Tuesday, June 14, 2016

New Police Story

Xin Jing Cha Gu Shi; action / crime, China / Hong Kong, 2004; D: Benny Chan, S: Jackie Chan, Nicholas Tse, Charlie Yeung, Daniel Wu

Hong Kong. Police inspector Chan Knowk-wing is summoned to capture a gang of five rich, spoiled youngsters who just robbed a bank. However, while entering a warehouse, they fall into their trap and nine of Chan's men are killed in a sadistic game, while the gang escapes. Devastate, Chan becomes an alcoholic, but is slowly corrected with the help of a lad, Frank, who claims he is his new police partner. Together, they investigate the gang of the youngsters. Finally, in a showdown, the youngsters are killed while Chan manages to capture the leader of the gang, Joe, who just wanted to take revenge because his father is an abusive police officer. Chan is engaged to Sun Ho Yee. Chan then remembers that 20 years ago he comforted a little kid whose father died while trying to steal him some food - the kid's name was Frank.

After an 8 year hiatus, the popular "Police Story" film series was continued with the 4th part, "New Police Story", which works almost as some reboot of sorts, in which newcomer Benny Chan took over the director's position. Unlike the previous instalments, this film offers Jackie Chan in a more serious edition, touching upon some darker, realistic themes (most noticeably, his character becomes an alcoholic after failing to cope with the depression of losing nine men in a police raid), yet that still does not mean that the famed martial arts actors doesn't have a few tricks up in his sleeve, demonstrated in the sporadic, but still exciting and virtuoso choreographed action sequences: already in the opening act, where one man keeps a woman as a hostage, holding a grenade in one hand, and a pistol in another, does Chan prove his sixth sense for ingenuity when his character grabs his trigger and grenade and thus blocks them, engaging in an exciting fight to completely disarm him. The storyline is a tad overlong and drags here and there; the main motivation for the teenage leader of the gang, namely that he just wanted to rebel because of his abusive father, a police officer, is shaky, whereas the ending is heavily melodramatic, yet these plot points are only there to trigger massive action sequences, anyway, and they are still impressive: the highlight is arguably when Chan tries to stop a bus out of control, which crashes through several stores and seems to have levelled half of town to the ground. Also, the 'twist ending' is surprisingly touching.


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