Friday, March 08, 2019

Jackie Chan in Police Story 2

This is a true sequel, with the same cast returning to play the same characters from the original film, but things would get much looser in future installments of the Police Story franchise. In New Police Story (#5), Jackie Chan plays Chan Kwok-ming and in Police Story: Lockdown he portrays Zhong Wen, who is a Mainland copper rather than a member of Hong Kong’s finest. Here he is still Chan Ka-kui of the most dedicated, but not necessarily smartest officers on the Royal HK force. A lot has changed since 1988, but the fight scenes will still fire up fans in Chan’s Police Story 2, which opens today in a spiffy 4K restoration at the NuArt in LA.

Chan is a dedicated cop, but his enthusiasm sometimes gets the best of him. That resulted in some spectacular property damage in the first film that temporarily has him busted down to traffic cop, even though he collared (and beat the heck out of) the bad guy, crime lord Chu Tao. Rather gallingly, Chu is granted early release on supposedly compassionate grounds. Not surprisingly, he frequently has his goons stalk our man Chan. He can generally handle them, but it will complicate his investigation into a gang of explosive extortionists. Their thuggish harassment of his girlfriend May will also tax their relationship beyond the breaking point.

Like Police Story Uno, the first sequel features some amazing fights. The playground jungle gym fight scene is absolutely vintage Jackie Chan, but the climatic beatdown (with fire-bombs) at the gang’s post-industrial hideout is a truly a dazzler. However, the second film also has much better straight police procedural material, including a nifty sequence in which Chan and the HKPD’s surveillance team shadow a suspect.

Chan is definitely Chan in PS2, as well as his character, Chan ka-kui. Arguably, the first three films in the Police Story franchise are probably most responsible for his international persona (along with Armour of God). He gives up his body for our entertainment, but he also gives as good as he takes in the classic action sequences. Yet, he also develops greater rapport with Maggie Cheung, who is so sweet and innocent as poor May. This time around, their chemistry together is genuinely endearing.

Of course, it still the spectacularly moves and unbelievable stunts that make Story 2 such an enduring fan favorite. At this point in his career, Chan would do anything to please—and the proof is in this film. Required viewing for any martial arts and HK action fan, Police Story 1 and 2 both open today (3/8) in LA, at the Landmark NuArt.