With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013
With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

Saturday, January 10, 2009

ACF 201: Police Story 2

Police Story 2 / Ging chaat goo si juk jaap
Directed by and starring Jackie Chan
Hong Kong, 1988, 122 min

With the release of Supercop on DVD only three days away, it's time to look at the second film in Jackie Chan's Police Story series.

Shooting this sequel to the original Police Story (see ACF 200) began quickly after the original became a big hit. The shot ran long and producer Leonard Ho reportedly urged Jackie to wrap things up quickly. (Both of these facts come from extras on the Dragon Dynasty disc.) This haste produced what to me is a somewhat less satisfying film than Police Story, but still a very fine film.

Jackie is back as police officer Chan Ka Kui, Maggie Cheung returns as his girlfriend May, and Yuen Chor reprises his role as Mr. Chu, the crime boss Jackie apprehended in the original. Several other key cast members are also back, as are the members of Jackie's stunt team, natch.

This time around Chor has been released because he has a fatal medical condition. His henchmen keep trailing and harassing May. Meanwhile, a group of bombers is extorting some wealthy building owners. Jackie, who's been demoted to traffic cop, is brought back to capture the extortionists. He also has to protect May. This is no small matter because she gets kidnapped. But the question is by whom?

For me the problems with Police Story 2 start with the beginning of the film, which is a montage of the great stunt scenes from the original. This would be o.k. if a really fine set-piece came up soon afterwards, but we have to wait quite awhile - too long in my opinion - for some real, new action. There are two terrific fight scenes in the middle of the film, one at a restaurant, the other a truly outstanding one at night at a children's playground.

The finale takes place at a five-story abandoned factory warehouse. But unlike the end of Police Story, where Jackie takes on numerous bad guys and performs an incredible stunt, here he only fights three guys, and the ending - while explosive - isn't a Jackie stunt at all.

The U.S. release from Dragon Dynasty is another single disc edition, like the original Police Story. Again, Brett Ratner and Bey Logan do the feature commentary and comment separately in a featurette celebrating the sequel.

Besides outtakes and trailers, the other extras include another look at Jackie's stunt team and a very nice location guide hosted by Logan. In it he revisits many of the places where the film was shot. Always informative, here he's also pretty charming. It's nice to see him as something other than a "talking head."

I rate Police Story 2 at 3 out of 4 stars, a good, solid entertainment.

As was the case with the Police Story DVD extras, those for Police Story 2 easily merit 3.5 out of 4 stars, superior offerings.

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