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FilmsAsia: Asian film reviews
Soh Yun-Huei
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   New Police Story  



 

New Police Story

Reviewed by 1. Soh Yun-Huei 2. Sarhan Rashid

Chinese Title: San ging chaat goo si
Director: Benny Chan
Writing Credits: Alan Yuen
Cast: Jackie Chan, Nicholas Tse, Charlie Yeung, Charlene Choi
Genre: Action
Country: Hong Kong
Language: Cantonese
Year Released: 2004
Runtime: 124 min

1. Review  by Soh Yun-Huei
Rating: * * * (out of four stars)

After a truly dismal spate of films in Hollywood (think The Medallion and The Tuxedo), Jackie Chan has finally wised up and returned to Asia to make a proper Jackie Chan movie, helmed by Benny Chan (who also directed Chan’s Who Am I? back in 1998). And New Police Story is exactly that – a Jackie Chan movie of yore, with the plot and stunts resembling the movies that were part of what made him so famous a decade or two back, but nothing really new or groundbreaking. In fact, there is no real "big Jackie Chan stunt" like his old movies (although there are still lots of stunts in general), and there are no injury "outtakes" in the end credits. This is of course to be expected for a man who has just become half a century old, and has to take more care of himself when it comes to performing stunts. Still, New Police Story offers a pretty solid action blockbuster, and despite its flaws, manages to entertain.

Basically New Police Story is a tale of revenge – a bunch of talented and bored youths who harbour a dislike for the police, are out committing bank heists and mocking the police while they are at it. Inspector Chan Kok Wing (Jackie Chan) is confident his team can take down the criminals, but unexpectedly they are all outwitted and Wing’s whole team is killed. Flash forward one year, and Wing is now a broken alcoholic who has no motivation to work, even shutting out his fiancee’s (Charlie Yeung) attempts to reach out to him. His new partner, Frank (Nicholas Tse), tries to rouse him from his drunken stupor. The two form an unlikely duo and vow to track down the Gang of Five, before they cause more police fatalities during their heists.

New Police Story’s highlights are its action sequences, stuntwork and the handful of comedic scenes – thespian quality is not a requisite of action movies and in this film, the acting is really quite bad. The story is also bordering on mediocre, and it tends to become a bit overemotional at times, with more than one character turning on the waterworks pretty regularly. The audience will see more than a few scenes where Jackie Chan himself tries shedding tears, and the results aren’t very pretty to look at. However, writer Alan Yuen does manage to create several lighthearted moments between all the melodrama, none funnier than the hilarious scene where Wing and Frank are trying to break out of prison.

Although Jackie Chan isn’t as much of a daredevil as he was previously, the stunts in New Police Story still range from respectable to near-spectacular. Action fans will certainly get their money’s worth, in particular the double decker bus sequence, which seems like a little homage to the old Police Story as well. In a year where almost every single Chinese movie has been mediocre to terrible, New Police Story actually manages to end up near the top of the ladder.

Final Word: It’s a run of the mill Jackie Chan film, but that’s already much better than almost all his output in the past few years.

-----------------------------------------------------

2. Review by Sarhan Rashid

Warning: Minor Spoilers below:

"Jackie Chan is BACK!!!!", scream the headlines in the local press. Tune in to the local tv station and again there's nothing but positive comments being shared. Reviews are equally positive. Of course all this wouldn't have anything to do with our local media network (Mediacorp) involvement in distributing the movie locally. Of course not. They would never stoop to such propaganda to convince viewers that shelling out $8.50 to watch Jackie Chan attempt to recapture his lost glory is truly worth it. Never.

Right.

Before commencing my bitchfest maybe I'll start with a brief synopsis for the uninformed. New Police Story is being touted as Jackie Chan's return to Hong Kong filmmaking after his foray into Hollywood. Wasn't the utterly limp The Medallion really a Hong Kong production only assisted by a partial Western crew? Small technicalities I guess. There isn't much of a link to the original Police Story series either but whatever sells tickets, right? This time Jackie Chan is pitted against a group of young heartthrob types are into the whole CS thing and hate cops. I'd buy that but not when the group is characterized as a bunch of retarded kids who giggle and laugh every chance they get. It's especially hard to take them as a serious threat when the main bad guy gets bitch slapped by his father but just keeps mum. Fine his emotionally scarred but how about a retort or killing the old man? Instead these guys are happy killing cops so they can rake up points in their stupid game.

Everyone knows Jackie Chan movies have never been known for their excellent storytelling but the movie losses most of its credibility with the lousy villains and idiotic plot points. Case in point - the mediocre level of writing that went into the scene where Jackie's team goes to the villain's playpen to capture them. It's unbelievably dumb how this scene is played. It starts with Jackie appearing on TV boldly stating his team will catch the bad children in a mere three hours. Effective police work but how about actually sneaking into the hideout instead of driving right up to it? Maybe it was all an excuse to showcase Mitsubishi's latest vehicle range and cash in another big endorsement check for Jackie. Did they honestly expect the kids to sit around waiting for them?

I'd be more than happy to overlook such poorly written plot details if Jackie kicked enough ass but it's obvious he no longer is capable of his trademark death defying stunt work with age catching up to him. I was deciding between catching this or "The Great Challenge" (starring the guys from Yamakasi) but chose this solely because I haven't seen a half-decent Jackie Chan movie in ages. How I wish I had opted for the latter.

Sarhan Rashid is a freelance writer. He can be contacted at myword2k3@yahoo.co.uk