Other than Jackie Chan playing his usual underdog cop character - here a intrepid coastguard intent on bringing a band of pirates to justice - and the inevitable spectacular action and stunt sequences, Project A is a different proposition to the star's recent Hollywood vehicles.

Coming predominantly from within the Hong Kong tradition and made for the domestic audience, it's not as immediately accessible as a Shanghai Noon, or Rush Hour. Nor can it get easy laughs out of culture clash skits.

Those who only know films like these may find the often zoom-happy direction, a smorgasbord of period signifiers, awkward dubbing and frankly cheesy scoring detract from their appreciation of the film.

But the cognoscenti - the sort of person who can recognise that Chan and his co-star Sammo Hung are doing a skit from their Peking Opera days - will appreciate Project A all the more for the these very features, the chance to see Jackie and his team at the peak of their powers and the absence of a Chris Tucker or Owen Wilson.

This said, Chan knows that audiences, whether Hong Kong or Hollywood, go to see his films first and foremost for the spectacular stunts and action sequences, and Project A does not disappoint in this regard.

The fights, from an early brawl between the coastguard and the police to the climactic sequence that sees Chan, Hung and Yuen Biao face off against pirate leader Dick Wei, are well choreographed, performed and staged, while the stunts, including an acrobatic bicycle chase and the death-defying clock tower routine inspired by Harold Lloyd's Safety Last, would surely merit inclusion in a Jackie's Greatest Hits compilation.

Project A is a film which plays to its strengths, delivers what is expected and will not disappoint fans of its star or his genre.

Reviewed on: 18 Jul 2002
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Director: Jackie Chan

Writer: Jackie Chan, Edward Tang

Starring: Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung, Yuen Biao, Dick Wei, Mars, Winnie Wong, Hoi-Shan Kwan

Year: 1983

Runtime: 100 minutes

BBFC: 12 - Age Restricted

Country: Hong Kong

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