For this entry on the 101 Action Movies, Jackie Chan directs, stars, and choreographs in a no holds barred, knock-down stunt-filled flick.
With an opening sequence that Bay stole for Bad Boys II, which sees a trio of vehicles busting their way through a shanty town, Chan keeps the action and the humor coming full throttle.
Chan stars as Chan Ka Kui, an honest cop trying to bring down Chu Tao (Yuen Chor). He’s assigned to protect a female witness Selina (Brigette Lin) so she can testify against Chu, his girlfriend May(Maggie Cheung) is jealous he’s got another woman in his life, even if it’s work related, and he’s framed for the murder of another cop.
All of that simply serves as a backdrop to celebrate what Jackie Chan does best – action sequences and stunts.
And they are amazing, I love stunt-work in the pre-computer generated images days. Everything is happening on camera, and everything is real, something that is demonstrated at the end of the film during the credit roll which Chan uses his blooper and stunt reel.
In the film’s opening, Chan hangs from a bus with nothing more than an umbrella while fending off attackers from the inside, there are stunning fight sequences, especially the fantastic and lengthy sequence at the film’s end featuring a sprawling fight in a multi-level shopping mall.
There is lots of slapstick humor, as Chan and May try to sort out their relationship, or when a fellow cop poses as a killer to get Selina to trust Chan, or when upon being transferred to another precinct he’s left all alone and juggles phone calls.
Chan may not craft the best story, but the action sequences more than make up for it, as they are jaw-droppingly good, and there were several moments when I groaned in sympathy after a particularly brutal hit or fall.
The shopping mall sequence has tons of these moments, people slamming down uncomfortably on edges of escalators, two-storey falls, Chan himself does a stellar stunt sliding down an electrical pole 7 floors!
This is a film that defines the Hong Kong sense of fun when it comes to action films, and helped Jackie Chan perfect his image of an action-comedy genius the likes of which hadn’t been seen since Buster Keaton.
It’s easy nowadays to dismiss a lot of stunts, because of wire removal, green-screen, and while there are still a number of fantastic stuntmen working doing amazing work, watching a film like this makes you appreciate the effort, rehearsal, practice, and the life-threatening danger that these people put into their work.
For a fun night, not big on plot, but big on enjoyment, Jacke Chan movies are always a safe bet, and this one is now at the top of my list.
This was a very welcome entry on the 101 Action Movies list, and I see myself revisiting this one a few times yet.
What’s your favorite Jackie Chan movie?