Friday, March 02, 2007
Written by Fantasma el Rey
High flying kicks, a stupendous explosion, and even with a mediocre plot, Jackie Chan’s Police Story 2 is a very enjoyable film. I say it’s due to the genius of Chan himself. His none-too-complicated stories provide more time for his top-of-the-line stunts and stunt team to make more of an impact and for this epic Jackie brought in U.S. pyrotechnics for his grand finale.
This follow-up to Police Story opens with a recap of the events leading to our hero, Chan, being demoted. Because of his offbeat manner of catching criminals, he’s busted down to traffic cop. The mob boss he put in prison is out on the streets again and begins to harass Chan and his longtime girlfriend. Meanwhile, a group of mad bombers are blowing things up around town. Chan quits after a few fights with mob henchmen but is promptly reinstated to help find the bombers, who find a way to kidnap said girlfriend. And it all rolls from there.
That’s about it as far as the plot goes. Our man wins, of course, recovers his girl, and all is well until Police Story 3. Yet it is Jackie Chan’s vision of what Hong Kong cinema could be that hooks you. Chan’s humor is great; a silent, surprising comic vibe fill his films. His Kung-Fu slapstick and desire for bigger and better drive the action to consistently new heights.
The three major fight scenes are awesome. Fight one in the restaurant serves as a true appetizer. The action is good and we know that Chan will do more in the next conflict. Here we notice the superhero image in the background. It’s a kick that the mob boss refers to Chan as “super-hero” or “super-cop,” depending if you’re watching the dubbed version or the original Cantonese with subtitles.
Fight two in the playground is the master fight for P.S. 2 (pardon the pun). Using his environment is a Chan trademark and here it shines like Hong Kong fireworks. Swing sets and monkey bars, it’s all part of the game for this masterful stunt crew. Falling through bars, over each other, and well, all over the damn place as our boy sends them flying in every direction, chasing their tails or fellow goons. Bravo!
Fight three is in the fireworks warehouse. It is with a guy we met a bit earlier, who works for the mad bombers. A weasely chap that looks like no problem for “super-cop,” yet little do we know that this guy kicks like an acrobatic mule. No matter because Chan can take it in stride and figure a way to beat this creep at his own game, by popping small explosives on him.
At this point everyone that’s a hassle is out of the way and Chan has his dame. But wait! During the fight some explosives were knocked over and set ablaze. Now our main man (and women) must run like they have never ran before, for you see the entire warehouse is about to blow sky high and send this one into action-movie history.
This conclusion was the biggest explosion in Hong Kong cinema up to that point. And who put it down on film? Our director Jackie Chan, that’s who. The man rented every camera in Hong Kong to make sure he caught every possible angle. That’s entertainment!
The DVD has some very informative and entertaining special features. The audio commentary by Rush Hour director Brett Ratner and Hong Kong cinema expert Bey Logan is insightful and interesting, with many facts about the filming and a creative look into Chan’s thinking. Logan leads us on an exciting location guide of P.S. 2 and we get to see how these places have changed since the original filming. “Stunts Unlimited” is a fascinating peek at the world of the Jackie Chan stunt team. A good view of how the magic is made and why we keep tuning in to Chan films.
Above all, in anything that Jackie Chan does he brings his honesty and sincerity to the project. It shows in his acting and directing, never settling for mediocrity in his action or comic antics. And that’s what makes him able to turn a simple police story into a blockbuster for the ages. Well, that and the outtakes at the end of his films, which are hilarious and bloody. You gotta love that and marvel at the fact that Chan is still alive after all those crazier than Jackass stunts and mishaps.