Police Story breaks new ground with its breathtaking fights and incredible stunt sequences. Featuring a top-notch cast, which includes multi-award winning actresses Brigitte Lin & Maggie Cheung, director Chan combines a compelling storyline of an honest cop on the run from a false murder charge with dynamic visuals and full-blooded fight action which is electrified with emotional underscoring. In the case of this particular project the price of excellence was high, with many of Jackie's elite stunt team being seriously injured during the course of principal photography.
Jackie Chan has become a genre unto himself, and watching Police Story, you'll understand why. The plot is minimal: Chan is a hero cop involved in a raid that goes wrong. He's assigned to guard a witness, the kingpin's attractive female secretary (Brigitte Lin). For the rest of the film, Chan's protecting himself from the secretary, from the gangsters out to silence her, and from his own jealous girlfriend (Maggie Cheung). But watching Chan for plot is like watching porno for existential themes. While most modern action films steal cues from Westerns, Chan condenses those open mesas into the dense throngs of modern Hong Kong--and tosses in Buster Keaton slapstick. For example, when the opening raid goes haywire, there's an unbelievable car chase through the steep huddle of a hillside shantytown. That's through. No roads, just shacks. Flimsy shacks. As the film progresses, Chan scales a speeding bus using an umbrella, uses cow dung as an excuse to break into some Shaolin moonwalking, and transforms an urban shopping mall into a demented gymnasium (think clothes racks, escalators, and lots of plate glass displays). Chan is amazingly versatile both physically and emotionally--and he's a secure enough star-director to let his costars shine, too. --Grant Balfour
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This classic Jackie Chan picture opens with one of the wildest police action set pieces ever filmed, an extended chase that includes the total destruction of a hillside shanty settlement, as fleeing crooks and pursing cops crash down through it with their vehicles. Overall, however, the picture is an awkward mixture of clashing elements. At first it is a little strange seeing Chan playing it (mostly) straight in a hard-edged police thriller. The fights are all extremely ferocious and real-looking, without the lighthearted slapstick stylization that leavens his best period vehicles, like Project A, Part II. The comedy elements (especially a recurrent cake-in-the-face gag) seem to come out of nowhere; they are no longer integral to the spirit of the movie. But there are wonderful set pieces, stunts, and action scenes, including Jackie struggling to answer a dozen jangling phones at once, when he's left alone at the police station, and the all-out, glass-smashing fervor of a climactic battle royal in a shopping mall. --David Chute