Jackie Chan’s a cool guy. In the 70s, he went from simple stuntman to the star of a huge load of cheap-o kung fu flicks à la “Fearless Hyena”. But it’s only in the early 80s that he really became a superstar in his native Asia, with his balance between all-out action and slapstick comedy. “Police Force” is part of that period. Chan’s flicks then became bigger and bigger, with films like the Indiana Jones-style “Operation Condor” or the James Bond-style “First Strike”. My favorite has gotta be “Drunken Master 2”, but the film that launched him in America is “Rumble in the Bronx”. It gave him the opportunity to star in a big Hollywood movie, the Chris Tucker vehicle “Rush Hour”. But let’s go back to “Police Story”.
You could see it as some kind of Hong Kong “Dirty Harry”, with Jackie Chan playing a brave cop who arrests some big drug overlord. But like any too good movie cop, he’s then assigned to a dead-end job protecting a witness, humiliated in court and framed for murder! And since that’s a Jackie Chan flick, that rather serious stuff is doubled with amusing comedy schtick involving the witness (Brigette Lin) and his girlfriend, the charming Maggie Cheung. But the real hoot is all the impressively choreographed action sequences, directed by Chan himself. The film opens with a shoot-out turned chase, ending with Chan fighting guys while hanging from a two-story bus! There are various other fun fights through the film, but none matches the finale, in which Chan is struggling against thugs through a shopping mall. Chan is jumping everywhere, breaking through windows and using whatever he finds as a weapon. So, this ain’t his best film, but you can’t deny that he’s an amazing performer, and the picture remains great entertainment.