New Police Story Movie Review
Apparently Jackie Chan's popularity in the United States is waning. His latest Hong Kong import, one of his most brutal and action-packed films yet, has gone straight to DVD. Rarely do I review straight-to-video releases for the obvious reason: there's usually a reason why a movie skips the big screen. However, I'm a Jackie Chan fan and haven't seen a good one of his in quite some time - and "New Police Story" is certainly one of his best ever.
To get straight to the point, the movie has several glaring holes, logic gaps and outright cheesy moments. Had someone with some sense of reality gone over the script, most of these moments would have been caught and the originally-titled "New Police Story" could have been a lot better. But even with the cheesy moments, "New Police Story" is a non-stop thrill ride that is probably one of Chan's most serious flicks.
The plot is this: Chan plays Chief Inspector Wing, who responds to a violent bank robbery where dozens of police were gunned down in an almost intentional manner. He and his elite team enter the building where the gang of four kids are supposedly stationed, but they are outmatched by the traps and psychotic games of their targets. The gang is playing a game - points for dead cops - and will do anything to kill their enemy. Wing, the only survivor of his team, is absolutely devastated and, on the verge of alcoholic suicide, leaves the force with dishonor. But, one year later, the gang returns, and Wing sets out to destroy them once and for all.
"New Police Story" is rated R for good reason - it is violent, disturbing and, surprising for a Chan movie, rather f**ked up. The first major sequence where Chan and his squad are decimated one by one shocked me - one after the next fall to their deaths at the hands of the villains. The villains, while essentially rich young kids twisted by the culture around them, are scary, psychotic and perfect for the movie.
The action is also top notch. Jackie Chan is getting to the age where he can't do as elaborate of stunts as he once could, and I was worried that this one would be on par with his bland American movies. Thankfully, this film is full of well-done action, and while the stunts aren't necessarily as good as Chan's movies a decade or two earlier, they certainly are a step above what I expected.
So, "New Police Story" is exciting, action-packed and violent... what's the bad news?
The one downside to this movie is that there are some seriously cheesy parts. The movie takes itself way too seriously at times, especially given the ability of the actors. Chan does not play a depressed drunk very well - I couldn't figure out if he was trying to be funny or not, but I think not. In some of the more emotional scenes, the actors resort to clichés to exude their feelings. There are also some blatantly bad logic holes. For instance, in one scene a bomb has ten seconds to go before a whole building blows up. Chan manages to pick up about five of his dead friends, load them onto a cart, drop one of them, stop, get the body back onto the cart and push it out of the building before the ten seconds are up. I knew he was amazing, but that amazing?
"New Police Story" is a fun and gripping action movie that probably deserved a theatrical release in the United States, but some people might get turned off by the ultra-cheesiness that is scattered throughout the film. Had someone combed through the script to weed these out, "New Police Story" could have easily been one of the best action movies in recent years. Instead, we have to settle for it being one of the best "Jackie Chan" movies of recent years. Recommended.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.