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New Police Story
   |     review    |     review #2    |     awards     |     availability     |   

Charlene Choi, Jackie Chan, and Nicholas Tse in New Police Story.

Chinese: 新警察故事
Year: 2004  
Director: Benny Chan Muk-Sing
Producer: Benny Chan Muk-Sing, Willie Chan, Solon So, Barbie Tung
Writer: Alan Yuen
Action: Jackie Chan, Li Chung-Chi, Jackie Chan Stunt Team
Cast: Jackie Chan, Nicholas Tse Ting-Fung, Charlie Young Choi-Nei, Charlene Choi Cheuk-Yin, Daniel Wu, Dave Wong Kit, Andy On Chi-Kit, Terence Yin, Hiro Hayama, Coco Chiang Yi, Deep Ng Ho-Hong, Ken Lo Wai-Kwong, Tony Ho Wah-Chiu, Timmy Hung Tin-Ming, Hung Tin-Chiu, Andrew Lin Hoi, Carl Ng Ka-Lung, Samuel Pang King-Chi, Mandy Chiang Nga-Man, Maggie Lau Si-Wai, Evergreen Mak Cheung-Ching, Asuka Higuchi, Liu Kai-Chi, Yu Rong-Guang, Kenny Kwan Chi-Bun, Steven Cheung Chi-Hung, Wu Bai, Tats Lau Yi-Tat, , Winnie Leung Man-Yi, Kenny Wong Tak-Bun Eric Kwok Wai-Leung, Eric Kwok Wai-Leung, Philip Ng Won-Lung
  The Skinny: Police Story meets Gen-X Cops. An entertaining, though predictably glossy vehicle for Jackie Chan and a whole roster of EEG kids. Not as good as the Police Story films, but could we ever have expected it to be?
by Kozo:

Finally, Jackie Chan returns to Hong Kong! And no, those Twins Effect movies don't count. New Police Story represents a watershed development for longtime HK Cinema fans. First, it marks the Chanmeister's return to Hong Kong Cinema after too many American (Around the World in 80 Days) or American-influenced (The Medallion, gag) productions. Second, it reunites Jackie Chan with director Benny Chan, who was responsible for arguably Jackie Chan's last decent Hong Kong film, Who Am I? Excitement would be an understandable response.

However, blind excitement may be too great. While a polished, entertaining, and suitably glossy action picture, New Police Story is still quality-impaired compared to Chan's greatest works. Plus, it comes with an extreme price: collusion with the Emperor Entertainment Group's band of questionably talented popstars. Chan's primary co-star is EEG badboy Nicholas Tse, and his co-stars include EEG products Dave Wong Kit (who's not an empty popstar, but belongs to EEG nonetheless), Charlene Choi (of Twins), Kenny Kwan (of Boy'z), Stephen Cheung (also of Boy'z), and Deep Ng (of nothing right now, and hopefully nothing for the foreseeable future). The film also co-stars a virtual who's who of young Hong Kong actors, meaning somebody out there was working overtime during a marketing meeting. While his paycheck may be awash in music industry kickbacks, the inclusions do the movie little favors.

But enough griping. The obvious Jackie Chan meets Gen-X Cops marketing aside, New Police Story is a suitably entertaining action picture that presents the aging Chan in a new light: as an aging cop whose life takes a precipitous tumble. A decorated cop, Chan Kwok-Wing (Jackie Chan) meets his match in a vicious group of young thugs, who kill cops for fun and "x-treme" satisfaction. After Wing boasts that he'll snag this group of young punks in three hours, the group proceeds to dismantle his ten man squad with expert precision and more than a little stylish flair. Among the dead cops is Wing's future brother-in-law (Deep Ng), a factoid that leaves Wing crying and drinking his guts out...or perhaps the reverse. Either way, he becomes a broken guy. Enter young Frank Cheng (Nicholas Tse), an overly-sprightly young cop who makes it his personal mission to bring Wing back from the brink of self-destruction. Will he succeed? And will EEG sell records as a result of this old-young merger?

The answer to that last question is unknown, but the former one is easy: of course he will! This is a movie after all, meaning the presence of the ultra-cute young cop is enough to bring Wing back to supreme cop status, and enough to get the girls swooning. As young Frank, Nicholas Tse eschews his usual bad boy act for a happy-go-lucky comic relief persona that the young actor handles with surprising facility. His dialogue is sometimes cheesy and clunky, but it's easy to like Tse when he isn't preening like his popstar status requires. It's also easy to like Charlene Choi here, especially since she gets so little screen time that her whiny girlishness is reduced to only one or two scenes. Sadly, the much-vaunted return of Charlie Young, who plays Wing's girlfriend Ho-Yee, is in a disappointing flower vase role that gives the charming actress little room to maneuver. Basically, she shows up, looks concerned, occasionally cries, then becomes imperiled. New Police Story may gun for modern hipness, but some of the content is strictly out of the Dark Ages.

Equal simplicity is applied to the bad guys. Made up of Daniel Wu, Terence Yin, Andy On, Hayama Go, and Coco Chiang, the gang of evildoers is given pseudo-understandable psychosis by the screenplay. This group isn't really bad; they're more like misunderstood kids who've simply taken their disaffection too far...into murder and completely over-the-top crime sprees. While some minor seriousness is proffered in this theme of rich kids gone bad, the performances all err on the cartoony side. These bad seeds overact with abandon, flailing their arms and mugging ferociously. The performances are more than a little over-the-top, but there are bright spots. Andy On demonstrates a welcome physicality in two flying fists encounters with Jackie Chan, and Daniel Wu gives his limited range a full workout. As disaffected leader Joe, Wu gets to smoulder and preen like a miniature knock-off of Francis Ng—with generally effective, though ultimately overrated results. Wu recently won the Golden Horse Award for Best Supporting Actor for New Police Story, which is odd considering that his performance wasn't that noteworthy. It's not a bad performance by any stretch of the imagination, but Best Supporting Actor?

Still, taking the Golden Horse Awards selection committee to task is not the big deal here. No, the big deal is Jackie Chan, and how he handles being a middle-aged action star among a cast of young and less-wrinkled kids. The answer to that: not bad at all. Chan still manages a few terrific stunts and fight sequences, and though there's a bit more cutting than ten years ago, the effort is appreciable. Chan also takes his elder statesman role and gives it a surprising weight and dignity—when he isn't overacting. Chan gives his character heavy emotions, but his acting has matured little from the overacting, sweaty displays of manly emotion that have marked nearly every Chan performance since the early days of his career. Chan puts his character's emotions out there for everyone to see, but the effect can sometimes be more embarrassing than affecting.

However, this is the moment where the masses should rise up and say, "Come on, it's just a movie! Don't be so harsh!" Well, for once the masses have got it right. Despite the gripes and the groans of New Police Story being not as good as previous Jackie Chan works, it does succeed at being an efficient and entertaining action adventure film. Director Benny Chan gives the film polished style and flair, and Jackie Chan certainly works overtime to produce an entertaining, and sometimes even emotionally engaging commercial film. Jackie Chan is undisputably one of the world's greatest entertainers, and New Police Story is further proof that the man will go to great lengths to thrill, entertain, and perhaps simply placate his fan base. The man has made concessions to insure lasting stardom, but hasn't forgotten to plug Hong Kong with every ounce of spare time that he has. Despite the massive flop that was Around the World in 80 Days, Chan didn't have to make New Police Story. But he did, not only to satiate his home audience but also to further the careers of some kids who could use the boost. Whether or not his charges will ever hit it big is debatable (In ten years, could you see Nicholas Tse and Charlene Choi starring in a Wong Kar-Wai film? Nope, me neither.), but let's put it on the table: Jackie Chan tries. And with New Police Story, he mostly succeeds. (Kozo 2004)


Because of Jackie Chan's western material (Rush Hour, Rush Hour 2, Shanghai Noon, Shanghai Knights, The Tuxedo—really, do I need to go on?), the major assumption is that any new flick starring the Drunken Master will be a comedy. Though the first couple of Chan's Hollywood popcorn movies were reasonably amusing, watching him fumble with his English while playing and sparring with a young hotshot actor got old and tired. Sort of like him. Fortunately, the man shipped himself back home to make New Police Story—which may very well turn out to be his redemption.

When we first meet Inspector Chan (Jackie Chan), he's been chugging down way too much booze. Flashback to a year before, and we get to meet the man he was: Senior Inspector Chan, tough policeman and undefeated in his fight for justice. But the Inspector is about to be taken off his high horse; he's put on a case involving a gang of young punks who rob the Bank of Asia, and then call the police in so they can open fire on them. Chan boasts on television that he will capture the robbers in three hours, and brings his team (including his girlfriend's brother) to the gang's hideout to capture them.

But the Inspector learns a lesson, as the gang was only toying with him, and in the end only he survives their brutality towards the police. The gang is comprised of five very rich kids, led by Joe Chow (Daniel Wu). The five are obsessed with video games and extreme sports. Surprise, surprise: they aren't after the money; the gang is on a blood rampage for any and all cops. Now in the present, the Inspector has become an embittered drunkard who has to be shaken awake by a nosy new partner named Frank (Nicholas Tse). Of course, what happens next is the story of Chan's mission to pull himself together and make things right again.

It must be reiterated: despite some moments worthy of a chuckle, New Police Story is not a comedy. This is not the Jackie Chan most people know because for the last ten years or so, he's been pretending to be a young, kickass, funnyman Hollywood actor. This is the first time we see Jackie Chan playing his age, and he should be commended. It is refreshing to see such a real character; the Inspector is a sad, tired man who is getting on in years. He falls apart so quickly because of the shame he feels for his own arrogance, and has given in to booze and his own depression. No one except his girlfriend trusts him anymore, and moreover, he doesn't trust himself with her. Them's the breaks. Given this sort of character description, it should be pretty easy to see why most of the humor comes not from Jackie Chan's character, but from Nicholas Tse's instead.

As the Inspector's new partner, Frank, Nic Tse is young, charming, nosy, and always getting ahead of himself. Taking on the role of the second banana, one could say that he gives the audience some room to breathe during the film. His character provides the much needed comic relief, as without the short breaks, the film would have been a lot heavier and more difficult to watch. He fits his character perfectly, bringing a bright exuberance and cockiness to Frank that makes him likable and easy to watch.

As head villain Joe Chow, Daniel Wu portrays an arrogant, whiny brat with an extremely troubled home life that causes him to lash out at any policeman he encounters. The role is similar to the one Wu played in Gen-X Cops and in direct comparison, the Daniel Wu of this film shows improvement as he believably displays the cold-heartedness and confused distress that are warring within the character. He sneers, taunts, and actually appears to be a snot-faced little brat whose neck you'd like to wring not because he is inadequate, but because he's a punk. He effectively tortures both Inspector Chan and himself with his delusions of police-obliterating grandeur. As an actor, Daniel Wu isn't brilliant, but he works well and hard.

Fans of Charlene Choi will probably be happy enough seeing her on the big screen, particularly with Nicholas Tse as her playmate. Fortunately, the taller Twin doesn't distract from the film. Her character doesn't bring in much significance, except to flirt with Frank, act cute, and sometimes bail them out of trouble—which is tolerable enough to work. Jackie Chan's girlfrined is played by Charlie Young, making her first film appearance in a while. Playing the signature damsel of Jackie Chan's heart, Young is sweet, cute, likable, and extremely loyal. She manages to get us to sympathize with her when she is trouble, but really, the role didn't call for her to do too much. But despite the fact that she and Charlene Choi were technically given flower vase duty, Charlie Young is a welcome addition to the cast.

New Police Story possesses few puzzling or head-scratching moments, and that's what I liked about it. The questionable or unrealistic plot points can be attributed to the tried and tested format of the old school versions of Police Story. It's like watching Casablanca; most people will think it's cliched, but it should be realized that Casablanca was the original. New Police Story is a movie that sticks to old guns, and churns out a respectable film. Thank the gods, Jackie Chan decided to ship his Asian butt back home and do New Police Story, a movie that can possibly be considered redemption for his many Western mistakes. But what he does next may be a different story. (Aircompass 2004)

Awards: 24th Hong Kong Film Awards
• Nomination - Best Picture
• Nomination - Best Director (Benny Chan Muk-Sing)
• Nomination - Best Actor (Jackie Chan)
• Nomination - Best Supporting Actor (Daniel Wu)
• Nomination - Best Editing (Yau Chi-Wai)
• Nomination - Best Action Design (Li Chung-Chi, Jackie Chan Stuntman Association)
• Nomination - Best Sound Effects (Kinson Tsang Kin-Cheung)
• Nomination - Best Visual Effects (Wong Won-Tak, Ho Chi-Fai)
41st Annual Golden Horse Awards

Winner - Best Supporting Actor (Daniel Wu)
Winner - Best Action Choreography (Li Chung-Chi, Jackie Chan Stunt Team)
Winner - Best Visual Effects (Victor Wong, Brian Ho)
Winner - Audience Choice Award
Nomination - Best Editing (Yau Chi-Wai)
Nomination - Best Art Direction (Wong Ching-Ching, Choo Sung-Pong, Oliver Wong)
Nomination - Best Sound Effects (Tsang King-Cheung)
Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Joy Sales Film and Video Distribution
2-Disc Set
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Dolby Digital 5.1 / DTS 6.1ES
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles
Various Extras
*Also Available on Blu-ray Disc

image courtesy of Joy Sales Film and Video Distribution Copyright 2002-2017 Ross Chen