Police Story


This was a real break through film for Jackie Chan that was to launch him into the stratosphere in terms of popularity throughout Asia and the beginning of his popularity in the West. It was really Jackie’s first solo foray into modern action films. He had been in Winners and Sinners and Wheels on Meals, but those had been collaborations with Sammo and others. This was Jackie’s film from start to finish as both director and actor and it is an absolute classic. It is one of the most perfectly paced action/comedy films ever that takes the viewer along on a ride that feels like it is over far too quickly. It contains two of the most brilliant extended action scenes in film, but also has time for a sampling of comedy. For the most part though Jackie's character is very serious and in no way clownish as in some of his other films.
The first action set piece almost begins the film as Jackie and his brother cops stake out the drug lord Koo at a shantytown that is built running down a hillside. Koo discovers the cops presence and a wild and unbelievable chase is on. It begins with cars racing down the hill and right through the houses – an amazing sequence – and then has Jackie on foot chasing down a moving bus and hanging on to it with dear life by an umbrella handle as it speeds around curves. It ends dramatically as the bus comes to a sudden stop and a few of the gang are thrown out the front windshield and land on the road. Apparently, that wasn’t the plan and a few people were badly injured. This entire sequence takes perhaps 15 minutes and one can only gasp at the audacity of the stunts that take place.
There is not enough proof to convict Koo and Jackie tries to get the legendary Brigitte Lin, who plays the girlfriend of Koo, to turn evidence against him.
This leads to some very funny moments with Jackie’s girlfriend, Maggie Cheung. This was an early role for Maggie and she doesn’t do much except pout and look lovely, but it was enough to make her a star.

As the film moves on Jackie is framed for murder and he is on his own with both the cops and the bad guys trying to nail him. Things get very bleak and desperate for Jackie, but finally with the assistance of Maggie and Brigitte he corners Koo and his gang in a shopping mall. This leads to one of my very favorite action set pieces ever. It is truly a stunning tour de force from Jackie as he races about the mall fending off his attackers and trying to capture the bad guy. Not only is the stunt work from Jackie unbelievable, but that goes for his stunt team as well. Even Brigitte and Maggie take a few tumbles.

Jumping onto escalators, from floor to floor, some brilliant breathless fights all over the mall, incredible amount of glass broken and finally the long slide down the light pole that was filmed from multiple angles as Jackie crashes through one light after another.
Finally at the end – bloody and exhausted – Jackie stands in fury  - with Maggie and Brigitte nearby – and in a moment of complete catharsis  knocks down Koo. You want to get up and applaud.  This is simply a classic film that has of course led to three sequels.
New Line has released a pristine clean P&S version on tape at a budget price and even though dubbed it is still a pleasure to watch. I think a few minor cuts were made - primarily the comic telephone routine - but nothing germane to the story.

My rating for this film: 9.0


The Differences between the Hong Kong and the U.S. Versions
By Lord Wah

There is a disclaimer at the beginning of this film that says it has been modified from its orginal version.  But it seems there has been more done than just modifying.

In addition to a new musical score and being dubbed in English, there were numerous cuts made to the film as well.  Some of the scenes cut were important to the story, and there’s some that weren’t. Here are the cut scenes.

First, the shantytown stake-out scene.  After the part where Jackie (known here as Chan Ka-Kui) tells a fellow officer that he has a suspect locked in his car, there is an entire scene cut where Jackie tries to calm down an officer named Tom (must be a new guy on his first job).  The guy goes crazy shooting at mirrors and firing aimlessly around corners, but really loses his cool when he sees a cop shot and wounded before his very eyes. After telling Tom to protect the wounded policeman, Jackie goes off to chase the bad guys.  Later the scene returns to the nervous guy, and he ends up having to kill to protect the other cop and then wets his pants in his anxiety.

Later in the movie there is a scene after the press conference.  It shows Jackie being put through a photo shoot in various heroic poses for publicity.  This also shows where that famous shot of him on the motorcycle comes from.  This is a funny scene that should have been left in.

In the scene where the Mars’ character attacks Selena, there are a few things cut. Such as Mars’ mask falling over his eyes and stuff like banging his head on the ceiling lights when he jumps on the table.  One thing I noticed in this scene is that in the dubbed version, Jackie talks fairly loudly when he tells his buddy Mars to do things to make the fight look good.  But in the original version, he talks more softly so that Selena won’t hear that it’s a setup.  Makes more sense in my opinion.

Later, while Jackie races to get to the court hearing that he is already late for, there’s a small scene that shows Mars being questioned in court, his head bandaged from playing burglar the night before.

After the hearing when Koo is sitting in his office, he was watching a clip of Jackie on a T.V. talk show called “Police Stories”(!) before Chow and Danny come into the scene.

Next was a scene just before Jackie picks up the phone at the police station to talk to his informant.  Another cop left a second before, saying that he was going to the bathroom and that Jackie has to answer the phones.  Jackie replies, “Don’t break the John!” after seeing the large stack of newspapers the guy was carrying.

Then the phone juggling scene (probably the funniest part in the whole movie!) takes place. It’s worth buying the HK version just for this scene alone, as Jackie tries to keep track of numerous telephones and many emergency calls.  The performance is topped off with Jackie trying to eat noodles with a pair of pencils, than accidentally swallowing the erasers!

One more cut was made. The scene when Jackie grabs superintendent Raymond and puts the gun to his head, Jackie throws Raymond to the floor and gives a speech about the inhumane way police are being treated.

From here on the movie is pretty much the same as in the dubbed version, including the outtakes.

Get the best.  Buy the uncut version.