Sunday, April 19, 2009

Movie Review: Project A Part 2

A definite let-down compared to Part 1. This one takes the same setting as the first part - colonial Hong Kong, where the police and navy are rival justice organizations. The script also throws in an underground independence movement, Chinese government loyalists and the remnents of the pirate crew disbanded in the earlier film. The basic plot is that Jackie and a few trusted navy men are sent in undercover on the police force to get evidence on a corrupt inspector. However, we also get side trips into stolen jewels, a book containing the names of the rebel supporters, a conspiracy between the police and the rebels, a goofy group of pirates, and a few too many other threads for the movie's own good.

Things get off to a good start in a scene where Jackie and crew take down a gang (also on the inspector's payroll). Sadly, things then transition to a pair of interminable scenes, one where Ma is framed at a party for theft by the corrupt inspector and another where just about every character so far hide from each other in a house for reasons that, frankly, aren't entirely clear even just after watching it. There's lots of sneaking around, people handcuffed to each other, and the usual lame attempts at "comedy" that result in long set-ups for little results. It's quite a long time before we get around to the final big chase scene, such as it is. It's meant to be a big Jackie Chan stunt/fight showcase (it goes on for about twenty minutes) and while there's good individual moments (a fall down a bamboo scaffolding and a fight in a strange rotating drum stand out), it didn't really flow into anything that made much sense as a whole.

In the end, this one has to be counted as a disappointment. I'll give it three stars, because it is better than the two movies immediately preceding it in the Festival, but it's a middling three stars at best. Up next, we'll see if Jackie does better with another sequel - Police Story 2.

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