AKA Police Story: Lockdown, Police Story – Back for Law, Police Story Legend, Police Story 2014
Starring Jackie Chan, Liu Ye, Jing Tian, Yu Rong-Guang, Yin Tao, Na Wei, Liu Yi-Wei, Liu Hai-Long, Liu Pei-Qi, Coulee Nazha, Zhou Xiao-Ou, Zha Ka, Zhang Lei
Directed by Ding Sheng
Expectations: I don’t expect much, honestly.
The convention of making a spiritual successor to a film series and attaching the year of production to the title is a common occurrence in the Hong Kong industry. Usually nothing carries over except the general idea of the series, and in the case of Police Story that’s a policeman overcoming insurmountable odds. I guess you could call it a reboot, but from the examples I’ve seen, the new films aren’t necessarily trying to recapture the same energy or style of the originals. Take the difference between Police Story 2013 and New Police Story as an example. New Police Story is a more serious version of the original films — it’s a new Police Story — and still includes many death-defying stunts and fights. Police Story 2013 is an entirely different style for a different time, losing much of the action and going for the tense tone of a thriller.
My point with this long-winded ramble is that while the film’s title makes sense within the context of the Hong Kong industry, I feel like the English-speaking audience would have watched it more open-minded without a connection to Jackie’s well-loved, action-packed series. Nearly every review I glanced at was negative, and many of them referenced how much better previous Police Story movies were, so my logical conclusion is that the title connection clouded the viewing experience somewhat. I find myself trying to decipher the largely negative reaction to Police Story 2013 because I loved the film, specifically because it was a different take on the idea.
Police Story 2013 is an odd beast of a movie, though, I must admit. This time around Jackie Chan plays Zhong Wen, a mainland police officer who seems to specialize in hostage negotiations. He ambles around a crowded street of nightclubs and bars, looking for the Wu Bar. He looks confused and alienated from the busy surroundings, and that about sums up my feelings at that point in the film, too. Once he finds where he’s going, he meets with his estranged daughter, Miao Miao (Jing Tian). She’s dating the bar’s suave owner, Wu Jiang (Liu Ye), and seemingly doing anything she can to rebel and disgust her rigid, policeman father. The story slowly develops and blossoms into a hostage negotiation from here, with the characters trapped inside the bar for much of the movie. If this doesn’t sound like much of a Police Story movie, you’re right, and that’s why I think titling it something different for its US release might have helped its perception.
Next up in this chronological journey through the films of Jackie Chan is Mabel Cheung’s A Tale of Three Cities! Jackie isn’t in it, but it is a dramatized version of his parents’ story that Cheung documented in Traces of a Dragon! See ya then!