Police Story 2
HONG KONG LEGENDS
 
Starring:
Directed By:
Jackie Chan
Year:
1988
Run Time:
101 mins
Producer: Hong Kong Legends
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Languages:
CANTONESE 5.1 English 5.1
Subtitles:
English, Dutch
W/S Subtitles:
Yes
Ratio:
2.28:1 CROPPED and ZOOMED
Region:
2 & 4 PAL
Genre:
Action / Drama - 15 (UK)
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MOVIE
9/10

For many, Jackie Chan's 1988 sequel to the highly acclaimed Police Story came as a disappointment.
Whilst the plotting and characterisation was far in advance of its predecessor, Police Story 2 lacked the same all-out fight finale which many expected.

Demoted, following the events in the shopping mall in Police Story, Ka-Kui (Chan) is sent back onto the streets as a traffic cop.
May, Ka-Kui's long suffering girlfriend, is pleased at the outcome as she yearns for a more peaceful life for the couple. Gangster Chu Tu, however, has other ideas, having been released from prison on the grounds of diminished health.
The impulsiveness which cost Ka-Kui so dearly in the past raises its ugly head again as he reacts badly to an incident involving May. Ka-Kui is given yet another dressing-down at the hands of his superior, and decides enough is enough...so he quits.

Unfortunately, whilst Ka-Kui gives himself some time off, Chu Tu is still bent on revenge. Added to this is the emergence of a group of terrorists who'll stop at nothing to get what they want. Namely, HK$20 million from a wealthy company. True to form Ka-Kui becomes embroiled in the situation - but this time his brain must be engaged before his brawn.

Structurally, the plot is a million miles away from the first in the series. Jackie instead opts for a far more sombre tone which the storyline demands. Although moments of comedy are inserted, the overriding atmosphere is one far removed from many of Chan's self-directed efforts.
Whereas Police Story presented Ka-Kui as a skin and bones super-cop, Police Story 2 opts for a more mature approach. Many of the events in the film revolve around Ka-Kui's hot-headed temperament, and the results it produces.

Maggie Cheung is also given something resembling a leading role, as she constantly battles with her frustration with, and love for Chan.

Ask anyone what the most memorable scene in Police Story is and they'll probably answer "The shopping mall fight". Here, the answer would probably be "the playground fight".
It's a superb piece of action, directed with skill and imagination, but may not be enough to sway the feelings of disappointment for some fans. The quantity of martial arts action has been toned down in favour of more dramatic content, and whilst I welcomed this shift, many people, expecting the level of action from Police Story, will feel let down.

PICTURE
5/10

After the impressive presentation afforded to Ninja In The Dragon's Den, a film some 6 years older than this production, I was expecting much.
At first sight, things seem good, but it soon becomes apparent that this 2.35:1 movie is cropped and zoomed to 2.28:1. Whilst this seems insignificant, the cropping soon becomes all the more obvious as the film progresses. Fight sequences, in particular the playground battle, seem "tightly" framed, and characters at times disappear off screen.
Had the transfer been of a higher standard this cropping may not have been quite so disappointing, but due to a massive amount of grain, that chance goes out the window.

The drab nature of the print doesn't help matters, but the largely soft picture, and dark-grey black levels are the real soul-destroyers. The aforementioned grain plays havoc with the film's presentation and barely a scene goes by without the background shimmering and strobing.

* A far more in-depth explanation of the cropping is available Here thanks to the work of Cinedie. *

SOUND
7/10

Although dialogue is at times muffled, this 5.1 remix is a competent and well-mixed effort. Music is spread across the speakers smoothly, and the overall sound-steering is good.

SUBTITLES
7/10

An improvement on Police Story's poor subtitles, Police Story 2's translations are generally close to their origins.
As is almost expected now, a number of lines have been reworked but this is rarely as bad as in HKL's previous DVD. Strangely, certain swearwords are left unsubbed, whilst others are added to scenes, but by and large I was pleased with this aspect of the disc.

MENUS
6/10

The overall menu design is reasonable, but it doesn't quite live up to the high standard of discs gone by. HKL's worst Special Features menu makes it particularly difficult to see which option you are currently highlighting.

EXTRAS
5/10

Commentary
Giving Bey Logan a well deserved rest, and replacing him with HK film critic Miles Wood and actor/stuntmen Jude Poyer, produces mixed results.
At first, both men sound as though they're reading from a script, with little of the spontaneity which permeates Logan's commentaries. However, after a few minutes it becomes clear that Jude Poyer's somewhat stilted delivery is more a trait of his speaking style than evidence of him utilising a script.
I soon began to enjoy the new elements Poyer brought to the commentary, as he conveyed some of behind-the-scenes filming techniques used by Jackie in many of his movies.

Whilst the two critics inject the odd piece of humour, it's rarely funny. Miles Wood's dull and dreary tone does nothing to further his cause for a recall, and he adds little more than geographical information regarding Hong Kong.
Personally, I feel Logan's break from commentating was much needed, and in Jude Poyer, HKL have found s
omeone who makes an able stand-in.

Out-Takes Montage
Apart from being able to view the out-takes without the credits on screen, and in 2.35:1 so you can see how much has been cropped, there is nothing to recommend this pointless rehash of the film's out-takes.

Jackie Chan: King Of Action
Utilising previous HKL interviews with leading lights Sammo Hung, Ng See-Yuen and Ridley Tsui, this specially commissioned feature makes for interesting, if brief, entertainment.
The main subject, as you can guess, is Chan himself, with many actors and directors giving their thoughts and opinions on his pulling-power.
For those that have previous HKL DVDs, a large percentage of the material will be of no interest as the reused footage features prominently. However, overall this is a worthwhile little extra.

Benny Lai
This HKL interview with the film's deaf-mute villain is edited together with footage from the film, and of Lai on his rooftop, proving he can still bust-a-move.
The most frustrating aspect of this piece is that LAi is never questioned over the moment when he accidentally sliced open Maggie Cheung's scalp during the finale of the film, yet he is asked everything else - his character, his kicking and his career.
A real missed opportunity, but still a good interview.

Trailer Gallery
UK Promo Trailer
Original Theatrical Trailer (Cropped to 1.85:1 Anamorphic)

Additional Trailers
Ninja In The Dragon's Den • Mr.Vampire • Naked Killer • Police Assassins • Red Wolf • Hong Kong:1941 •
Once Upon A Time In China 3City HunterMiraclesIron Fisted Monk

CONCLUSION
6/10

I had hoped that HKL's previous aspect ratio problems had finally been resolved, but Police Story 2 shows that there is still much for them to do.
Added to this disappointing visual presentation are some very average extras, and I find it hard to recommend what would otherwise be a must-own movie.
A rental just about does this DVD justice, but this release will be detained at Her Majesty's pleasure for some time to come
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MOVIE 9/10
PICTURE
5/10
SOUND
7/10
SUBTITLES
7/10
EXTRAS
5/10
MENUS
6/10
PACKAGING
7/10
OVERALL 6/10