Police Story

Police Story ★★★★

For Hong Kong film fans, the story has passed into legend: in 1985 Jackie Chan was frustrated and disillusioned after his latest attempt to break into the US market and channeled his emotions into Police Story. While by no means the first contemporary Hong Kong action movie, the project was a critical and commercial hit that helped to prompt many more of its kind and - by extension - the whole golden age of Hong Kong action cinema.

For those less familiar with the former colony's unique action movies, there are few better entry points than Police Story. Its director/star, then in his prime, is today a household name; the plot and characters are accessible to anyone who has seen a few American cop movies; and there's a fairly gentle introduction to the mix of tones typical of Hong Kong film.

Compared with some of Chan's classics and with his more recent American outings, the action and comedy are more compartmentalised here - only really mixing in a few key scenes. But at his best, Jackie is mesmerising both as a gritty avenger and as a likeable fool, ably supported by stars like Maggie Cheung, Brigitte Lin and Fung Hak-On. For their part, the opening car chase and climactic shopping mall battle are among the crown jewels of Hong Kong action, and some of the best stuntwork ever captured on film.

It's somewhat dated and certainly imperfect, but Police Story fully deserves its classic status.