Police Story ★★★

Starting to straddle the line between earlier, clunkier Jackie Chan films and his more refined 90s work, Police Story features a great opening and a great final action sequence that sandwiches boring exposition-laden plot and goofy comedy that doesn't work. Here, Chan is a cop trying to take down a syndicate. Some great stunts although not career-bests: the highlight is him sliding down a three-story pole wrapped in lights in the middle of shopping mall. Plenty of glass-smashing in the action sequences in this one and some painful-looking stunts involving thugs slamming into chairs, getting flung down escalators, and crashing through tables.

The plot though is all over the place and the characters typically one-dimensional. One simple narrative choice I couldn't figure out: why saddle him with a bland girlfriend when there's a more interesting female character he's paired with for much of the movie, who actually has an arc and easily could've become his love interest by the end?

I'm rewatching these out of order, but this first entry to the series seems to be the most well-regarded of the "original trilogy." I'm in the minority then, as I preferred Police Story 3: Supercop. The story had a bit more zest as he was paired with Michelle Yeoh, and although like this entry the action is definitely loaded into the last 20 minutes, those 20 minutes in Supercop topped anything here.