Genre: Action Comedy and Martial Arts Running Time: 2 hrs. 2 min.
Release Date: August 20th, 1988 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Director: Jackie Chan Actors: Jackie Chan, Maggie Cheung, Kwok-Hung Lam, Bill Tung, John Cheung, Charlie Cho, Yuen Chor, Ben Lam, Chi Fai Chan, Isabella Wong, Ann Mui
ore like a television show than a feature film, “Police Story 2” starts with a recap, which shows a highlight reel of the best stunts from the previous chapter, accompanied by the catchy theme music. The plot itself picks up almost immediately after the events of “Police Story,” with Detective Sergeant Chan Ka Kui (Jackie Chan) being reprimanded for demolishing a fancy penthouse apartment and destroying quite a bit of a shopping mall – including tearing apart a grandiose chandelier that was given a million-dollar price tag. But instead of getting thrown in prison for having held Superintendent Raymond Li (Kwok-Hung Lam) hostage at gunpoint, Chan is instead simply demoted back to a traffic cop – which is perhaps worse.
This seems to please Chan’s longtime girlfriend May (Maggie Cheung), who prefers the less dangerous life of a simple policeman. It also amuses crime lord Joe Chu, who, thanks to a gross miscarriage of justice, is back on the streets, enjoying his freedom. Chu’s lawyer (John Cheung) is similarly ready to gloat, going so far as to follow Chan around, specifically to harass May and her mother – with threatening messages about the hazards of being involved with the “supercop.” And sure enough, Chan can’t sit idly by; taking the bait, he seeks out the loudmouthed attorney to level the playing field. Of course, after he smashes up a restaurant, along with every thug in it, he’s forced to resign to avoid an onslaught of lawsuits. But, just as he’s about to go on vacation to Bali, Chan is pulled back into the thick of things when a bomb threat is called in to the arcade right next to where he happens to be standing.
Once again written, directed, and starring Jackie Chan (he also sings the theme song!), this one-man-army of a production sports all the action and humor audiences have come to expect. The slapstick still pops up at regular intervals, the comedic use of props populates the fight sequences, and the martial arts mayhem features plenty of hard-hitting, expertly choreographed combat. Stuntmen are tossed around like rag-dolls (a literal playground brawl is one of the better bits), making it impossible to imagine that no one was hurt during the making of the film (and the outtakes at the end confirm it).
Additional comedy is supplied through sitcom scenarios surrounding May (Chan can’t seem to catch a break with his girl), as well as from Chan’s superiors, who, quite incompetently, dismiss and then re-recruit their best man over and over again, almost like something out of a Laurel and Hardy routine. Even during special missions, the script can’t help but to include extra gags – such as passing gas in an elevator or Wong’s (Bill Tung) frequent bathroom breaks or Chan’s undercover disguises or the ragtag backup unit’s unprofessionalism (including a sexy girl interrogation squad). In fact, the major fault with “Police Story 2” is the attention to comedy over actual martial arts moments, resulting in a poorly balanced, overlong picture that is neither outrageously funny in its levity nor incredibly awe-inspiring in its action sequences. It’s as if Chan was trying to make a generic Hollywood buddy-cop comedy instead of his usual kung fu extravaganzas. Still, it’s difficult not to be wowed by the climax, which falls back on the lengthier showdowns that signify classic martial arts epics.
– Mike Massie