“—the action’s the thing.”
December 28, 2018 12:42 PM   Subscribe

Police Story & Police Story 2 [Vimeo][4K Restoration Trailer] “When it comes to death-defying stunt work, if anyone could give Tom Cruise a run — or a punch, kick, leap, or unfathomable fall — for his money, it’s Jackie Chan. For proof, look no further than the Police Story series, the first two installments of which were recently restored in 4K by Fortune Star at L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory in anticipation of a Criterion Collection release, with the announcement of a full theatrical run, a brand new trailer, and poster debuting exclusively on Polygon. Directed by and starring Chan, as hot-shot Hong Kong police officer Chan Ka-Kui, Police Story (1985) and Police Story 2 (1988) contain some of the most audacious stunts ever seen, and are long overdue to be seen in theaters again.” [via: Polygon]
posted by Fizz (32 comments total) 41 users marked this as a favorite

Yes! Police Story is fantastic.

Anecdotally, my friend's father who didn't really like us teens hanging around his house used to watch nothing but Jackie Chan VHS tapes that he got from the Philippines, and one weekend waiting for the pizza guy to show up, he got me to stop playing D&D and watch Police Story.

I'll never forget that bit where they're doing a car chase in that shanty town.

Can't wait to see it in 4k.
posted by Sphinx at 12:56 PM on December 28, 2018

These look amazing. I'm a little relieved that the original elements seem to be in serviceable condition still — it means I can hold out hope for proper releases of John Woo's great The Killer and Hard Boiled at some point.

I know that in our post-Rush Hour cultural climate people take Jackie Chan for granted, but it took a lot of work on the part of a lot of people to built his rep stateside. This smug and utterly wrong-headed 1987 dismissal by Vincent Canby at The New York Times sets the tone. First, he suggests that martial-arts movies are for dummies. Next, he complains about the English-language dubbing. Finally, he pays Chan the low compliment of calling him an "oriental Sylvester Stallone" which, even in 1987, jesus.

(I guess it's not as bad as Janet Maslin's 1979 review of Dawn of the Dead, in which she copped to walking out of the theater after 15 minutes yet still felt qualified to file 325 words on the subject.)
posted by Mothlight at 12:57 PM on December 28, 2018 [9 favorites]

I spent large sums of money on imported laser-discs back in the nineties, just so I could watch these movies undubbed and in slightly better quality then the 3rd generation VHS copies I could scrounge. If only I'd just waited 30 years!
posted by abigailKim at 12:58 PM on December 28, 2018 [5 favorites]

Iko Uwais in The Raid is one of the stars that I think that comes close to Jackie Chan. The Raid is a bit more of a straight-forward action/crime-noir film, but still, I wanted to put him into the conversation. If you've not seen The Raid: Redemption (titled had to be changed in the US for copyright/distribution purposes) do yourself a favor and find it.

The YouTube video gc linked to is dead on, Jackie Chan is the king of action/comedy and the two are blended seamlessly and made to look effortless.
posted by Fizz at 1:01 PM on December 28, 2018 [6 favorites]

I fixed that Polygon article for you:

“When it comes to death-defying stunt work, if anyone could give Tom Cruise Jackie Chan a run — or a punch, kick, leap, or unfathomable fall — for his money, it’s .... .... no one. There is only one Jackie Chan."
posted by Dr Ew at 1:06 PM on December 28, 2018 [43 favorites]

Yeah, no shit, Dr Ew! Did some jackass just suggest that Jackie Chan needs to prove his stuntish bona fides to measure up to Tom fucking Cruise??

I mean, okay, I'm not questioning Cruise's dedication to his stunts, but god damn, this is Jackie Chan we're talking about here! The man is in his own one-man league!
posted by Naberius at 1:12 PM on December 28, 2018 [27 favorites]

I admire both men for their stunt work, but if anything Cruise was inspired by Chan. And we don't really need them to compete against each other. It's way more fun to just enjoy both.
posted by Brocktoon at 1:17 PM on December 28, 2018 [4 favorites]

Well... Sammo Hung comes close, but it’s a different kind of stunt, usually.
posted by GenjiandProust at 1:24 PM on December 28, 2018 [6 favorites]

These are high in contention for best action movie anybody ever made. There are a couple I prefer for mostly stylistic reasons, but none that are better. Narrow distinctions at the height of the form.

I do remember liking one Police Story slightly better than the other, but I don't remember which. Shucks. Guess I'll just have to watch them a couple more times.

(I also liked Police Story 3 / Supercop because it had Michelle Yeoh kicking ass wholesale, but I remember the vibe being a little off by comparison.)
posted by Phobos the Space Potato at 1:26 PM on December 28, 2018 [2 favorites]

Michelle Yeoh jumping her motorcycle onto that train. Yeow. Instant crush. I love these movies.
posted by hoodrich at 1:31 PM on December 28, 2018 [8 favorites]

Not sure Cruise is even in the running, TBH.
posted by Artw at 1:35 PM on December 28, 2018 [5 favorites]

The most notable thing Tom Cruise and Jackie Chan have in common is their eagerness to shill for murderous authoritarian regimes.

That said, these two movies wouldn't have been my first choices (fantastic though they are), but I'm THRILLED that Jackie Chan's joining the Criterion Collection. So unexpected and cool.
posted by incomple at 1:39 PM on December 28, 2018 [2 favorites]

Even when compared to other Hong Kong movie stars of the same generation, Jacke Chan stands out. The only one who really comes close is Sammo Hung, who never enjoyed the box office returns that his Peking-Opera-School-Brother did. I wish they made more movies together (with third stablemate Yuen Biao!) but like real brothers, their relationship had ups and downs.
posted by Eikonaut at 1:45 PM on December 28, 2018 [5 favorites]

To this day, Police Story 2 is the only trailer I've ever seen in a theater where the entire audience spontaneously burst into applause at the end. And yeah, you really have to see Jackie's movies with an audience; they lose something without one.
posted by holborne at 1:59 PM on December 28, 2018 [2 favorites]

posted by sammyo at 2:28 PM on December 28, 2018

Wait, I must not know about Tom Cruises stunt work. Mr. pin and bone graft didn't have CG and part of the thrill for me was just gaping at the insanity. I know that cruise is reputed to be an amazingly gifted physical chameleon, able to pick up race car driving etc. with ease but I had never heard he ever took any real risks or had any real holes knocked in his skull.

Also, these days, "stunts" all look fake because they don't seem to obey the laws of physics or at least the limitations of human flesh concerning G forces.
posted by Pembquist at 2:32 PM on December 28, 2018 [2 favorites]

He can't hold a candle to Jackie, but Tom Cruise does do physical stunts. And he gets hurt doing them; that he is willing to do these stunts at risk of hurting himself for the sake of the art is what you could say is the same about these two stars.
posted by linux at 2:36 PM on December 28, 2018 [4 favorites]

Man, I never thought I'd see the day the Janus Films logo turns up in front of a Jackie Chan trailer.
posted by hyperbolic at 3:28 PM on December 28, 2018 [8 favorites]

Michelle Yeoh jumping her motorcycle onto that train. Yeow. Instant crush. I love these movies.
posted by hoodrich at 4:31 PM on December 28 [6 favorites +] [!]

Here is Michelle Yeoh discussing how she had never ridden a dirt-bike prior to that film, and learned how for the movie.
posted by Cookiebastard at 3:54 PM on December 28, 2018 [8 favorites]

Omg this is so awesome.
posted by nikaspark at 3:57 PM on December 28, 2018

The late Ken Campbell once did a show about fantasising that he was put in charge of the Royal National Theatre on the South Bank in London - it was a very interesting take on British theatrical self-aggrandisement and I think he only did it once - and he told the story about how, when he was young, Sir Laurence Olivier was asked who the greatest living actor was - this would be during the 1950s - and he said Charlie Chaplin, so Ken thought "right-o", and had a seance, or at least he said he had a seance - for the purposes of the show - and contacted the spirit of Sir Laurence Olivier and asked him who the greatest living actor was at that time (about 2000, probably), and he said - or Ken said he said - Jackie Chan.

He'd also have had Yuen Woo-ping doing wire stuff to fill up the Olivier and Ken Dodd on Sundays. But they gave the job to Nicholas Hytner, who just did a bunch of plays.

They used to show early Jackie Chan movies on Channel 4 in the 80s, late at night. They were amazing, and I'm quite psyched for this as I've not seen them for ages.
posted by Grangousier at 4:13 PM on December 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

Fucking fantastic. I still haven't seen these so it'll be a great way to experience them for the first time.

Early on in 2018 I had a bad cold and spent a weekend on the couch watching some of Jackie's old stuff - my favorite was Project A, if anyone is looking for another recommendation - Sammo Hung, pirates, and some most excellent bicycle stunts.
posted by mannequito at 5:34 PM on December 28, 2018 [6 favorites]

Seems like as good place as any to include his recounting of his one scene with Bruce Lee in Enter the Dragon.
posted by praemunire at 6:17 PM on December 28, 2018 [4 favorites]

praemunire, I never get tired of hearing him tell that story. It's so sweet and pure.
posted by Fizz at 6:21 PM on December 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

Glad to come into the thread and see plenty of folks have already taken care of the lol-as-if stuff re: Cruise.
posted by stinkfoot at 6:25 PM on December 28, 2018 [5 favorites]

I watched that Every Frame a Painting video essay and then immediately resolved to watch more Jackie Chan movies.... and then I never did. Maybe this time!

Jackie Chan definitely falls into "your fave is problematic" category for me, but the stuntwork is unparalleled and the action-comedy combination is a knockout.
posted by invokeuse at 7:41 PM on December 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

Buster Keaton.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 7:54 PM on December 28, 2018 [4 favorites]

To my mind, to truly appreciate Jackie Chan, you have to read his autobiography. Which really boils down to "I was tortured for 12 hours a day for years to get to my level of ability, and then I was beaten when the torture didn't produce the perfect results." Its an example of extreme brutal training that would make the hardest special vorces soldier blanch, and the results are undeniable. But the cost is horrific, and it's a good thing that the charges in popularity (among other things) ended it.

The most heartbreaking thing about his autobiography is his description of Sammo Hung; equally talented, but brutally punished because he couldnt keep the weight off. His quitting and going into martial arts films on his own, even though they weren't as successful as Chan's, can be seen as a victory of getting out of an abusive system.

Anyway, we won't see another Jackie Chan again, and I think his autobiography helped a little to end the system. But...but...whenever I hear of a supersoldier from intense training ala Dune, I dont think of the author's intended image, but of "pig nose" Jackie Chan.
posted by happyroach at 9:17 PM on December 28, 2018 [6 favorites]

...for the sake of the art...
What Is Tom Cruise's Net Worth? Here's What We Know About the 'Mission: Impossible' Star's Earnings — Being Ethan Hunt pays off.
As for Tom Cruise's total net worth, the actor is worth an estimated $550 million...
Damned good artistic work if you can get it.
posted by cenoxo at 11:00 PM on December 28, 2018

so, back to theaters.... any news on where/when? Or size of distribution?
posted by rebent at 8:12 AM on December 31, 2018

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