Police Story (1985) / Action-Comedy
aka Ging chaat goo si
aka Police Force

MPAA Rated: PG-13 for violence, some sexuality and drug content
Running Time: 101 min. (some prints vary)

Cast: Jackie Chan, Brigitte Lin, Maggie Cheung, Charlie Cho, Bill Tung, Kenneth Tong
Director: Jackie Chan

Screenplay: Edward Tang
Review published January 3, 2007

One of Jackie Chan's (Cannonball Run II, Wheels on Meals) first big breakthroughs beyond a Hong Kong market, Police Story works well beyond just the standard kung fu fare, as it is, at the same time, also a cop thriller and a comedy.  Breathtaking action that has rarely been rivaled are fully on display, with some truly death-defying moments that makes you wonder how many stunt people were permanently maimed during the film's production.  I certainly hope they were compensated well (and treated for injuries).

In some subtitled prints, Jackie plays a police officer named Kevin, while in dubbed form, his name is actually Jackie Chan.  I'll stick with Jackie Chan for the purposes of this review out of simplicity.

Jackie plays a Hong Kong cop involved in a botched bust of one of Hong Kong's most notoriously elusive drug kingpins, Cho (Cho, High Risk).  Cho nearly gets away, if not for the incredible athleticism of Chan, who single-handedly takes him down during an incredible bus chase.  Cho will get his day in court, but the police do have a key witness in their custody in the form of Cho's feisty new secretary, Selena (Lin, The Thirty Million Rush), who is entrusted in the care of Chan until the trial date.  Selena doesn't know much, but Cho's not about to take any chances, so he gives the order for his henchmen to snuff her out before she can testify against him.  Jackie has his hands full, not only in protecting Selena, but also in keeping her in line,

While the comedy is slapstick fun, and the crime thriller elements interesting enough, Police Story would be just a routine movie for Jackie Chan if not for the incredible action sequences that take center stage from time to time.  Starting off with an incredible car crash sequence though a community of hovels, the film proceeds at a breakneck pace into a chase involving Jackie trying to get aboard a speeding double-decker bus using nothing but an umbrella to cling to.  Other famous sequences include a battle among several automobiles, a home invasion that ends with a huge pool dive, as well as a melee in a shopping mall where Jackie and company break about a hundred pieces of very realistic glass using their bodies.

Bordering on suicidal, Jackie pushes himself to the limit in giving audiences something they've never seen before.  In between the action, we do have a chance to catch our breath with several scenes of Jackie getting in trouble at police headquarters, and some fun scenes between Chan and Brigitte Lin that are played mostly for silly laughs.  It's a must-see for all of Jackie's fans, and should be a hit for anyone who enjoys action sequences that push the limits of what can be shown without killing off any of the actors.  Police Story delivers with a wallop.

 -- Followed by Police Story 2 (1988), Police Story 3 (1992), Supercop (1993), and First Strike (1996).  Actual titles vary depending on country of release and video versions.

Qwipster's rating: 

©2007 Vince Leo