January 25, 2014
I have watched many of Jackie Chan's films in the past. I am a fan of how he combines his awesome martial arts skills and stunt work with precise comedic timing. We see a different Jackie Chan in "Police Story 2013", he gets darkly serious here.
Sad to say, I have not seen any of the five other Police Story films of Chan before. Not even the first one, which Jackie himself considers his best in terms of the action. This Police Story is not really related to the other films, so it does not really matter if you have seen the others or not.
The film opens with a shocking scene of Jackie Chan actually pulling the trigger of a pistol to his temple. From there we will get pulled into a tale of Captain Zhong Wen, a man torn between his dedication to his duty as a policeman and his duty as a father.
Zhong's rebellious daughter May introduces him to her boyfriend, Wu Jiang, who runs a very popular avant-garde bar. What was supposed to have been a family meeting turned out to be an elaborately-planned and violent hostage-taking drama borne out of revenge for a tragic incident that happened five years ago.
Jackie Chan is much older now, but his action skills are not diminished. He gets to fight with a champion Thai mixed martial arts fighter in one very long and brutal one-on-one fight scene. Awesome fight scene. His dramatic acting skills are wrung out here as well because of the dilemmas and tough decisions his character had to face. There was no hint of comedy in this Jackie here. (We only see the old Jackie Chan smile and laugh in the outtakes over the final credits, always fun to stay in your seats for.)
His daughter May was played by pretty young actress Tian Jing, whom I just saw in Donnie Yen's "Special ID" just last week (MY REVIEW). Too bad she did not figure in a fight scene in this film. But she was much better here in terms of her acting because of her character's arc. (Tian actually looked a lot like Filipina actress Kim Chiu in this film.)
The villain is played by award-winning Chinese actor Liu Ye. He plays his disturbed and vengeful character with much depth, with so many intense confrontation scenes with Jackie.
The direction by Sheng Ding was a little sloppy, with a lot of off-focus shots left in the final print. The story-telling and the script were quite neat in terms of the details, considering this tale went back and forth from previous events interjecting into present scenes. There were some welcome moments of comedy but they were not from Jackie.
Overall, this is a very good action film held together by an excellent dramatic story, with just the right amount of comedy to keep things interesting. Jackie Chan is really still at the top of his game, even at this age (he turns 60 in April this year). He should not be retiring soon. We still expect a lot from this talented man. 8/10.