Film Review: Police Story (1985)

Release Date: December 14th, 1985 (Hong Kong)
Directed by: Jackie Chan
Written by: Jackie Chan, Edward Tang, Golden Way Creative Group
Music by: Michael Lai, Tang Siu Lam
Cast: Jackie Chan, Brigitte Lin, Maggie Cheung, Chor Yuen, Charlie Cho

Golden Harvest, Media Asia Group, 101 Minutes 

Review:

While I love Jackie Chan, there are few of his movies that I consider to be cinematic classics. Police Story is one of those movies.

This was the first Chan film I saw as a kid and even though it has really shitty English dubbing, I didn’t let that deter me, as I was caught up in the fantastic stunts and charmed by Chan’s comedic and bad ass charisma.

The bad dubbing makes some of the humor a lot more over the top and goofier than it was probably intended but Chan’s comedy style still comes through. While the film features a good amount of old fashioned violence, it is still lighthearted enough to not really cross a line. It is a good balance of the cinematic style of 1980s Hong Kong gangster films mixed in with Chan’s unique comedic shtick.

This film also features some of my favorite Jackie Chan stunts, most notably the infamous pole slide through the exploding lights in the mall courtyard. Overall, it features less stunts than his bigger films that would come later. It also isn’t as creative as some of those stunt spectacles but as time went on, Chan had to get bigger and better with each picture.

Police Story is a grittier movie than what most modern Chan fans might expect. He was inspired by the cinema trends surrounding him in the mid-80s and he still hadn’t mastered his style and found his perfect niche or formula. But the rawness of it is what makes it refreshing when compared to his lighter films that came after.

The story, in a nutshell, sees Chan have to protect a woman from mobsters that want to kill her before she testifies against them. It also features a sort of love triangle between the woman and Chan’s girlfriend, played by the talented Maggie Cheung.

Police Story was hugely successful and went on to spawn, not just a sequel, but a franchise. Overall, it is the longest running and best franchise that Chan was a part of. While it might not have made the money of the Rush Hour series, it far surpasses it in quality filmmaking.

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