Police Story has two of Jackie Chan’s signature scenes: When he hangs from the double decker bus and the fight in the mall. Police Story 2 sort of gets buried between Police Story and Supercop but it’s got good stuff too like the fight on the playground and in the fireworks factory.
I got to see both Police Story films in a theater with their 4K restorations. They looked great on the big screen but even better on Blu-Ray. Maybe that’s because I can crank up the brightness more than the theater or maybe because I’m closer to the screen but it’s an even clearer restoration of ‘80s Hong Kong.
The bonus features include over an hour of Chan’s My Stunts documentary. That’s more than an excerpt of this great documentary, behind the scenes on all his films up to Who Am I. That’s more than an excerpt. I don’t know what they cut but the full doc is 90 minutes.
Clips of Project A in the Edgar Wright feature look great. I hope Criterion does all the Jackie Chan movies. Hopefully they can get Supercop and release the undubbed version without the rap soundtrack.
Wright gives a good perspective of a film lover discovering Chan, slightly different than mine because he was in the U.K. I think Chan’s ‘80s output was a little more available to Wright but we both have Rumble in the Bronx as our first theatrical Jackie Chan movie.
In his podcast interview with Chan, anyone who’s been as obsessed with Jackie Chan as I am knows all his stories, at least the ones he tells in English. Wright got a few new ones, to me at least, out of him.
Grady Hendrix is a knowledgeable Hong Kong Cinema expert to discuss Chan’s persona, and the escalation of Chan’s action and persona. He wears a fabulous red suit in the latter one. I’m almost as jealous of Hendrix’s fashion as I am his expansive knowledge of Hong Kong cinema.
The full stunt team tribute is genuinely touching and includes a lot of personal tidbits that never make the clips I saw online when Chan received the award.
Even Criterion doesn’t know when the Jackie Chan interview was recorded. I’m guessing mid ‘00s because he complains about shakycam covering up actors who can’t fight. He goes back to Wing On Plaza!
They’ve got the full episode of Son of the Incredibly Strange Film Show that Wright mentioned. Jonathan Ross visits the set of Miracles, little knowing that would be his best film. Ross also views the Armor of God accident footage on a flatbed machine. Chan is much more cavalier back then. To think, he hasn’t even made Supercop or Drunken Master II yet! Ross also interviews Maggie Cheng about her Police Story 2 accident. Ric Myers appears with a neatly trimmed beard.
The Hong Kong release version of Police Story 2 runs about 15 minutes shorter and has a much dirtier print but it’s still sharp and clear. It’s a nice preservation of 35mm film with the optical subtitles. It’s funny, the scratches get worst during the fight scenes because they were probably run through the projector extra times. I bet the pace benefits from cutting out some extraneous plot.
Benny Lai has some good insights on training, choreography and acting. He discusses the firecracker stunts too.
A 1964 French TV segment on the Peking opera shows incredible performance and training of the kind Chan practiced. At 12 minutes it’s only a fraction of his 24/7 training for 10 years. Still great to see it while it existed.
The stunt reel is hardly indicative of Chan’s accomplishments or mishaps. You can do better watching the end credits from each movie, but it looks like this montage already existed so why not include it?
The four minute Police Story 2 trailer shows as much behind the scenes as footage from the film. It remind me of the Last Crusade teaser trailer. The movie itself is almost secondary to the story of making the film.
Criterion did a historic job with Jackie Chan’s historic films. Again, I truly hope they add more of his films to the collection. I almost regret that they’d probably do Drunken Master or Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow first because those are historic. There are great Blu-rays of those classics already, though light on extras. I’m most interested in his ‘80s and ‘90s output, so Project A, Armor of God, Dragons Forever, Drunken Master II and possibly a study of his crossover Rumble in the Bronx would make fascinating Criterion Collections. Oh, a proper uncut First Strike with the English language audio would be my Holy Grail.