Police Story (1985) — Jackie Chan’s finest hours

“I got my mask back! Now you die!”

Justin’s rating: All the glass was harmed in the making of this film

Justin’s review: Weird admission to make, but I never actively seek out Jackie Chan movies to watch. It’s not that I hate them, I just don’t think about them very much. But if anyone — or a list of “must review” films — plops a Chan flick in front of me, I really don’t mind. I know I’ll be in for some good stuff before long. That hyperactive Hong Kong stunt actor knows how to entertain.

This is why I wanted to make sure that at some point — at THIS point — we got Police Story up on Mutant Reviewers. Because in many people’s eyes, this is the most defining film of Chan’s career in which he both acts and directs.

Like many of his other movies, Police Story isn’t going to exactly wow you with a complex plot. It’s pretty much about a police detective (Chan) who’s trying to take down a slippery drug lord while dealing with a somewhat ornery key witness at the same time. But who needs story when you can have a whole bunch of over-the-top action scenes, creative martial arts, and goofy comedy?

There’s no one who ever mastered kung fu and frantic komedy like Jackie Chan. It’s his secret sauce, as both require a whole lot of energy and physicality. Marrying his talents to a cop role ended up being a masterstroke, prompting tons of sequels. And since his character always seems like he’s three seconds from losing any given fight, there’s a delightful tension that arrests the attention.

The actual creation of Police Story is absolutely legendary. A whole bunch of dangerous and insane stunts were done in the cause of this runtime, including Chan’s iconic pole slide down a mall interior. And like Chan films before and since, at least one of these stunts sent him to the hospital. It all paid off, though, netting Chan a best picture award in the country and getting him noticed by western studios.

I just wish that there was a better balance to this movie. Police Story shines when it’s cranking out the wild action — especially in the final mall sequence — but it is rather dull when it treads the waters of drama and comedy. I could easily edit this down to a tight 30 minutes of non-stop martials arts and stunts without really losing much in the process, which tells you how much Chan didn’t see the rest as detritus clogging up the works.

But trust me on this: You need to see those 30 minutes at least once in your life.

Didja notice?

  • His bodyguard is known as “Crazy Wing?”
  • If you see a mirror, fire on sight!
  • Dude just peed his pants
  • The cars absolutely demolishing an entire neighborhood by driving through scores of homes
  • Chan “running” on the cars as he dangles from the buss
  • Bonus pay of 30 bucks a day!
  • Jackie outside your second-story bathroom window is never scary
  • That is one very dorky mask
  • This soundtrack is way too kiddie
  • How many pies to the face is he going to get?
  • His cactus is his “pride and joy?”
  • Glad to see the court got the big speakers
  • “You watch Fame? Well, that’s what you’re gonna get.”
  • Don’t think you should be playing goofy music over a rape report…
  • This is why you should never ride motorcycles inside of malls
  • We get to see Jackie slide down the pole THREE TIMES because it’s so awesome
  • Jackie getting to beat up both the lawyers AND the bad guys after the arrest. Ha ha police brutality.

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