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Thursday, 17 May 2018

Retro Review: Crime Story (1993) #jackiechan

Crime Story aka Police Dragon (Cheung ngon cho)
Cast: Jackie Chan, Kent Chang, Law Kar-ying, Blackie Ko, Ken Lo
Genre: Action
Hong Kong Box Office Gross: over $27 million

Plot: An honest Hong Kong cop, guilt-ridden over his participation in a recent shoot-out, attempts to save a real estate developer kidnapped under his care

'Heavy In The Narrative, But Weak In The Action Stakes & Is Dull'

1993's Crime Story was Jackie Chan's follow-up to Police Story 3: Supercop that came out the year before and is one of his most serious films.

Cop Eddie Chan is a loner cop, who gets injured whilst attempting to foil a bank robbery when he gets a call that a businessman is kidnapped by a gang. As Chan digs even deeper, he stumbles across evidence that a crooked cop, Detective Hung may be involved in the kidnapping. 

Crime Story is a darker movie compared to many of his offerings but it is so far not the easiest Jackie Chan movie to sit through and endure; henceforth, it tries to carve out a different type of action hero role for him that relies less on goofy comedy and physical fisticuffs and more on emphasising his acting skills. In fact, this was originally a Jet Li vehicle, only for Chan to snag the lead at the 11th hour. Chan handles the dramatic aspects well and he is a great actor, not just as an action star. However, the result is one where it doesn't compete with the likes of Police Story 1 and 3, Project A and Armour of God, particularly in the high-end action stakes. The sufficient plot, especially, is offset by a story that I didn't find enjoyable or interesting enough. In fact, I found myself droning off and bored as I watched this. 

Chan, himself, and the action scenes are left to carry and elevate the movie, when the story couldn't do so, and yet, but for the last 15 to 20 mins, Crime Story just didn't bombard and excite me. Additionally, unlike Police Story's Kevin, I couldn't quite put my finger on Eddie as a character, as he just wasn't as fleshed out. 

There are far fewer fights than in a standard Jackie Chan flick and there is just isn't enough action that I truly wanted, despite this film being based on a true story.  

1985's The Protector may have had its faults; it's clunky, uneven in places, but arguably, that one is a far more entertaining movie than Crime Story. With Crime Story, if there is one thing, is that this is the most unconventional, un-Jackie Chan film and it's a drama first, martial arts movie second. 

Fans and people who admired and enjoyed Jackie Chan's turn in 2017's The Foreigner will probably lap this one up, whereas those who favour his movies where he gets to beat the bad guys up a great deal and embrace his goofy and light-hearted side may feel Crime Story is just not to their tastes. 

Final Verdict:

In watching Crime Story, this would have been a better fit for either Jet Li or Donnie Yen. 1993's Crime Story is essentially Police Story minus the fun, entertainment, wall-to-wall kung fu fighting action & enjoyment and in its place is a hugely plot-driven movie that execution-wise, is all too stale. If you want to see a movie where Jackie Chan relies more on guns and bullets, acting - though he is backed up by a dull script, and less so on his moves, this is it. 

If, however, like me, you want to see Jackie kick a lot of ass in the martial arts action stakes, opt for the Police Story movies. 


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