Thursday, May 7, 2009

Movie Review:Police Story Part 2

And so we get to another Jackie Chan sequel (to the outstanding first film). Jackie reprises his role as Ka-Kui (or "Kevin" in the English version), a police officer who in the last film had resigned from the force after being framed for murder, going after the crime boss responsible for his predicament. At the start here, he's back on the force, but temporarily busted down to traffic patrol. He gets bumped back up to detective duty to help stop an extortion scheme by a group of bombers who blow up a shopping mall (yep - the second Police Story movie in a row to trash a mall). Meanwhile, the crime boss is back out on the street and harassing Ka-Kui and his girlfriend May. And, as usual, Jackie's character is also continuing to have problems with his love life.

In some ways, this sequel is an improvement on the original - in other ways, it isn't. The improvement here comes in the non-action scenes. Amazingly enough, for the most part this movie plays like a straight police procedural, without the usual action film cliches. The tracking down of the bombers is done with bugging, surveillance and interrogations, rather than stunt-filled set pieces. There's still humorous bits (a running gag where a bad guy gets his glasses repeatedly broken by Jackie among them), and for a change, they tend to not be wincingly bad. This isn't by any stretch a super-serious, super-accurate police drama, but compared to a lot of action films (and especially a lot of Jackie Chan films), this one is played more seriously than most.

But don't fear - the usual over-the-top stunt and fightwork does show up again in time for the ending fight. You know you're back in Jackie Chan mode when the final big battle is set in a fireworks factory. The ending sequence has Jackie tortured with fireworks, escaping from a bomb vest, rescuing his kidnapped girlfriend, beating up the bombing crew and escaping from the fireworks factory moments before it explodes. Classic stuff, but it doesn't quite hold up to the glass-shattering climax of the first film, and that's where this one ends up slightly behind its older brother.

This one also gets a strong four stars from me. Up next, a Jackie Chan film I haven't seen before! Jackie tries out colonial-era gangster flick with Miracles aka Black Dragon.

No comments: