Eye For Film >> Movies >> Police Story (1985) Film Review
Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode
Bad guys who control the city. A hero cop determined to stop them. A dangerous woman, thrilling car chases, heart-stopping stunts all performed for real and... repeatedly being hit in the face with cake? it's a Jackie Chan movie, all right. In fact, as far as many fans are concerned, it's the Jackie Chan movie, made with a much bigger budget than much of his work at a time when he still retained all his youthful skill and energy but was directing and choreographing his own work and was 100% focused on his lifelong mission to give the fans a good time.
Here, Chan plays the earnest and public-spirited Ka Kui, a young lieutenant returning to his department after receiving special forces training. Nobody's quite sure what he can do, but he's allowed to wear a tracksuit instead of the usual police uniform, which is much better suited to martial arts, and the first time they go out on a mission he captures the bad guys almost single-handed. The trouble is, there's a corrupt cop on the force, and after some dodgy legal shenanigans (a clear precursor of the famous 'Chewbacca is a wookiee' defence mooted in South Park) they get off scot free. Targeted for revenge, Ka Kui is framed for murder and has to go on the run to clear his name.
Although there are plenty of opportunities here to see Chan performing the martial arts magic with which he first made his name, the focus of the film is less on fighting and more on stunt work, including the now legendary sequence on which our hero chases down, climbs and break into a double decker bus with the aid of a borrowed umbrella. There's some truly stunning work on display and it's all delivered with a tremendous sense of fun. Particular credit should go to Maggie Cheung as Ka Kui's highly strung girlfriend May, who takes some hard knocks in letting herself get thrown around, using considerable skill to feign clumsiness and get away with only minor injuries.
It's a film aimed squarely at a family audience, so aside from the pivotal murder, which is neatly done and far from bloody, nobody gets seriously hurt onscreen (there were a few visits to hospital for the performers) and justice is ultimately done, even if Ka Kui does bend the rules a bit when he loses his temper. There's a fair bit of slapstick comedy, including a sequence in which our hero has to pretend to fight with a man who is already unconscious - and, of course, there's the aforementioned cake (watch the extended intro on the Chinese cut for an extra helping). Whilst adult viewers could find some of this irritating, it's so skilfully done that there's a lot of enjoy besides the humour itself - and despite the reduced tension in these scenes, the film never for a moment runs short of energy.
Constantly inventive and packed full of things you shouldn't try at home (if you value your home, never mind your body), Police Story is fun from start to finish. From a car chase so destructive that it gives The Blues Brothers a run for their money, to the ridiculously catchy theme tune sung by Chan himself, it's one cop adventure you won't soon forget.Reviewed on: 12 Sep 2018