Saturday, February 23, 2019
Jackie Watch: Police Story (1985) and Police Story 2 (1988)
Format: Austin Film Society
Viewing: second/ first
Thanks to some good pals my first year of college, I started watching Jackie Chan movies. Unfortunately, lo these many years later, because I watched many of them in the space of one academic year, I have no idea which is which, what I have seen and what I haven't. The conversation usually went more like "There's a Jackie Chan movie playing at The Hogg Auditorium. We're going after dinner." "Okay."
It turned out I had seen Police Story, but not Police Story 2 - but I have, in the past, seen Police Story 3: Supercop. Which was not part of the double-bill at the Austin Film Society that SimonUK and I attended.
But, yeah, like all of you, when I first saw his movies, I loved everything about Jackie - his sense of humor, his incredible stunts, his loyalty to his stunt team, the fact he wrote, directed and starred in his movies, and that he even sang his own theme songs. And, yeah, you can see the influence of the comedy greats in Jackie - if you love Buster Keaton or Chaplain, you should like Jackie's movies.
If the movies have a weakness, imho, it's that they often can't quite settle on tone. That said, by the end of Police Story, the shift from goofy antics and wacky set-pieces to wanting to see the bad guys get punched just real, real hard is more than earned.
Chan's energy is just different from anyone else in cinema. He's got the finesse of Bruce Lee, but - instead of Lee's eye of the storm focused energy, ready to unleash, he sort of is the storm.
Maggie Cheung plays May in both films, Jackie's long-suffering girlfriend, and she has some terrific comedic bits and really takes some hits for the team doing her own stunts.
The plot is some boiler-plate 1980's cop-movie stuff, and that's okay. It's all a skeleton upon which to hang cool action scenes and showcase the work of Jackie and his crew.
I dunno. I really like Police Story, maybe the second one a bit less, but they're both hugely watchable movies. I just found Police Story 3: Supercop on Amazon, so I'm going to watch it ASAP. It has Michelle Yeoh, so... you know...