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A police raid on a drug gang goes awry, and for detective Kevin Chan, nothing seems to go right from there. Even when the gang boss is brought to trial, he is acquitted when Kevin's evidence disappears from under his nose. His attempt to rescue a beautiful but reluctant key witness results in Kevin being wanted for murder and on the run from both the gang and his own squad. To bring the gang to justice he has to find the evidence and the witness--and stay alive long enough to convince his colleagues of his innocence.
For more about Police Story and the Police Story Blu-ray release, see Police Story Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on December 24, 2009 where this Blu-ray release scored 1.5 out of 5.
Starring: Jackie Chan, Maggie Cheung, Brigitte Lin, Kwok-Hung Lam, Bill Tung
Director: Jackie Chan
» See full cast & crew
Police Story Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, December 24, 2009
Jackie Chan's "Police Story" (1985) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Hong Kong-based distributors Kam & Ronson Enterprises. The only supplemental features on this disc are: a collage of Jackie Chan stunts and photo gallery. With optional English subtitles. Region-A "locked".
There is no denying that without Jackie Chan Hong Kong Cinema would have looked quite different. Similar to fellow actors Chow Yun-Fat and Jet Li, he enjoys a massive and very loyal fan base that has greatly influenced the manner in which films are produced and sold in Hong Kong. Unsurprisingly, during the years Chan also became an inspirational figure for a number of young actors and directors outside of his home country.
The first installment in his Police Story trilogy is arguably one of the actor's best films. It is about a young cop, Chan Ka-Kui (Chan), who has been ordered to protect an important witness, Selina (Bridget Lin), who the local authorities hope would testify against a powerful drug lord, Chu Tao (Yuen Chor). Ka-Kui does his best to keep the beautiful Selina out of harm's way - even though she creates all sorts of problems for him - which eventually leads to a serious dispute between him and his girlfriend, May (Maggie Cheung).
While trying to sort things out with May, Ka-Kui gets framed by Tao's men for the murder of a corrupt cop (Kam Hing Ying). In the meantime, Selina is kidnapped and all of the charges against Tao dropped. Forced to hide from his former colleagues as well as Tao's men, Ka-Kui decides to take matters into his own hands - he saves Selina and proceeds to destroy Tao's and his gang.
I remember the first time I saw Police Story, I could not stop laughing. Someone had given me a German VHS tape with two Chan films on it, but they were both dubbed in German. I have no idea who the person dubbing Chan in Police Story was, but I remember quite well how inappropriate his voice was - a raspy, deep baritone that would have been more suitable for a tall and strong German bodybuilder, not a short and extremely agile Chinese man. It was a total mismatch that made for a very unique viewing experience. Much later, after I had bought my first Region-Free DVD player, I imported Police Story from Hong Kong. I had already seen the film with its original audio intact, but this was the first time I saw it in its original aspect ratio.
I mention all of the above because Police Story is one of those films that reached all sorts of different people in all kinds of different versions. It was dubbed, cut, edited and then sold by practically everyone, practically everywhere. Really, contrary to what is often claimed by Hong Kong Cinema pundits, this was the film that made Chan big outside of Asia.
Nowadays, Police Story certainly looks dated, but this further adds to its charm. Seeing Chan desperately trying to earn back the respect of his girlfriend - played by the sweet and still innocent looking Cheung - and then trying to defeat an army of, literally, unbreakable goons is still quite a show.
As Chan became more respected outside of Hong Kong, however, his films began looking more polished. The budgets got bigger and the scripts he had to work with more complex. The sweet innocence and rawness that made Police Story so enjoyable disappeared.
Then Hollywood stepped in and things got even worse. The Rush Hour films did a good chunk of money for their producers, but those who followed closely Chan's career during the years knew exactly why he came to Hollywood.
In 2009, Chan appeared in Yee Tung-Shing's much anticipated Shinjuku Incident, a violent and disturbingly graphic film about an illegal Chinese immigrant looking for his loved one on the streets of Tokyo. Despite positive reviews and an extra shot of publicity, courtesy of the communist authorities in China who banned Shinjuku Incident, however, the film did little to revive Chan's career.
Police Story Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Jackie Chan's Police Story arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Hong Kong-based distributors Kam & Ronson Enterprises.
This is a very problematic transfer; detail and clarity are surprisingly weak while contrast levels are probably the worst I have seen since Asian distributors started releasing on Blu-ray. Edge-enhancement is practically everywhere; at times it is so heavy that it actually affects the film's color-scheme. Macroblocking is also a serious issue of concern; especially during the outdoor scenes, it is extremely easy to spot. Furthermore, there are numerous flecks, scratches and debris that pop up throughout the entire film. There are frame transition problems as well. On top of everything else, there is some constant very heavy flickering that practically makes Police Story unwatchable. To sum it all up, this is indeed a very, very disappointing release that will surely upset a number of different people. (Note: This is a Region-A "locked" release. Therefore, you must have a native Region-A or Region-Free player in order to access its content).
Police Story Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There are three audio tracks on this Blu-ray disc: Cantonese Dolby TrueHD 7.1, Mandarin Dolby TrueHD 7.1 and Thai Dolby Digital EX 6.1.
The inclusion of a Cantonese Dolby TrueHD 7.1 track may suggest a solid audio treatment, but the reality is quite different. This is a very front-heavy mix, which only occasionally takes advantage of the surround channels. Additionally, the bass has been unnaturally boosted, creating all sorts of balance issues. Finally, the mix lacks depth and fluidity. In fact, there are a few scenes in Police Story where it feels like the sound is coming through a cone of some sort. All in all, if you choose to pick this disc up, lower your expectations well in advance so that you are not enormously disappointed once you start watching the film. For the record, Kam & Ronson Enterprises have provided optional English, Traditional Chinese and Thai subtitles for the main feature. When turned on, they appear inside the image frame.
Police Story Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Stunts - a collage of Jackie Chan stunts. (5 min, 480/60i).
Photo Gallery -
Police Story Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Simply put, the type of treatment Jackie Chan's Police Story has received is unacceptable. I hope you do not have one of these Blu-ray discs already in the mail. AVOID.
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