Saturday, January 12, 2013

Classic Chan: Police Story 2 (1988)

It's axiomatic: for every good action movie, there bound to be a sequel or three. In that vein, join Thrasher as he follows Chicken Man's lead with a look back at Police Story 2. Keep checking in with Code Redd Net for more Classic Chan.

Police Story 2 is something of a lost classic, at least in North America, as it lacks both the critical sway of the original and the mainstream theatrical release afforded to the subsequent entries in the series Supercop and Jackie Chan's First Strike. It's a pity, as PS2 features some fine stunt work. In this one Chan plays the same cop as before, only this time he's been demoted to highway patrol duty as a result of his propensity for property damage. His obligations as a police officer and as a boyfriend are challenged when the mob boss he put behind bars in the previous film returns, determined to draw out the subdued Chan. Cornered, Chan retaliates and consequently resigns from the force, only to be reinstated when his former colleagues realize just what kind of results he's capable of producing. In something of a strange move, the film begins by recapping the most spectacular moments from the original before beginning this story in the proper manner. In a certain sense it works to set up expectations which this film seeks to supersede, but in another sense it doesn't work because it's a pretty high bar to meet. Nevertheless, Jackie continues to perfect here the action-comedy formula that has served him well throughout his career. As Chicken Man noted in his review of PS1, in these pre-watershed, pre-Rush Hour films, Chan does indeed get to play goofier characters that more effectively underline his immense talent for physical comedy as well as, and often totally in step with, his peerless athletic prowess. The choreography here is splendid, especially one of my all-time favorite fights, that being the playground brawl between Chan and a bunch of thugs. If, as Chicken Man suggests, the original's fight scenes impressed because they were "nearly believeable," PS2 is a bit of a lateral, pushing towards the ridiculous but not really going there. Jackie's films have a history of walking a narrow tightrope between the possible/probable and the pull of spectacle, and for the most part Police Story 2 keeps its balance.

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