Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Retro Review: Police Story (1985) #JackieChan, #Hongkongcinema

Police Story (Ging Ghaat Goo Si)
1985
Cast: Jackie Chan, Brigette Lin, Maggie Cheung, Chor Yuen, Charlie Cho
Genre: Martial Arts Action 
Lifetime Gross: $26,626,760 (Hong Kong)

Plot: A kung fu policeman must protect a female witness (Brigette Lin) from a Hong Kong drug lord for whom she used to work for







'The Rush Hour Movies Have Nothing On This Film'

Martial arts stars don't come any bigger, better and well known as Bruce Lee and the eventual successor to the throne, Jackie Chan, whose success and impact didn't just pave the wave for the next generation of action stars such as Steven Segal, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Jet Li, Jason Statham and others besides. It also propelled martial arts movies to a higher status, making it a well-known action sub-genre in the movie world. 

Jackie Chan demonstrates that as well as being a fantastic martial arts movie star and stuntman, he can also do a great job behind the camera as a director, as proven in this movie.

Police Story is one of my beloved martial arts movies of mine, as well as one of my all-time favourite movies, ever. Oh, and it is also my favourite Jackie Chan Movie, unparalleled. Yes even over Rush Hour. Whilst it is heavy at times with the humour, the action and fighting scenes are what really makes this movie exceedingly memorable. 

An action- packed film set in contemporary 1980s Hong Kong, this was a huge change of direction for Chan who first made his mark with period kung fu classic, Drunken Master (which still kicks ass today) during the 1970s. It was dubbed a gritty Hong Kong version of 1987's Lethal Weapon, which is odd given Police Story came out 2 years prior to it. 




I have seen and read one comment from a user on Amazon.com who called this film one of the worst he has done and that the action is awful. I beg your pardon? Awful as in Jackie Chan jumping and hanging and dangling outside a bus with a walking stick, whilst a madman drives around the town? Awful as in when he does a flying roundhouse, windmill kick on the floor on one of the bad guys that sends him spinning and flying into glass? Awful as in when he slides down an electric pole slide in a shopping mall with electric sparks injuring his hands? The fact that Jackie and the other actors hurt themselves and almost risked their lives, is a sheer testament to their efforts & all for the sake of art that ought to be lauded. 

The action in this movie is relentless, frenetic, pulsating and so over-the-top that unfortunately became subdued and watered down in Jackie's inferior Western efforts later on: the camera doesn't switch to another angle when he performs his moves and tricks and that his style incorporates inanimate objects and less so with guns. I got an adrenaline rush just by watching the incredible fights, moves and bone-crunching kicks and punches landed by Jackie as Kevin, as well as by the villains. The mall fight has to be seen to be believed and is literately one of the best 10 mins or so in an action movie, bar none. It is action all the way with plenty of stunts, moves and people running about; quite frankly it is chaotic but in an entertaining and watchable way. Though I was concerned in seeing the females being beaten up pretty badly; with one nearly getting a Black eye & of whom smashes into some glass and another gets kicked down a moving escalator. It was brutal and not a pleasant sight to behold.




The humour may be grating on some people - the pie in the face being one of them - but it definitely helps further distinguish himself from Bruce Lee and notably gives him a style on which to base his skills upon. And Jackie Chan has a certain likeability factor about him too as a celebrity star that draws fans towards him. 

The Police Story series is much more serious in tone, but for some of the light-hearted scenes and tongue-in-cheek dialogue and operates more as an action flick, in contrast to the Lucky Stars movies. 

It's Jackie Chan in the prime of his career, and this movie pretty much all but consolidated his status as a worthy successor to Bruce Lee. 



Final verdict:

If I were to recommend another Jackie Chan movie for other people to watch and who are eager to see more of his earlier work, I'd definitely state this film for the record. 

Police Story is THE quintessential Chan action movie that despite its age, this is the superior representation of everything Jackie Chan stood for when it comes to martial arts cinema, especially in the 1980s and why he later became a worldwide name through his arrival Stateside, after all the hype and success he has had in his native country - only to make that transition in the West; it's high- octane action galore, backed up with incredible stunts and fight work to keep it fresh and relevant and talked about, as a martial arts classic for millions of years to come. 

For the definitive Chan movie, this is undoubtedly, the complete package here and that's by getting by the goofy humour. And an admirable Hong Kong movie classic where you get to see a masterclass in Kung Fu action. Arguably, both Drunken Master and Police Story showcase the absolute best of Jackie Chan's talents.  

If you've seen Rush Hour and thought Jackie Chan was at his sheer best, you ain't seen nothing yet. Not until seeing Police Story that is.



Overall:










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