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Issue #143 HOME E-mail: mail@dighkmovies.com BACK ISSUES January 20th, 2003

Police Story
(1985; Golden Harvest/Golden Way Films/Paragon Films)

A Masterpiece
Highly Recommended
Very Good
Marginal Recommendation
Not Recommended
Definitely Not Recommended

Cantonese: Ging chaat goo si
Mandarin: Jing cha gu shi
English: Police Story

Winner of the Best Picture and Best Action Choreography prizes at the 5th. HK Film Awards, this terrific Jackie Chan police thriller is a rousing mix of humor and back-breaking stunts that ranks among the star's best works to date. In spite of a raid that goes awry and causes the destruction of a hillside squatter settlement, the HK police department is able to nab criminal boss Chu Tu (Chor Yuen). Officer Chan Kar-kui (Chan, who also directed) apprehended the target practically single-handed and, as a result, is ordered to protect Chu's secretary, Salina Fong (Brigitte Lin Ching-hsia; image), who is being forced to testify against him. Salina's presence sends Ka-kui's girlfriend, May (Maggie Cheung Man-yuk), into a huff but that is the least of Ka-kui's problems: Chu's lawyer (Lau Chi-wing) manages to get him out of jail and the criminal orders a cop on his pay roll to ice both Ka-kui and Salina. The pair manage to escape and Salina makes copies of Chu's computer files, leading to a decisive showdown between Ka-kui and Chu's men in a crowded shopping mall.

Aside from an overlong courtroom sequence (which has a weak comic payoff), POLICE STORY is a nonstop action thrill ride which wholly deserves that overused tag line. The stuntwork is exceptionally good (in particular, an incredibly painful looking bit where Fung Hark-on's henchman character goes bouncing down a moving escalator, and Chan's slide down a very long and very high pole that is covered with electric lights) and the climactic confrontation in the mall (which finds Chan fending off baseball bat wielding attackers) is fantastic, no matter how many times you view it. The supporting cast includes Bill Tung Biu, Lam Kwok-hung, Feng Sing, Kenneth Tong Chun-yip, Kam Hing-yin, Lau Chi-wing, Tai Po, and Michael Lai Siu-tin (who also composed the score).

Cover art courtesy Hong Kong Legends.

Jackie Chan and Maggie Cheung. Image courtesy Hong Kong Legends.
Hong Kong Legends/Medusa #MDV 588 (UK Label)

Dolby Digital 5.1

Cantonese and English Language Tracks (both post-synched)

Optional English and Dutch Subtitles

32 Chapters Illustrated in the Menu With (Tiny) Stills

Enhanced for 16:9 Displays

Letterboxed (2.45:1)

Coded for Region 2 Only

Macrovision Encoded

PAL Format

96 Minutes (at 25 frames-per-second)

Contains moderate violence

DVD menu courtesy Hong Kong Legends.

Australia: M
Finland: K-18
Germany: 18
Great Britain: 15
Netherlands: 12
Norway: 15
Nova Scotia: 14
Ontario: AA (Violence)
Singapore: PG
United States: PG-13

There is slightly less picture on the bottom of HKL's version than is visible on the (now deleted) Mega Star disc, which has a slightly squeezed image. Contrast quality, detail levels, and compression are much better on the HKL DVD, however. That, coupled with the company's dedication to cleaning up scratches and speckles, makes the British release far preferable (Deltamac just issued a new HK DVD version of the film but it is likely derived from the same master as Mega Star's release). Brief sequences display grain but this is a fault of the filmstock, lab work, and/or cinematography, not the video presentation. The 5.1 re-mix is okay but the original audio mix is very thin and barebones, so it cannot be enhanced to any great degree. The sound mostly remains front and center, with the rears rarely utilized.

This is one of the earlier Hong Kong Legends releases, so it does not boast quite as much supplementary material but still delivers a very satisfying package. Bey Logan's commentary is as thorough as ever, discussing the making of the picture, the dynamics of the stunts, Chan's history in the industry and strengths as a director, the other players, and just about everything else you can think of (there is absolutely no dead air). It is another terrific discussion, well worth listening to. Other supplements include the alternate ouchtakes from the Japanese laserdisc (too bad that HKL did not also put on that release's extended version of an early sequence showing a surprise birthday gag played on Feng Sing). There is a 36 minute animated biography for Chan and a 20 minute contemporary interview with the actor (which includes a brief trip to the mall used during the climax), plus a photo gallery. The original HK trailer and UK video promo spots are also included, along with spots for 14 other HKL titles.

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