You might not know this, but there are two Jackie Chans. The original Chan was an intense martial artist. His films were quite serious and action packed. While humor was always an element to his style, these early films did not really capitalize on that element. The Asian productions were nearly a genre unto themselves. Still, international stardom was elusive to this talented actor.
The second Jackie Chan is the man most Americans are familiar with. Still a talented martial artist, these films show a lighter side to the actor. Chan has become a character of his own like any James Bond or Jack Ryan. Whatever the character he’s playing, what we’re paying to see is Jackie Chan. In these films, Chan allows his own disarming charm to be the creative force in the film. Humor is always served in generous proportions. At times he is almost the caricature of his former self.
New Police Story is definitely a movement back to his earlier roots. Fans of the mainstream Chan will be more than a little taken aback by this film. The film can actually be considered a remake of sorts of a series of films from Chan’s earlier work. While it might not be intended to be seen in that light, there are attempts to reproduce elements from those films. Here he plays a disgraced cop who wants to prove himself. The action literally never stops even long enough for much exposition. It is not originally filmed in English, so it carries the problems that have caused films like this to be lampooned since the days of Bruce Lee. This might not be a problem, except this is a hard plot to follow under the best of conditions. There are multiple twists and double twists. The ending of the film will, I assure you, be quite confusing in English.
The box calls this 16 x 9 widescreen. What I’m sure they meant is that it’s an anamorphic transfer intended for widescreen sets. The actual aspect ratio is 2.35:1. It’s an excellent transfer. Colors are often a little soft, but are well defined. There’s a touch of grain at times, but really it only serves to add atmosphere. This was likely intended given the digital nature of the source. Contrast is sharp. Black levels will impress. There are no flaws or marks of any kind to detract from this transfer. The bit rate fluctuates quite a bit from under 3 to over 8 mbps, but I don’t really see much compression artifact
The Dolby Digital 5.1 track plays up the film’s action sequences. There are some good surround effects. While I wouldn’t call this an aggressive mix, it is certainly not passive either. It delivers when it needs to. Dialogue is adequate, but as I’ve already described, it’s hard to follow anyway. There’s plenty for your sub to work with here. It sounds awesome cranked up.
Jackie Chan delivers a very sparse commentary track. He’s silent about as much as he talks. The box calls it scene specific. That’s no lie. He’s obviously uncomfortable with the language, so there’s really nothing here to warrant a lot of interest..
A making-of feature clocks in at 15 minutes and is all in Cantonese with subtitles..
Jackie Chan delivers an intro where he mostly complains about his hoarseness from dubbing, and then he provides a personal plea not to buy or watch a bootleg version of the film. I find that more than a little interesting since the Asian marketplace provides a very large percentage of bootlegs.
“English Dubbing” provides a look at an ADR session. It might be a little disheartening to his American fans, as he spends a lot of time criticizing the English language. This is also a very grainy looking presentation.
This is one of those films where I feel the need to offer some warning to potential buyers. Don’t get me wrong, this is a fine film. My concern is the potential for confusion. First off, this film has nothing at all to do with the American Police Story series or films. This is also not Rush Hour. Chan is not the endearing charmer you might have come to love from these American productions. This is Jackie Chan right back to his roots. If that’s what you want to see, you will not be disappointed at all. If you were hoping for Shanghai Knights, “You should fix that attitude.”