-icon

Hong Kong actor Francis Ng makes his directorial debut with the story an embittered cop.

Hong Kong police officer Smash-Head accidentally shot a female hostage but was cleared of all charges thanks to his corrupt boss Officer Kar. However, this action has caused Smash-Head to go crazy. He tends to bust criminals without identifying himself and he spends his off duty time dancing and going to nightclubs.

However, when he is given a chance to see psychiatrist Dr. Carmen Leung, he begins to slowly feel a sense of redemption. However, while he makes progress, he still has to deal with Officer Kar and his shady dealings. When is ultimately forced to choose sides, Smash-Head delves into depression and madness but decides he must make the right decision.

Francis Ng is definitely quite a talent in Hong Kong. Perhaps best known for his role of Ugly Kwan in the first Young and Dangerous film, he makes his directorial debut here with Sandy Shaw’s script about a cop forced to go bad but seeks redemption.

Ng looks to be perfectly suited for the role of Smash-Head, the police officer who enters a downward spiral because of an accident. As a result, he is forced to deal with his dirty boss’s dealings for money and finds an outlet in going towards depression as well as spending plenty of time at the clubs doing his thing. Smash-Head even goes as far as going to the local nightclub just to see club girl Mandy, played by Amanda Lee. However, despite all the madness, there is a very funny scene worth mentioning.

At a local club, Smash-Head yells at the band for being too boring. When the band plays a more upbeat tune, he gets excited and not only dances, but goes as far as stripping down to his skivvies for the crowd. This is perhaps the only comical scene to break away from the seriousness of the film and it is quite langh out loud. While the character of Smash-Head may seem at first a comical character due to the nature of his character, it is more than that as the film progresses.

9413 is a pretty good directorial debut for actor Francis Ng, combined with his performance and Sandy Shaw’s script about a man who is internally combusting and forced to do the right thing.

WFG RATING: A

A Booms Movie Production Ltd. production. Director: Francis Ng. Producers: Karbie Ng and Herman Yau. Writer: Sandy Shaw. Cinematography: Herman Yau. Editing: Eric Cheung.

Cast: Francis Ng, Christine Ng, Amanda Lee, Fredric Mao, Stephen Ho, Raymond Yu, Lee Kin-Yan.

 

REVIEW: Police Story Part II (1988)

policestory2 Hong-kong-icon

1988, Golden Harvest/Golden Way Films

Director:
Jackie Chan
Producer:
Leonard Ho
Writers:
Edward Tang
Jackie Chan
Cinematography:
Cheung Yiu-Cho
Danny Lee Yau-Tong
Editing:
Peter Cheung

Cast:
Jackie Chan (Sgt. Kevin Chan)
Maggie Cheung (May)
Bill Tung (Bill)
Ben Lam (Hung)
John Cheung (Polar Bear)
Benny Lai (Mute)
Chor Yuen (Chu Tao)
Charlie Cho (John Ko)
Teddy Yip (Mall Director)
Lam Kwok-Hung (Superintendent Raymond Li)
Kenny Ho (12674)
Mars (Kim)
Tai Bo (Joker)

Sgt. Kevin Chan is back but this time, he has bigger issues to face both on and off the job in this action packed sequel to the 1985 original.

After having brought Chu Tao to justice in his unorthodox way, Sgt. Kevin Chan is relinquished to being a traffic cop. He begins to have trouble maintaining a balance between work and his relationship with girlfriend May. To make matters worse, Chu Tao is free from prison as a result of his learning he is terminally ill. While alive, Chu vows to make Kevin’s life a living hell. After sending John Ko and some men to assault May and her mother, Kevin goes after the goons. He soon learns he must choose between the job and his relationship. When making plans for a vacation, a bomb threat is made at the mall, which is at first a hoax until everyone has evacuated. Then the bomb goes off.

When May realizes Kevin is more into his job, she ends their relationship. The reason is because the day they were supposed to leave, Kevin is called in by Bill and Superintendent Lam to tackle the bomb case, which is a result of an extortion deal between the mall director and the bombers. Worse, Kevin accidentally had May’s passport when the plane took off. Despite Kevin once again stopping Ko and his men from an assault on himself and May, May still wants nothing to do with him. As Kevin draws closer to the bombers, he finds himself forced into a deadly situation that puts not only his life in jeopardy, but May’s as well.

Jackie Chan comes back to form in the seminal role of Kevin Chan, the Hong Kong everyman cop of Police Story as he faces perhaps his most dangerous threat. What is interesting here is that Chan and co-writer Edward Tang played some smarts here with the script. While Chor Yuen is back in a smaller role as original villain Chu Tao and a new threat comes in the form of a triple threat of bombers played by Ban Lam, John Cheung, and Benny Lai, Chan and Tang have smoothed out the edged with one particular storyline that makes this sequel truly work.

While Chan is best known for his elaborate action scenes and stunt work, the film takes a look at Kevin’s issue off the job. The relationship between Jackie’s Kevin and Maggie Cheung’s May proves to be vital to the plot of the film. It shows Chan at some of his dramatic best as he attempts to redeem himself towards his girlfriend, who by the second act, has dumped him. In a pivotal scene that leads to the third act, it is clear how much Kevin and May really care about each other.

The film does have its share of action, despite it not being truly up to the level of the original film. However, some key action moments stand out in this film. One involves Chan taking on some of Chu Tao’s goons in first a restaurant after the assault on May and then an attempt to get even goes sour for the goons at a playground where Kevin civilly talks to May after the break-up. While it is great to see Ben Lam and classic kung fu veteran John Cheung, they get a few knocks in with the highlight reel being Jackie Chan Stunt Team member Benny Lai unleashing all unholy hell as the mute superkicking member of the trio of villains that take over the film.

Police Story Part II is a pretty good sequel that brings more of a structured story involving Kevin Chan’s issues on and off the job along with Benny Lai stealing the show as the superkicking villain of the film.

WFG RATING: B

DVD/BLU-RAY

REVIEW: Police Story (1985)

policestory Hong-kong-icon

1985, Golden Harvest/Golden Way Films

Director:
Jackie Chan
Producer:
Leonard Ho
Writers:
Edward Tang
Jackie Chan
Cinematography:
Cheung Yiu-Cho
Editing:
Peter Cheung

Cast:
Jackie Chan (Sgt. Kevin Chan)
Brigitte Lin (Salina Fong)
Maggie Cheung (May)
Bill Tung (Bill)
Chor Yuen (Chu Tao)
Charlie Cho (John Ko)
Fung Hark-On (Danny Chu)
Lam Kwok-Hung (Superintendent Raymond Li)
Kam Hing-Yan (Inspector Man)
Mars (Kim)
Kent Tong (Tak)
Tai Bo (Snake Eyes)
Lau Chi-Wing (Counselor Cheung)

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+

DVD/BLU-RAY