Saturday, September 21, 2019

Police Story 2

Directed and starring Jackie Chan and written by Chan and Edward Tang, Police Story 2 is the sequel to the 1985 film that has a Hong Kong detective demoted to traffic duty as he eventually goes rogue to go against a gang of serial bombers who is believed to be working for a drug lord’s henchman. The film has Chan reprise the role of “Kevin” Chan Ka-kui as he deals with his unorthodox methods in taking down criminals while trying to adjust to his new role as a traffic cop and his relationship with his girlfriend May as she is reprised by Maggie Cheung. Also starring Bill Tung, Charlie Cho, Lam Kwok-Hung, and Chor Yuen reprising his role as the drug lord Chu Tao. Police Story 2 is a sprawling and gripping film from Jackie Chan.

The is set months after the events of the first film in which Chan Ka-kui has amassed a lot of heavy damage to the places he’s in during his attempted captures of the drug lord Chu Tao as he is demoted to traffic duty. Yet, it’s a film that has him torn between being a cop but also being a good boyfriend to his longtime girlfriend May just as a gang of serial bombers are creating havoc around Hong Kong and extorting a group of rich businessman through threats. Even as Chan has to lead a surveillance team that forces him to break-up with May so he can try and prevent from other bombings from happening after he and May were fortunate to escape a bombing attempt. The film’s screenplay by Jackie Chan and Edward Tang mixes ideas of comedy, romance, drama, action, and suspense as it play into Chan Ka-kui’s struggle to be a good cop yet often gets himself into trouble whether he is targeted by Tao’s right-hand man John Ko (Charlie Cho) and his goons or through these mysterious bombers who are making threats and destroying places.

Notably in the film’s second act where Chan leads the surveillance team as they also record conversations from the corporate bosses who are being extorted. It serves as a break from the action and humor as it emphasizes on suspense with Chan taking the lead and allowing his team to be more involved. Yet, it also play into this sense of discord over social classes where the unveiling of the bombers come into play for its third act as well as why they’re so mysterious. Chan and Tang do manage to put in a lot of things in the script as it relates to the personal life of Chan and his relationship with May as she questions about whether he’s fully committed as he’s often tested by his duties and those trying to intimidate him.

Chan’s direction is definitely grand in term of the set pieces he created though the opening sequence involving these moving trucks is big but it’s really a set-up for what his character is doing right now as it’s a step down from the mayhem that he created in the previous film. Yet, it does have elements of comedy as it play into the sense of humility that Chan Ka-kui has to endure but it at least makes May happy that he’s not engaged in trouble for a while as Ko tries to intimidate him after Chan learns that Tao has been released from prison due to a terminal illness he is suffering from. Shot on location in Hong Kong, the film does use many of its locations not just as characters but also to play into this growing rest of uncertainty as it relates to the serial bombers and their actions. The usage of the wide and medium shots help capture the scope of the locations as well as in some of the film’s action set pieces that include a fight in a playground between Chan and Ko’s gang. Serving as the film’s action director/choreographer, Chan ensures that there is a rhythm to the stunts and action that include a scene of three female cops interrogating the explosives supplier.

Chan’s approach to the comedy is partially physical but it also play into some elaborate set pieces where an extremely upset May chases Chan to the men’s locker room and shower as he tries to hide from her. Chan’s approach to creating set pieces that include the film’s third act where the identity of the bombers and its creator named Dummy (Benny Lai) who is also a dangerous fighter. The sequence that includes a chase sequence and Chan’s character jumping on a truck and then onto a bus and then jump into a glass pane as it is told through a tracking wide shot showcase the intricate attention to detail he puts into the stunt work. Even in the film’s climatic showdown against the bombers as the attention to detail in the fighting and in the set pieces add to the stakes of what is happening as well as providing a few comical moments in that scene. Overall, Chan crafts a riveting yet exhilarating film about a cop trying to stop a group of serial bombers from wreaking havoc in Hong Kong.

Cinematographers Cheung Yiu-Jo and Lee Yau-Tong do excellent work with the film’s cinematography with its straightforward look for many of the daytime exterior and interior scenes with some stylish lighting for some scenes set at night including the playground fight scene. Editors Peter Cheung Yui-Chung, Keung Chuen-Tak, and Sek Chi-Kong do amazing work with the editing with its usage of jump cuts and other rhythmic cuts to play into the action and humor that include some fluid cutting in some of the fighting with a lot of emphasis on showing what is going on. Production designer Oliver Wong does brilliant work with the design of the police station interiors including the locker room/shower as well as the interiors of the factory where the bombers hide out in the film’s third act. Costume designer Shirley Chan does fantastic work with the costumes from some of the casual clothes Chan and other characters wear to the stylish clothes that some of his members of his surveillance team wear to play undercover.

The special effects work of Ng Kwok-Wa is terrific for the creation of some of the set pieces including the explosives that are created including some big ones in a couple of key scenes. Sound recordist Shao Lung Chou and mixer John Ross do superb work with the sound in capturing some of the sound in some of the film’s locations as well as the way fists and kicks are presented. The film’s music by Michael Lai is incredible for its electronic-based score as it has some bombastic pieces for the action along with some low-key and somber pieces for the drama while the theme song with lyrics by James Wong is once again sung by Chan as it play into his character’s adventures.

The film’s wonderful cast feature some notable small roles from Isabella Wong as the secretary to Fung in Miss Wong, Shan Kwan as a corporate president leader in Fung, the quartet of Crystal Kwok, Anglie Leung Wan-Yui, Ann Mui, and Candice Tai as female undercover police officers who interrogate the explosives supplier, John Cheung as the explosives supplier known as Polar Bear, Andy Tai Chi-Wai as one of the bombers, and Benny Lai as the deaf explosive maker who is also a fierce fighter. Charlie Cho and Chor Yuen are superb in their respective roles as the thug John Ko and the crime boss Chu Tao with the former trying to make Chan’s life a living hell through intimidation while the latter is dying through an illness where he orders Ko to harass Chan. Lam Kwok-Hung is fantastic as Superintendent Raymond Li as Chan’s station boss who deals with some of the chaos as he eventually reinstate Chan to detective work while dealing with other superiors. Bill Tung is excellent as Inspector “Uncle Bill” Wong as a superior officer who often serves as mediator between Li and Chan while embarking on a comical moment in relation to bad food he ate.

Maggie Cheung is amazing as May as Chan’s longtime girlfriend who has to endure his duties while their planned vacation to Bali is cancelled where Cheung displays a lot of humor in her anger while also doing some serious stunts as it relates to the film’s climatic factory sequence as it is one of Cheung’s finest performances. Finally, there’s Jackie Chan in a phenomenal performance as Chan “Kevin” Ka-kui as a detective who is demoted to traffic duty until a series of events has him reinstated to detective as Chan displays that sense of determination in his job but also cope with the fact that is devotion to his work is troubling his relationship with May where Chan displays humor and humility into his performance while also doing some crazy stunts in some of the action as it’s another quintessential performance from Chan.

Police Story 2 is a sensational film from Jackie Chan that features an incredible supporting performance from Maggie Cheung. Along with its ensemble cast, dazzling set pieces, high-octane action, intense stunt work, a riveting music soundtrack, and its balance to blend all sorts of genres and tones into one film. It’s a film that does more than just be an action-suspense-comedy but also serves as a film that does a lot more than just be entertaining while being a study of what a cop tries to do on and off duty. In the end, Police Story 2 is a spectacular film from Jackie Chan.

Jackie Chan Films: (The Fearless Hyena) – (The Young Master) – (Dragon Lord) – (Project A) – Police Story - (Armour of God) – (Project A Part II) – (Miracles (1988 film)) – (Armour of God II: Operation Condor) – (Drunken Master) – (Who Am I?) – (Jackie Chan: My Stunts) – (1911) – (CZ12)

Related: (Supercop) – (Once A Cop) – (Crime Story) – (Police Story 4: First Strike) – (New Police Story) – (Police Story 2013)

© thevoid99 2019


Chris said...

Have not watched the series though I'd like to. Sounds like a fun sequel. I listened to Tarantino talk about Police Cop 3 which he says features the "greatest stunts ever filmed in any movie ever."

thevoid99 said...

@Chris-Supercop definitely has some amazing stunts. People are in awe of what Tom Cruise is doing with the Mission: Impossible series but I'm like *yawn* knowing so many others have done more intricate stunts better than him including Chan. The stuff on Supercop and the first 2 Police Story films are among the essential. Plus, there's a realism to the stunts in what Chan does and you see the amount of pain he is willing to take to get it right.