Jackie Chan deserves better than this…
To date, Jackie Chan has appeared in over 100 movies and is an international super-star. Because of this, I really felt confused as I watched Police Story (2013). After all, with his clout, you’d think he’d get the best of scripts…but this film is a muddled mess of a film. This does not mean some die-hard Jackie Chan films won’t like it—the film has plenty of action to keep them happy. But the script is poor, the number of flashbacks boggling (and often irrelevant to the plot) and the film isn’t fun—and most Chan films are fun. It also, inexplicably, has absolutely nothing to do with his previous films called Police Story!
The film begins with Captain Zhong (Chan) going to a very strange place, the Wu Bar, to meet his estranged daughter. She apparently has hated him for years because he’s always working. She also blames him for not arriving on time at the hospital as her mother (his wife) was dying. The daughter is angry—and introduces Zhong to her fiancé, Mr. Wu—a man she hopes will irritate her father. However, out of the blue, suddenly Wu and a group of his men take the pair hostage—along with more than a dozen others. Now Wu informs the police that unless they deliver a certain prisoner to the Wu Bar, the captives will all die. But, instead of explaining WHY all this is happening, lots of filler occurs in between—some of which just seemed irrelevant. For example, there is a UFC-inspired cage fight right there in the middle of Wu Bar with Zhong and one of the kidnappers (????). There are also LOTS of flashbacks—many of which turn out to have nothing to do with the plot!! And, when the big finale finally comes, it feels that it is about half an hour too late. And speaking of the finale, as I watched it unfold, parts of it made no sense whatsoever. In particular, Wu that done unspeakable acts of brutality, yet the Captain risks his life to save Wu at the end—even as Wu fights tooth and nail to die! Think about it—the super-villain WANTS to die and risk your life to keep him alive?! On what planet does this make sense?
In many ways, Police Story seems like a film that went to production way too soon—well before all the bugs were worked out of the script. At quite a few points in the film, instead of the film being action-packed, it sometimes was incredibly talky and padded. And, instead of the film being fun like most Jackie Chan films, it just seemed oppressive and anything but fun. In fact, that is THE biggest problem with the movie—there is none of that usual tongue-in-cheek fun and there were less stunts and more explosions, blood and breaking of bones. This is not the sort of Jackie Chan film I would want to see again—and the guy deserves so much better.
Review by Martin Hafer, Film Critic