Police Story

Police Story ★★★★★

I have always admired Jackie Chan for his bone-crushing, gravity-defying and ultimately badass stunts, as well as for his unique way of combining martial arts and comedy in order to create his own personal fighting style away from the more serious tone of Bruce Lee.
His skills as both an action choreographer and stuntman are unparalleled, which is one of the main reasons why every time you watch one of his films you know that you are in for a treat in the action department.

Having said that, I expected this film to be a wild and crazy action ride (which, of course, it is) but a bit lacking in the rest of cinematic aspects.
I was so wrong.
What struck me the most about Police Story is how good Chan's directing truly is. The shots are so clear that you can perfectly appreciate all the action that is taking place. The camera moves only when it's absolutely necessary, nothing to do with the typical shaky camera from today's action films. Here there is nothing to hide. Jackie knows that and makes sure we get the best out of every fight and chase, using some techniques to achive it, like repeating some action bits from different angles or the inclusion of slow motion here and there in some of the craziest stunts to emphasize them.
But, for me the technical aspect that makes this film shine among others of the same genre is definetely its flawless continuity among takes achieved by a precise editing and an exemplar use of space that makes every scene flow so smoothly that you hardly notice any cuts or trasitions.

The action itself is, as expected, mesmerizing. Police Story is a great example of why Hong Kong action cinema from the 70-90's will never be surpassed. This is pure spectacle. And I don't mean the definition of cinematic spectacle that Hollywood has been trying to sell us for years, which is basically tons of CGI filling the screen. No, this is REAL death-defying spectacle! In every single stunt Jackie and his crew risk their lifes to make the most mind-blowing scene possible.
In the final credits, we get to see some "making of" material and I honestly feel a bit bad for these guys. They show some crew members bleeding, others with broken bones, Chan having trouble to breath as a result of a bad landing... These people are sheding blood, sweat and tears to entertain us!
That is a level of passion and dedication for a project unthinkable today, and it really pays off when you see the level of epicness reached in the final product.
Although the opening scene, featuring cars destroying a whole town while falling down a mountain, is reason enough to watch Police Story, the film is led by its constant tension and short action scenes to its big glass-breaking finale in a shopping mall, which is one of the greatest and most complex action-orgasms ever put on celluloid.

The film also has some light-hearted comedy moments that are really funny and quite Chaplinesque in some cases (like that hilarious telephone sequence). These scenes show why Jackie Chan is the king of action comedy and why it's always a joy to experience his charismatic acting, in this case accompanied by the gorgeous Maggie Cheung.

But probably the most badass thing about this film is the main theme composed and performed by Jackie Chan himself!

Police Story is essential action filmmaking.


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