up with a plot synopsis for Jackie Chan's
1985 cop-socky classic is pretty much a waste of time. Partly because
there's very little plot to speak of, but also because if you're
a Jackie fan, you'll have already seen/bought this.
The plot - cop catches drug dealers, drug dealers are released and
want revenge, cop recaptures drug dealers - is hardly state of the
art, but Chan's energy and inventiveness is what grabs, and keeps,
your attention throughout.
Opening with a superb downhill car slalom, and ending with a stunning
shopping-mall battle, Police Story
still holds up perfectly to repeated viewing.
Although the film sags slightly in the middle, with comedy routines
taking centre stage, the movie culminates with some of Jackie's
best stunt and fight choreography.
The film's saddest aspect is the plight of its female stars.
Maggie Cheung and Brigitte
Lin are both quite exceptional actresses, but as is all too
frequent in Jackie's self-directed efforts, their characters are
always on the periphery of things.
Maggie Cheung cries and whines, whilst
Brigitte is thrown through plate glass. Hhhmmm, not exactly empowering
roles for the ladies...
Although Chan finally put paid to these thankless female roles with
the introduction of Michelle Yeoh
in Police Story 3, it is still the series greatest weakness. And
that it is Maggie Cheung whose talent
is given no chance to shine, should be a crime worthy of the prison
Despite that criticism, it's Jackie's raw energy which really drives
the film on.
For pure Hong Kong entertainment, few films have managed to recapture
the hugely satisfying feeling produced as the end credits roll,
and your adrenaline is left surging through your veins.
perfectly understand the situation with Hong Kong cinema and its
almost non-existent preservation of film stock, but I'm going to
be reviewing this disc "as is".
Whilst detail levels are superb - far superior to any other version
currently available - and the film's colour reproduction is very
well handled, there are a number of distracting elements to this
Aside from yet another poorly placed layer-change, the large amount
of grain exhibited throughout is particularly annoying, as are some
sparkles and marks which appear on the print.
Due to this grain, the image's black and background elements are
almost constantly "shimmering", and above all else, this
effect is the most distracting.
Also, the image seems to be slightly vertically "squashed",
leaving everyone looking somewhat stocky. After measuring the aspect
ratio, it appears to be around 2.48:1, rather than what it should
be - 2.35:1 - and I've no idea why this should be the case.
As I mentioned above, I'm reviewing this transfer as I find it,
and this is reflected in its score.
I admit that this is certainly the sharpest and most detailed representation
you'll have seen to date, but it's far from definitive.
Media Asia's slightly re-scored and totally botched 5.1 remix, and
attempting to re-remix it was either brave or stupid of HKL. Personally,
I'd go for the former, as they provide a competent soundtrack which
has few negative aspects.
Although the opening scenes of the film sound very muffled and lack
clarity, the remainder of the Chinese soundtrack is well above average.
Music is mostly represented through the front and rear surrounds,
and although it can at times be rather overpowering, that makes
for a largely successful Dolby Digital soundtrack.
most part, the subtitles are excellent, with accurate and well written
translations of the film's dialogue. However, on a number of occasions
its translations are completely alien to what has been spoken on
For instance, on the rooftop, after Ka-Kui has helped Salina escape,
Danny says to Ka-Kui: "Kid, you're good...". In the HKL
subs, this is translated as "you little prick. We'll teach
There is also another utterly ridiculous moment during the courtroom
scene where Chan answers "No" and the subs say "Yes"!
I've no idea who was responsible for decisions to change the dialogue
like that, but whoever it was should be fired.
The number of times this problem has arisen in HKL subtitles means
that someone is either consciously making decisions to change the
translations used, or someone isn't capable of translating the dialogue
correctly. Either way, I think it's about time changes were made...
possibly the worst cover art HKL have produced so far...The dreadful
picture of Chan, which adorns the front cover, makes it look like
one of Eastern Heroes repackaged Jackie
Chan DVD's...and that's NOT a compliment.
The reverse is somewhat better, but isn't particularly eye-catching.
A lot has been made about the Japanese Laserdisc's alternate opening,
closing and out-take sequences, and although HKL were unable to
secure the rights to the alternative opening sequences, they provide
alternative ending and credits.
This is oddly presented, with the letter-boxed, non-Anamorphic image
shifted to the top of the screen, much like some of 'Made In Hong
Kong's VHS presentations.
We're also treated to the massive Japanese, non-removable subtitles.
However, this is the sort of "extra" which Hong Kong DVD's
are crying out for, and as such it's a great addition.
a departure from the much maligned 'scrolling text and voice-over'
format used in previous discs, HKL go for a 'spoken word and video-clip'
Whilst the voice-over is as awful as ever, turning the sound off
so you can watch the clips from Jackie's movies is a good trade-off.
Action scenes from Police Story 1,
2 & 3, Project A, Drunken Master,
Snake In The Eagle's Shadow, Armour Of God, City Hunter, Battle
Creek Brawl, Miracles, Island Of Fire are shown over the 30 minute
biography, and I took great pleasure in muting the sound and watching
The (for once superior) HKL Police Story
trailer is provided along with the original theatrical trailer,
as are HKL trailers for Miracles, Battle Creek Brawl, Armour Of
God and City Hunter
Finally!! A photo gallery worth looking at. 32 images, which feature
behind-the-scenes shots, lobby cards and photos.
A 20 minute chat, in which Jackie recalls his time working on Police
Apart from revealing his script-writing procedure, Chan also revisits
the shopping centre used in the films, and describes his feelings
about the now famous 'pole-slide'
This is a very welcome addition to the disc and really shows a side
to Chan which is rarely touched upon - he's no superhuman, just
very brave and slightly mad!!
So, the burning question is......can Bey Logan put together another
great commentary? Unfortunately....he can!!
Quite how Logan manages to keep recalling all the facts and anecdotes
that he does is anyone's guess, but once again his commentary overshadows
all of the other extras, due to its quality.
The Big Boss Fist Of Fury Way Of The Dragon
Game Of Death Once Upon A Time In
In The Line Of Duty Iron Monkey
Purple Storm Iron
Fisted Monk 2000AD
buy or not to buy, that is the question.....
Ok, this could look better. And ok, it could sound better. And ok,
it could be translated better. But apart from that, it's perfect...
In all honesty, you'd be hard pressed to find anything which comes
close to this HKL presentation of Police
Story, and to pass it up in order to wait for a better release
would be silly.
But just don't go expecting this to be the definitive DVD you were