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Jackie Chan: Police Story/Police Story 2

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    Ian Jane
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  • Jackie Chan: Police Story/Police Story 2



    Released by:
    Shout! Factory
    Released on: April 16, 2013.

    Director:

    Cast: Jackie Chan, Maggie Chung, Briggite Lin, Kwok Lam, Yuen Chor

    Year: 1985/1988

    Purchase From Amazon


    The Movies:


    Shout! Factory offers up a double dose of Jackie Chan action with their double feature release of Police Story paired with its sequel, Police Story 2. Here are some thoughts on the movie, after which we'll tackle the disc itself.


    Police Story (1985):


    The first film, directed by Chan himself who co-wrote with Edward Tang, sees Jackie playing Hong Kong Police Inspector Chan. He's not such a big deal until he's out on a sting that goes very, very wrong. After a massive gunfight, Chan pretty much completely on his own brings in a big time drug dealer named Chu (Yuen Chor), but not before he almost dies a few times in the process. With Chu in custody, the cops bring in his beautiful secretary, Selina Fong (Brigitte Lin), for questioning and in hopes of using her to further the prosecution's case against her former employer. This doesn't sit well with Chan's girlfriend, May (Maggie Cheung), nor does it sit that well with Selena, who has a hard time hiding her dislike for him.


    Understandably, the police have some concern that given the importance of her testimony Chu may call in some outside favors and have an attempt made to silence her, and so they assign Chan to protect her until such a time as things cool down and she can go back to her life. All of this seems to be well and good, until it goes to trial and somehow Chu is found not-guilty. Once he's released, he makes it his goal to take Chu and Chan out of the picture for good and pulls out all the stops in his attempts to kill them before they can once again prove to be a thorn in his side. It all ends in one of Jackie Chan's most famous set pieces, that amazing brawl in the mall… but let's not spoil it.


    While Police Story might not as slick or as polished as a lot of American cop movies made in the eighties or as fluid and refined as Jackie Chan's later films, it has an infectious madcap energy to it that makes it damn near impossible not to love. The action set pieces are what makes this one stand out, and Chan, here in his prime and seemingly willing to do anything to get the stunt right, really just lets it all hang out in that regard. The fights are phenomenal, impressive and exciting and the chase scenes tense and fraught with danger, sometimes much more real than we probably realize. And while the film is ridiculously violent, it's also quite comical. It not only plays off of the different relationships that develop between Chan and Selina and between Chan and May but also frequently pits Chan against his commanding officers in fairly cliché but no less amusing circumstances.


    Quite simply, despite it's rough and tumble low budget feel, Police Story really stands as a sterling example of Jackie Chan's commitment to his craft and to his skill as a filmmaker and a stuntman.


    Police Story 2 (1988):


    Made three years later and once again directed by Chan, who once again co-wrote with Tang, Police Story 2 finds Jackie reprising his role of Inspector Chan. Though Chan has been highly recognized for his ability to bust crooks of all shapes and sizes, he's also trashed a lot of property and caused a lot of problems for the top brass in his department. As such, he's been demoted and when the movie begins, he's working as a traffic cop. He's also still dealing with May (Maggie Cheung) and doing the best he can to keep her happy.


    Chan's called back into action, like it or not, when that dastardly man he had locked up in the first movie is once again a free man and harassing he and May. As such, he decides to head to Bali with her to get away for a bit but while at the travel agency in the mall to book the trip, a bomb threat is called in and Chan is asked to help. Eventually he's reinstated when they need his help to stop a group of maniacs using explosives to extort millions of dollars from local businessmen.


    Not quite as much fun nor quite as impressive as the first movie, Police Story 2 is still a pretty solid movie. Once again the fight scenes are great and if nothing in this second film can quite match the mall scene in the first one, the fight scene in the park shows off some seriously impressive fight choreography and stunt work. Chan is Chan, doing his thing and doing it well and while the humor in this movie never works the way it does in the earlier picture, there are a few good gags here and there, though for much of the movie the story focuses on Chan's relationship with May and in a more serious way than you might expect it to.


    There are some creative moments here, such as a crazy bad guy who likes to use remote control vehicles to blow stuff up and a great chase scene involving some trucks that sees Chan literally fly through a window at the finish. We don't quite have the same level of enthusiasm that we saw just three years before, however, and while still a completely enjoyable picture and a worthy sequel, it does fall a little short when watched immediately after that movie. So… spread'em apart a bit. Don't watch one right after the other unless you need to write a punctual review, and dig these two movies on their own merits. There's so much fun to be had here it hurts!


    Video/Audio/Extras:


    Both features are presented on a single BD50 disc in 2.35.1 widescreen in AVC encoded 1080p high definition. Both films were previously released on Blu-ray in Hong Kong by Fortune Star and while these editions are not on hand to do a direct A-B comparison, it's widely believed that they're upscales. The movies presented on this disc from Shout! Factory appear to be taken from those same elements rather than new transfers. So what does this mean? Well, colors look pretty nice and both films are presented in pretty nice condition in that there isn't a ton of print damage, dirty or debris to complain about. Detail, however, is soft throughout both movies, especially the first one, as is texture. Now some of this is definitely due to the original photography, again especially in the first one, but we never approach the level of fine detail that we'd expect from a proper HD transfer sourced from film elements. Do the movies look better than they would on DVD? Yes, but not by a whole lot. With that said, everything is perfectly watchable here despite some occasional issues with haloing and noise and some more consistent issues with edge enhancement. Black levels are decent if not reference quality and the image remains stable enough. Colors look nice and skin looks like skin - but it would have been nice to get better transfers here, really. Police Story 2 comes closer to that than Police Story 1, but both movies definitely leave room for improvement in this area.


    Both Police Story films get DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio tracks in English and in Cantonese as well as standard definition Dolby Digital 2.0 tracks in the same two languages. The only subtitles available are in English and they match the English dubbed track. For the most part, the lossless tracks here sound fine. The mixes tend to be front heavy with the rears used for sound effects and to spread out the score here and there but the levels are fine and there isn't much in the way of hiss or distortion to complain about.


    Extras for the first movie include just over two minutes of deleted scenes and almost three minutes of outtakes. Most of this material is pretty quick but it's fun to see it here. A three and a half minute long alternate ending, taken from a video source, is also included and a nice addition to the disc even if it's not in the greatest of shape. A seven minute long extended opening sequence is included here, it features not only different credits sequence but also some additional expository bits and pieces set in the police station. Also included for the first movie are the original U.S. and Hong Kong theatrical trailers.


    Extras for Police Story 2 follow suit, starting with two minutes of outtakes, three minutes of alternate outtakes, and U.S. and Hong Kong theatrical trailers. Menus and chapter selection options are offered for both movies on the disc.


    The Final Word:


    Well, the transfers could have been better and of course, fans always want to see more extras but the entertainment value provided by these two legitimately classic Jackie Chan movies definitely helps to compensate for those shortcomings. Is the glass half empty or half full? You can decide that for yourself but the fact of the matter is that until these movies are given new and improved transfers, this is the best way to enjoy them and the disc is available at a more than fair price. Not a perfect situation and room has certainly been left for improvement but man oh man are Police Story and Police Story 2 ever a Hell of a lot of fun.


    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!
































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