Action and martial arts movie fans have been spoiled once again as Jackie Chan‘s classic Police Story and Police Story 2 drops on UK Blu-ray for the first time, presented from awesome new 4K restorations…
Jackie Chan is one-in-a-million and second-to-none for his totally unique, stunt-fuelled brand of action-comedy, with an immense and almost immeasurable body of work. Following his varied but flourishing kung fu output of the 1970’s, finding his feet and voice, his work arguably reached another benchmark during the 1980’s with much-loved titles like Wheels on Meals, Project A and many more in the years that followed (see Armour of God and Dragons Forever). In this period, he was coming into his own as a filmmaker and directing some truly impressive work which also showcased him at his best, which few other filmmakers could do in the same way.
The Police Story films are as ‘cut and dried’ from the elite Jackie Chan mould as you can possibly get, with full control and ownership over the production, casting, stunts and every aspect of the movie, his is a case where overarching power and attention to detail pays off big time, as the proof is simply in the pudding (see any US work when he is employed purely as an actor).
Most fans will know these storylines well, so we won’t linger too much. The original film from 1985 stars Chan as “super cop” Chan Ka-Kui who faces a notorious crime lord and must protect a witness for the prosecution in a series of escalating action set-pieces. In the second film from 1988, now demoted to a traffic cop after the events of the first entry, Chan is reinstated to the detective unit when a deadly gang of explosive experts blow up a building and threaten more mayhem if their demands are not met, leaving Chan to solve the case and bring down the group.
Both films are much-loved classics, both as career defining Jackie Chan movies and some of the best action cinema ever captured on film. They show Jackie and his co-stars at their best through simple but highly enjoyable cop vs criminal stories, interspersed with gritty police drama, classic JC physical comedy and exhilarating action and stunts. Collaborating with his close-knit stunt team, working to an almost unspoken language of film, they created some of the most memorable (and death defying) stunts of Chan’s career, and you’ll still find yourself wincing in pain now. Personal highlights include the shanty town car chase and shopping mall fight of the first film, and the park fight and factory finale of the sequel, yet these are only highlights, and there are several more insane set pieces.
As a footnote, the first two films were enormous hits and were followed by Police Story 3: Supercop and, later, the loose follow-ups and spin-offs of First Strike, New Police Story and Police Story: Lockdown (plus Michelle Yeoh’s Supercop 2, if you want to count that), all of which hold ground on their own merits, but the first two are undoubtedly the strongest on all fronts.
These are genuine, classic pieces of cinema that just so happen to be branded as ‘action’ or ‘martial arts’, but far from being confined to those labels. In fact, what we have are original, inventive, inspiring and entertaining pieces of cinema – films that everyone should see, and certainly revisit. This is easily done and look better than ever thanks to these new, sharp and incredibly cinematic 4K transfers.
Within the Limited Edition box set, extras include:
-1080p presentations sourced from immaculate 4K restorations inc. Police Story 2 in its full 2 hour version for the first time ever in the UK
-Original (mono) and restored (5.1) audio tracks
-Alternate cuts of both films for completists, including Home Video and Japanese versions
-Deleted and extended scenes and outtakes
-Jackie Chan episode from Jonathan Ross’ Son of the Incredibly Strange Film Show
-Archival Interview with Jackie Chan
-Interview with Benny Lai
-Jackie Chan stunts promotional trailer
-Collectors booklets for each film, featuring new essays and archival content
For a fresh insight into these landmark, award-winning Hong Kong action movies and why, in the eyes of many fans, they have never been topped, this is a compulsory education.
Considering Chan’s famously relentless workhorse ethic, the fact that these films remain some of his proudest work says a great deal about the blood, sweat, tears (and broken bones) it took to realise an ambitious vision and earn a prized place in cinema history.
Police Story 1 and 2 Box Set is out now from Eureka Entertainment