Jackie Chan is perhaps the most famous movie star in the world, and it’s been that way for quite some time. But many might not know that he’s been acting since the late 1960s, and that it took him a while to climb to the top of Mount Stardom. But one of the things that helped was his Police Story Trilogy, which has been given a new 4K restoration to pay tribute to the importance of these pictures.
Across the three films – Police Story (1985), Police Story II (1988), and Police Story III: Supercop (1992) – Chan plays police inspector Chan Ka-Kui, Hong King’s best cop and martial arts extraordinaire, whose methods are unconventional to say the least. This is bad for Ka-Kui’s superiors but great for audience, who get to lap up all of his crazy exploits.
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Police Story sets its stall out in the opening act with Ka-Kui chasing drug lords through the nooks and crannies of a shanty town before both he and the perps smash through the town in vehicles. Ka-Kui uses an umbrella to hang on the side of a double decker bus, and while the bad guys get away, the cops have a lead: Salina (Brigitte Lin) who is the secretary of the drug operation, and who they want to give evidence to convict them.
This leads to Ka-Kui becoming Salina’s bodyguard, much to the chagrin of her and Ka-Kui’s long-suffering girlfriend May (Maggie Cheung). Ka-Kui manages to fight off the various crims sent to shut her up, but loses Salina, which means a desperate attempt to find her and put the bosses behind bars.
Police Story II sees Ka-Kui busted down to traffic cop due to the collateral damage of his previous escapades, but he is eventually back to normal and chasing a gang of arsonists who are blackmailing a corporation. This ends up with May being kidnapped and a spectacular finale inside a fireworks factory.
Police Story III: Supercop has Ka-Kui transferred to a specialist team who are trying to apprehend a huge drug baron. Ka-Kui goes undercover to help the drug baron’s lieutenant escape from prison and then goes deep to find out the overall plans, along with fellow agent Jessica Yang (Michelle Yeoh). Of course, everything goes wrong when they get their cover blown, which leads to some spectacular stunts involving a train, a dirt bike, and a helicopter.
All of these films are riotously entertaining in a way that most Western action films could only wish for. Of course Jackie Chan is the centre of it all, directing the first two and being the whirling dervish behind them all, along with his amazing stunt team. These movies were designed around the stunts, and it’s just mesmerising to watch Chan – who has rightly been compared to Buster Keaton – perform these amazing feats, especially the big one at the end of the first film where he slides down a huge light fitting. It’s so spectacular it’s given an action replay in the film, while Chan himself received second-degree burns.
Chan himself is also behind the offbeat comedy of the film, which is often just brilliant slapstick. A lot of comic mileage is also squeezed out of his relationship with May, who constantly threatens to leave him, with Maggie Cheung doing great work across the series. Michelle Yeoh as Yang is fantastic in III and is undoubtedly the star of the show, and you can see how she got her role in the Bond flick Tomorrow Never Dies.
The Police Story Trilogy is Eureka’s first UHD release and they’ve done a fantastic job, with all three films being presented in their original Hong Kong cuts with pristine video and audio. Speaking of audio, there are the original Cantonese tracks as well as American dubs, a rarity considered how these films were originally released in the west. In addition to this, there are a number of great extras, from several audio commentaries, new and vintage featurettes (including one on Jackie Chan video games) and deleted scenes and outtakes.
You’d have to be a Steven Seagal fan to not want to own this set. Three classic pictures restored beautifully, a bountiful and veritable smorgasbord of Jackie Chan entertainment. Go get it – hang on the side of a bus* if you have to.
The Police Story Trilogy is out on 4K UHD on 26th September from Eureka Entertainment.
*do not do this. Jackie Chan is a trained professional and should not be imitated even if hanging from the side of a bus by an umbrella is unbelievably cool.