Police Story

Police Story ★★★★

Criterion Collection Spine #971
(Foreign language film/Super Cheesy English dub available)

(Adam & Justin's Letterboxd Movie Club)

An over the top hilarious action thrill ride and stunt spectacular from the master of charismatic martial arts himself, Jackie Chan.

"Don't be a cop if you want to live to 100 ... You want this line on the recruitment poster?"

I remember first being introduced to Jackie Chan's crazy fun and quick style of dance like martial arts action with his film 'First Strike' when I was a kid, and it is a shame I am just now checking out his amazing pre-Hollywood films. Police Story has the simple plot of a cop that takes down a crime boss, but his attorney pokes enough holes in the story to get him off. One of the bosses associates is a woman who has agreed to testify against him, and officer Chan has been assigned to protect her which leads to some great action and hijinks.

So I watched the very cheesy English dub version of this film which is clearly distracting at first by how the English voices don't sound at all like the characters on screen. But due to the overall comedic tone of the film this tacky dubbing was actually fun to watch, and Chan's charismatic expressions actually shined through these voices to make it even more amusing.

The stunts in this movie are bat shit crazy and totally awesome including:

- Vehicles plowing through this mountain side town, resulting in collapsed houses and explosions ... which is just bonkers to see

- The iconic scene of Chan hanging off a bus with an umbrella

- The police telephone gag was a nice segue before the climax

- Then climax at the shopping center takes it to another level with all the death-defying acrobatics Chan pulls off. Like leaping halfway down a flight of stairs to cut off a bad guy, and then sliding down that pole covered in lights was so dangerously awesome ... that of course they repeated the shot from each different angle

I would say there was not as much actual hand to hand combat in this compared to what I was expecting, but the focus instead being on the comedy and stunts more than made up for it. The comedy gets super cheesy when he is with the woman that he is protecting, and he is made out to look like a goofball when he takes her home and they run into his girlfriend. Seeing a guy pee his pants in fear during the opening took me off guard, but was a great tone setter for what we were in for.

Another element I really enjoyed was the intense heart-pounding score that helped drive the action scenes. It reminded me so much of music that I would hear during Saturday morning action cartoons and in video games growing up. So I am guessing that films like this helped inspire that musical trend.


While Police Story is all about wowing you with stunts and providing some laughs, Chan was also clever by looping in the theme of corruption in the criminal justice system. This comes from how hard it is to arrest the bad guys despite all the terrible things they are doing, since they have a great lawyer. And the ending is great with how officer Chan says screw this and wants to take the boss out himself, but has to be restrained from doing so.

I am so glad there are tons of early Jackie Chan movies for me to check out for the first time, and I am eager to get to the next one which will be 'Police Story 2'.

Thanks for reading!
Happy movie watching ... Cheers!

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