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When a dangerous undercover mission is required to put a high-powered drug lord out of commission, the job goes to the one man fearless enough to take on the task of infiltrating the biggest crime and narcotics syndicate in the Pacific Rim--Detective Kevin Chan. Chan's assignment begins in a prison labor camp where he's sent to retrieve a gangster named Panther, who will lead Chan to Panther's older brother, Chaibat, a drug lord so mighty that the authorities believe his capture will cut the Southeast Asian drug trade in half. Chan learns he won't be solo on this mission when he's joined by his new boss (posing as his sister), Director Yang, who's as elegant as she is skilled in martial arts. In order to break up the syndicate the two detectives--working undercover as Fu Sheng and Hana--must fight Chaibat and his gang in a series of explosive battles in and on cars, motorcycles, and finally atop a moving train after Chan swings wildly from a helicopter among the skyscrapers of Kuala Lumpur.
For more about Supercop and the Supercop Blu-ray release, see Supercop Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on May 25, 2011 where this Blu-ray release scored 2.5 out of 5.
Starring: Jackie Chan, Michelle Yeoh, Maggie Cheung, Kenneth Tsang, Yuen Wah
Director: Stanley Tong
» See full cast & crew
Supercop Blu-ray Review
He may be super, but his Blu-ray isn't.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, May 25, 2011
What we need right now is a super cop!
Few actors may have their careers summarized by the mere mention of their name. James Dean says "cool." Arnold Schwarzenegger says "action." Jackie Chan says "amazing stunts." Supercop is a fun little Action picture that's absolutely representative of Chan's career. Chan plays another likable enough fellow who gets into trouble and gets out of it with his unparalleled skills as both a martial artist and expert stunt man. The plot is secondary in most any Jackie Chan movie; this is a case where most fans come to see the star rather than the movie, to see him in action rather than care about the story surrounding it. Supercop -- also known as Police Story 3 -- does assemble a plot that's fast, witty, fun, and that serves as a suitable frame in which to place the action, but it ultimately falls by the wayside in favor of the picture's death-defying stunts and action pieces that will leave audiences breathlessly cheering for more.
Inspector Chan Ka Kui, or "Kevin" (Jackie Chan, The Karate Kid), is a Hong Kong "super cop" proficient not only in police work but gifted with incredible physicals skills, making him the perfect man to infiltrate a dangerous drug ring. With the help of INTERPOL officer Jessica Yang (Michelle Yeoh, credited as Michelle Khan, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon), Kevin poses as a criminal and is placed in prison where he comes into contact with a man known as Panther (Wah Yuen), a member of the drug cartel Kevin's been charged with infiltrating. Kevin and Panther "escape" from prison, and Kevin goes undercover, complete with a police-provided family that further sells the authenticity of his story and allows him ever-expanding access into the criminal underworld. Can Kevin play along and complete his assignment, or will he need to almost singlehandedly take out the cartel?
The peripherals are at best serviceable. In Supercop, the story is unoriginal, the characters are flat, the dialogue is corny, and the humor is with even the best joke hit-or-miss, but that in no way negates the quality of the movie. Supercop is a rare movie in that it knows its place and works with its strengths, accentuating the positives and making certain that its weak spots are built up to the point that they can withstand enough scrutiny to get by. Ultimately, however, any element outside of the action is present merely to prop up the action. Indeed, Supercop is a charming movie, which is code for "watchable outside of action scenes." It's artistically inconsequential and thematically vacant, but it works incredibly well as sheer entertainment. That comes back to the "knows its place" observation; Supercop rarely slows down to catch its breath (and allow the audience to catch its own) and with every movement that takes place as part of some action scene, the movie is nothing short of a visual wonder.
The primary problem that the picture faces, however, is whether audiences will embrace a movie that's high on action but also high on repetitiveness. The thing with movies featuring actors whose names alone define their style and all but guarantee a certain cinematic experience is that audiences may fatigue on seeing the same thing over and over again. Supercop is routine Chan, no doubt about it, but the beauty of a Jackie Chan movie is that, while they may all be structurally similar, Chan's stunt work is original from one picture to the next. Supercop, and indeed most Jackie Chan movies, is by no means a case of "seen one, seen 'em all;" it is instead a movie packed with awe-inspiring stunts, yes, but Chan isn't a one-trick pony. In Supercop, he uses his environment to his advantage as always but the stunts work into the story. The picture never feels disingenuous or forced; Chan and his co-star Michelle Khan (Michelle Yeoh) manage to do some amazing things in the movie, and do them without the help of digital trickery. Best of all, there's plenty of moves in Supercop that fans won't find anywhere else because they're specific to the plot but as exciting as anything ever captured in a Jackie Chan -- or any other actor, for that matter -- movie.
Supercop Blu-ray, Video Quality
Supercop's Blu-ray image is presented at 1.78:1, cropped to an HDTV "full frame" from its original 2.39:1 theatrical exhibition aspect ratio, and even appears to be unnaturally vertically stretched in a couple of scenes. Despite that problem, the image is reasonably stable. Supercop retains a fair bit of grain, albeit sharp and messy grain, and as such there's no evidence of massive noise reduction. Details range from handsome-to-adequate, the image sometimes capturing fine little nuances all around the frame and not simply in faces and clothing textures. Unfortunately, a fair bit of softness eliminates some finer details in distant shots and around the corners of the frame in many places. Colors are somewhat vibrant if not a bit over-saturated; reds and greens are plentiful, but seem a little overly aggressive in places. The print is in relatively good shape, exhibiting a few random speckles here and there but certainly nothing too terribly detrimental. Some obvious edge halos are present, but banding is more or less absent. Black levels are average, occasionally crushing out a few details but certainly not to a debilitating extent. Framed in its proper aspect ratio, Supercop would pass for a watchable high definition image; unfortunately fans will have to endure the mis-framing should they want to enjoy the other benefits this release brings with it, namely a greater stability and clarity at larger projection sizes.
Supercop Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Supercop limps onto Blu-ray with a serviceable but ultimately disappointing DTS-HD MA 2.0 soundtrack. This one is often ridiculously loud at reference level, and unkempt, too. The speakers are simply overwhelmed by the amount of noise that plays over the opening credits, most of it sloppy and absolutely lacking in all but the most basic definition. The track does extend out to the very limits of the soundstage rather than remaining confined around the middle, but most of the heavier sound effects simply collapse into a pile of sound that only marginally replicates whatever visual they're attempting to support. An extended shootout in chapter nine actually proves somewhat enjoyable; clarity seems somewhat improved despite the retention of the ridiculously high volume, and gunshots are met with a positive, fairly hard-hitting low. Dialogue is dubbed but generally enjoys the necessary accuracy and clarity. Supercop's soundtrack could definitely use a re-balance and a 5.1 configuration to better handle the film's needs as a high-energy Action picture.
Supercop Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Supercop contains one extra, an interview with Actress Michelle Khan (Michelle Yeoh) (480p, 29:03). Khan speaks on her background in marital arts, her personal history, her ascendency into motion pictures, acting alongside Jackie Chan, working on Supercop, and more.
Supercop Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Supercop isn't a super movie -- its peripherals are quite average -- but the film succeeds on the sheer strength of will that is the amazing natural abilities of star Jackie Chan. Much the same may be said of a great number of films starring the Asian martial artist extraordinaire, but in this instance that doesn't degrade one's ability to enjoy the picture. Supercop is a fun little ride that won's satisfy audiences looking for thematic or structural originality or some profound emotional undercurrent, but it's a tough act to beat for its raw ability to entertain at a purely base level. Unfortunately, Echo Bridge's Blu-ray release presents a mis-framed transfer, no 5.1 sound option, and only one extra. Maybe worth a rental for those who have yet to see the movie, but chances are most viewers will want to stick with their DVD copy.
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