-MONTHLY VHS & DVD REVIEW-
New Police Story|
cast: Jackie Chan, Deep Ng, Charlie Young, Daniel Wu, and Nicholas Tse
producer and director: Benny Chan
122 minutes (15) 2004
widescreen ratio 2.35:1
Hong Kong Legends DVD Region 2 retail
[released 5 February]
reviewed by J.C. Hartley
Jackie Chan (do I need to list his movie credits?) has expressed a desire to move away
from comedies, actioners, and comedy-actioners, and into drama, and one suspects that
this feature, New Police Story (aka: San ging chaat goo si), is an attempt
to warm up before flexing his acting muscles. On the extras disc, director Benny Chan
Am I?), over a clip of Jackie crying, says that this is what Jackie likes doing
best, and he gets to do a lot of it, but that and steely determination is pretty much
the range of acting on show here. No one can blame Chan for looking to extend his range,
he's 50 now and still doing a lot of his own stunts, the clock must be ticking; in the
meantime forget own-stunt wannabes like pocket scientologist Tom Cruise, Jackie Chan is
the real deal.
Jackie is Chan-Kwok Wing a senior inspector in the Hong Kong Police, when we first see
him he is falling down drunk and an extended flashback sequence tells us how he arrived
in this sorry condition. After foiling a hostage situation we meet Wing and his youthful
team in a debrief where his fiancée helps his colleagues take a rise out of him,
her younger brother is one of Wing's subordinates, and the cocky arrogance of the team
Wing has assembled goes some way to alert us to what will follow.
An athletic and daring gang of flamboyantly masked youths audaciously hold-up one of the
city's major banks and lay waste to the police response units with automatic weapons;
they boast about earning points for killing various ranks of police officer and clearly
the whole enterprise is part of some deadly game. Wing announces on national TV that he
is about to bring the gang to justice and following this launches a raid on an industrial
unit at the head of his young team.
The police raid on the gang HQ is probably the weakest part of this film in that it is
so amateurish that even the charge of arrogance made against Wing by one of his superiors
cannot explain it. The cops arrive in a van, bareheaded, and wearing the little bullet-proof
waistcoats first seen in Z-Cars in the 1960s; there is no kevlar or helmets, clearly
so we can see the young policemen's anguished faces as the shit hits the fan. The ludicrously
under-prepared task force are armed with shotguns; Wing carries an automatic, despite the
bank raid showing that the gang are heavily armed with military gauge automatic weapons.
The whole of Wing's force enters the building, there is no attempt to watch the 'back door',
and no contact with or mention of backup. Once inside, the team is run around an elaborate
maze and picked off one-by-one; their entrapment is being filmed for an online arcade game.
When he is the last one left Wing comes upon a dreadful scene that plays out like a torture
routine from a horror movie, albeit with a 15 certificate. To save his men, hanging from the
roof, Wing must play games against members of the gang, field-stripping his sidearm and engaging
in a kung-fu bout; Wing loses, his men plunge to the concrete floor and a bomb is detonated to
finish them all off, only Wing survives.
Taking up the narrative again, Wing is on a 12-month period of leave and has taken the
opportunity to drink himself stupid. He is picked out of the gutter by Frank Cheng (Nicholas
Tse, Rob-B-Hood), who claims to be his new partner, and says that Wing's leave has
been cancelled so that he can rejoin the case. Cheng is not all he seems but dedicates himself
to getting Wing's life back in order, including reconciliation with his girlfriend; gradually
they begin to hunt down the gang.
After a poor start, and having to weather Jackie's continual tearful breakdowns, this movie
gives itself a shake and develops into a watchable little thriller. Police procedural is
minimal; the gang is identified so easily one wonders if the whole of the Hong Kong force
hasn't crawled into a bottle. Nicholas Tse is such an attractive presence on the screen, in
his 'mod' duster coat, that he gives his scenes with Jackie the fizz that the mashed-potato
face of the latter can't generate; Charlene Choi (Twins Mission) as tech support officer
SaSa is a pert treat as well. The gang comes over like the kind of shiftless counterculture
killers 'Dirty Harry' might have faced, but there is a largely successful attempt to give
their leader, Joe (Daniel Wu, Around
The World In 80 Days), a convincing motivating back story. As regards the action,
there is an entertaining runaway bus, and a good fight in the Legoland ball-pool.
has some rather subdued extras. There are promotional trailers, standalone interviews with
cast and director and a couple of making-of features. The Making Of New Police Story
is a chance for cast and crew to discuss the story and their individual roles against various
explanatory clips; Behind The Scenes is a commentary-free look at some of the scenes
and set-pieces from the movie, offering different camera angles, unused footage and the
technical background and set-ups for sequences such as Jackie bus-surfing, and Jackie and
Nicholas abseiling down the office building.