Nowadays Jackie Chan is a fairly big Hollywood star who makes kind of okay and mostly fun action films that satisfy their audience but rarely go as far as delighting them. But before he went over to the United States he made a number of very enjoyable films, best known for their outlandish action sequences, and a blooper reel when the movie ends shows just how much pain the cast were prepared to put themselves through.
It’s that aspect which makes Police Story so much fun, there’s a number of set pieces in the film which contain long panning shots as people dash all over the place and either try to kill or try not to die. An opening scene sees a small shanty town destroyed in a quite brutal manner, while the ending sequence in a shopping mall is the sort of thing that a responsible director would never allow his stars to do in this day and age.
Unfortunately when it’s setting up its plot it is a slightly weaker work, as Chu Tao (Chor Yuen) is a bastard of a drug dealer and Inspector Chan Ka-Kui (Chan) and his colleagues attempt to arrest him, but his guilt can’t be proven and they need the testimony of his secretary Selina (Brigitte Lin) who Chan must protect at all costs. To slightly complicate matters she’s a reluctant witness and everything gets very convoluted, while a young Maggie Cheung plays Chan’s understandably pissed off girlfriend May.
There’s a fair few funny pieces of dialogue, and a sequence where Selina tricks Chan and records dialogue between them which eventually gets played in an overlong court scene raised the odd smile, as did a surprise birthday party which involved an awful lot of cake ending up in our hero’s face. But there’s also one comedy bit with Chan on the phone to a lot of people which hasn’t aged well, especially as one of the phone calls is a woman reporting a rape but the scene is played for laughs and that’s more than a little depressing.
Despite that tasteless moment most of the time when Chan is on screen it’s a film that is pretty damn fun, he’s a charismatic lead and the action scenes really are impressive and see Chan kicking some serious arse. If only the script had been given a couple more polishes it might have been a real classic, but because it’s slightly lacking in that department it doesn’t quite deserve such acclaim. .