With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

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

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

POLICE STORY: LOCKDOWN is available today from Well Go USA

Well Go USA Entertainment
Police Story: Lockdown / Jing cha gu shi 2013
Written and directed by Ding Shen
China/Hong Kong, 2013, 107 minutes

Police Story: Lockdown (a.k.a. by its world wide English title Police Story 2013) is the sixth and latest film in the franchise that began with the original Police Story in 1985. It's available today, Tuesday, August 11th on Blu-ray and DVD from Well Go USA Entertainment. (I watched the Blu-ray version.)

Captain Zhong (Jackie Chan) in one of the relatively few scenes not set in the Wu Bar

This time around Jackie is no longer a member of the Hong Kong police force. Instead, in a sign of the times, as well as the primacy of the mainland China market, he portrays a Beijing police captain named Zhong Wen. A widower, Zhong is an ultra-upright law enforcement officer who has put his professional duties ahead of his families needs. Consequently his daughter Miao Miao (actress Jing Tian) is estranged from him. Partially to spite her father, she's become involved with Wu Jiang (Liu Ye), the owner of the Wu Bar. This establishment -- in which the bulk of the film takes place -- is only partially remodeled from its earlier incarnation as a factory, leaving lots of exposed pipes and walkways.

Miao Miao (actress Jing Tian)

When Zhong goes to meet his daughter at the bar, things take an unexpected turn when he, Miao Miao, and a number of other patrons are taken prisoner. Their kidnapper (whose identity I won't give away) initially asks for a huge ransom, but then changes his demand. Zhong is place in the position of being the only one who can protect those being held.

Wu Jiang (Liu Ye)

The reason for the kidnapping turns out to be related to an incident that took place several years previously. The film gets very talkie in explaining this. There's also a somewhat complicated back-story about Wu and two members of his family.

There are a few action sequences, mainly of the fighting variety. These include Jackie in a cage fight and some Muay Thai matches that don't involve him.  Gone, however, are the kind of stunts and the employment of props that marked the first Police Story films, as well as most of Jackie's other movies, even including the recent Chinese Zodiac (2012). While I love and respect Jackie's numerous contributions, the fact is he's getting too old to carry this type of film on his own. Here, he looks tired and beat in ways beyond what the script calls for in terms of what happens to his character.

Miao Miao, without her red wig, and Zhong

For my money the Police Story franchise has gone downhill since Police Story 3: Supercop in which Michelle Yeoh came out of a five year retirement to give Jackie a run for his money stunt- and action-wise. Police Story: Lockdown does nothing to reverse that trend. Should there be any future installments, I expect they will only serve to further sully the image of a once-great series.

AsianCineFest Rating: 2.5 out of 4 stars; a bit better than fair, but not close to being really good.


Audio Options:
-- Mandarin DTS HDMA or 2.0 Stereo
-- English DTS HDMA or 2.0 Stereo

-- English / Off

Bonus Features
-- Interviews:
  -- Director Ding Sheng
  -- Jackie Chan (Zhong Wen
  -- Actor Liu Ye (Wu Jiang)
  -- Actress Jing Tian (Miao Miao)
-- Behind the Scenes featurette
-- Police Story: Lockdown Trailer

Note: The press materials provided by Well Go USA refer to Police Story: Lockdown as "the fifth installment of the action-packed franchise." However, it's really the sixth. The series so far consists of:

- Police Story (1985)
- Police Story 2 (1988)
- Police Story 3: Supercop (1992)
- Police Story 4: First Strike (a.k.a. Jackie Chan's First Strike, 1996)
- New Police Story (2004)
- Police Story: Lockdown (2013, a.k.a. Police Story 2013)]

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