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STUDIO: Lions Gate
RUNNING TIME: 123 Minutes
• Jackie Chan DVD introduction
• Jackie Chan commentary on two scenes
• Making of New Police Story
• English dubbing with Jackie
• Jackie’s personal piracy PSA
Jackie Chan gets drunk and kicks ass! Woo-hoo!! Oh shit, wait a minute, he gets drunk because he’s depressed…wallows in self pity…sobers up…then kicks ass. Damn. Oh well, it’s still Jackie kicking ass.
It was there, at that precise moment, that Jackie realized he really should have studied Gun Kata…
Jackie Chan, Nicholas Tse, Charlie Yeung, Charlene Choi, Daniel Wu.
Hong Kong Police Inspector Wing (Chan) is on the case of bank robbers who like to wear party masks, have a victim call the cops, then ambush them with automatic weapons when the arrive on the scene. Turns out the evildoers are bored, spoiled rich kids who are X-Gamers and like to play video games, video tape themselves committing their crimes, then turn their crime footage into the ultimate online gaming experience. The bank robbers, led by Joe (Wu), are slick, well-planned and get points for each cop they kill. When Wing says on TV that he believes they’ll have them captured in 3 hours, Joe and the others take it as a personal challenge to make his life a living hell, and all in the name of creating the next big game. Wing gets a tip where the gang is holed up and takes a team of nine men to their warehouse. But once inside, they discover that it’s a big ambush and one by one his men fall into traps. When Wing is the only one left, the gang members confront him and challenge him to various games for his men’s lives, including reassembling a gun against Joe and duking it out with another gang member, Red Hair. With each game he fails and each man that dies, Wing sinks further into hopelessness and self despair. Wing ultimately loses and all of his men die as a result, including his girlfriend’s brother.
"Man, these gun-cameras are great aren’t they?"
"Yeah. Say cheese…"
Cut to a year later and Wing is a sloppy drunk who can’t even begin to forgive himself for letting his men die. A young officer, Fung (Tse), arrives and helps Wing get back on his feet when the robbers strike again. Wing, who was suspended for a year and has shut out everybody, including his girlfriend, reluctantly stumbles back into sobriety and is on the case. As he’s on the trail of the gang once again, including chasing them down a building and saving the passengers of a careening bus through town, he finds out that the terrible events that went down in the warehouse might not have been so cut and dried as they appeared. What’s more, his partner may not be who he appears to be either.
The dailies for Chan’s version of Fartman looked promising…
There is fantastic – I mean fantastic stuntwork, action and fight scenes in this flick. With a Jackie Chan Hong Kong movie, though, that’s pretty much a given. But what really caught me with New Police Story was actually the solid story on display here. Some Jackie Chan HK movies have coasted on Chan’s unbelievable stunt work and fight choreography, while the story might not have always been equal to the task. But writer Alan Yuen (Heroic Duo) and especially director Benny Chan (Jackie Chan’s Who Am I?) have made sure that the backdrop for all the great action is right there as well. NPS doesn’t find Jackie playing some hotshot kung fu super agent, but a straight – and very fallible – cop who gets caught in a shitty situation and has a tough time dealing with it.
The villains are also fairly unique in that they’re not just one dimensional bad guys looking to start a war, running drugs or out to rule the world. The gang leader, Joe, is actually a pretty well-thought out character who has believable motivations for being the murderous nut that he is (in a nutshell, he’s mad at daddy). There’s also a couple of layers to the story in that there is a peripheral character, a cop, who was involved with the gang that leads to the events in the warehouse. That’s nicely revealed as the investigation progresses. The real kicker is the basis for the relationship between Wing and his new partner that is a secret, which I can’t spoil here.
Although he wasn’t quite right for the part, Jackie’s audition for Venom in the next Spider-Man flick was nonetheless quite impressive.
So since they have the story solid, regarding the action and fights, well what else would you expect from ole Jackie? There is a chase down the side of a building – yes, down the side of a building – that has to be seen to be believed, and there’s a careening bus sequence that’s excellent as well. NPS has great fight choreography also, but it doesn’t rely on it to carry the story. In fact there’s probably less fighting here than in many other Chan flicks, but rest assured, they don’t leave you hanging in that department. Chan has admittedly said in the past that drama was not always his forte; and that the bumbling characters he always plays are more suited to his style. And granted, in some of the heavier moments, this is the case, but overall, he also puts in some decent acting here also.
One thing I did notice, after checking out Jackie’s filmography, is that Police Story is a pseudo franchise, mostly due to title translation, and that this is actually New in name only. Wing is not a character from any of the previous umpteen million Jackie Chan Honk Kong movies that have been dubbed Police Story, such as First Strike or Once a Cop. It’s kind of got the whole Bloodfist thing going where there are several movies (eight at last count) where they share the same title, but have little or nothing to do with each other. So if you think this is a sequel of some kind (but hell it may be), you might want to know that, as far as I could tell, it’s not. Still, a urprisingly good movie all around.
Jackie’s first job selling fireworks was brief yet eventful…,
The film looks great in 2.35:1. Director Benny Chan knows how to shoot good action scenes and mix up the slo-mo with some daring shots like lowering his cameraman down the side of a building with his actors. There’s also some impressive explosions, most notably in the warehouse and police station involving a not so little bomber-gram with Wing’s girlfriend. The sound is also good in Dolby Digital English 5.1 and 2.0. There’s also Cantonese 5.1 and 2.0 for the purists. There’s English, Cantonese and Spanish subtitles available as well. The cover art is passable, but mostly Photoshop tripe. Jackie Chan gives a DVD introduction that last about as long as it takes to say chop-socky and a piracy PSA that’s even shorter to bookend. Jackie also gives commentary on two scenes, the bus sequence and climactic rooftop sequence. It’s interesting that in about five minutes of total action, he manages to comment on only about 20 seconds of it. There’s a good 15-minute Making of New Police Story, featuring talking head and behind-the-scenes pieces, all in Cantonese with subtitles. Finally, there’s a seven-minute session with Jackie dubbing his lines in ADR.