New Police Story (2004)
Reviewed by: driftheory on 2005-07-13
When Rush Hour came out, I considered it as a smart move for Jackie Chan and the follow-up, Shanghai Noon, was equally exciting for me. Then I realized the Hollywood formula was only treating Jackie Chan as a funny stuntman, or worse, a circus clown. Every time he was forced to act as a man half of his age and to partner with an half-of-his-age American sidekick, who usually took half of the show. Sequels to Rush Hour signed the fatal flaw of such formula, but because it was so profitable, the alarm was ignored, which contributed to the total failure of some of his most recent Hollywood projects. However, just when you thinks Jackie Chan's career is going through a downward spiral, he returned to Hong Kong, reclaimed his roots, and made New Police Story

It is not a sequel to Jackie Chan's Police Story series but still shares the same format with it. The story starts with an alcoholic Jackie Chan dead-drunk in a dirt alley. Then comes a quick flashback to approximately a year ago, when Jackie Chan was still a proud Senior Inspector, who had never lost a case before. A group of youngsters, enjoyed too much video games and extreme sports (financed by their rich parents), decided to take the virtual thrill to the real world. They robbed a bank, called the police and literally massacred the cops rushing to the scene. Then Chan took his team, armed with pistols and a few shot guns, rushed into those youngsters' hiding place, an unoccupied warehouse. Shortly after they walked in, things started going wrong. One by one, his men were killed and he was unable to save them. He was kept alive only because the youngsters were not done with him yet. When the thing was over, Chan was the only survivor of the operation. He took a long drunken-vacation and started living with shame. Then the movie spent quite a lot of time to show us how Chan, with help from his new partner (Nicolas Tse), puts himself together and gets back to his girlfriend (Charlie Yeung), whose younger brother was also among the men Chan lost a year ago. Eventually, he returns to his post and goes after those youngsters again.

As a departure away from his decade old Hollywood fairytale, Jackie Chan is so brave to show himself as an aging and burnt-out man. He cries a lot, drinks a lot and depresses a lot. The movie is also much darker than an average Jackie Chan movie. It cannot be classified as a comedy action but rather a drama inserted with actions handful of funny moments. Though a little bit cliché, the story is very well written for backup the Jackie Chan actions.

Nicholas Tse plays well as Chan's new partner, who actually offered much comedic relief of the movie; Charlie Yeung is okay for Chan's girlfriend, a routine role of cause; Daniel Wu is good as portraying the leader of the youngsters; Yu Rongguang is severely underused here for playing another senior cop; and Charlene Choi is just plain annoying as Tse's love interest.

The movie is heavy on violence and a bit slow on actions, which will make it unsuitable for Jackie Chan's under-aged fans. However, Jackie Chan delivered his trademark actions. He fights, jumps and puts himself in danger as usual. He even did a nice homage to his old Police Story by taking on a double-deck bus again. These are more than impressive, not just for a man at his 50, but for men of all ages. His team provides us some of the most dangerous aero-stunt ever created on screen and you have to see it to believe it. It is first time I actually like a Jackie Chan movie for the acting, not action, of Jackie Chan, and New Police Story reminds me what the real Jackie Chan is all about