Runstedler’s DVD Pick of the Month: Police Story (1985)

This is arguably Jackie Chan’s best action movie, and certainly one of the best action movies of all time. I think what really propels this one among Chan’s other films is its sheer audacity: consider the opening sequence, where Chan drives a car down a hill and through a shanty town, or where he’s on the bus and jams on the brakes, sending the baddies flying through the windows and landing on the pavement (the stuntmen were supposed to land on the hood of the car in front of the bus – whoops). Needless to say, I doubt very many of these performers would work with Chan again (I can’t begin to wonder how many injuries some of them must have suffered).

Police Story came about after the disappointing results of The Protector, which failed to catapult him into American fame (it would take a few years for that to happen), and while it didn’t cement his status in the Western world as a super action hero, it was huge in Asia, launching several sequels and spin-offs. The story is flimsy but fun: Chan plays a police inspector (doesn’t he always?) investigating a crime lord. Part of his assignment includes protecting a secretary and exposing the crime lord’s illegal activities. The story doesn’t really matter much here: we’re here for the action. Like his other films, this one also includes his usual slapstick humour, which I’ve never really cared for, but I suppose it’s his trademark (Crime Story is one rarity that features a very serious Chan and none of the silly humour, but it’s strangely a bit dull).

That being said, the stunts and action sequences really deliver here, culminating in an epic battle in a shopping mall. I think my favourite scenes are the opening ones, including a downhill car chase through a shanty town and a double decker bus chase. While the slapstick comedy sets the film back a bit and could be nipped at the bud, the action more than makes up for everything. Police Story is great ’80s entertainment and classic Chan and right up there with Drunken Master. Check it out!

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