New Police Story (15)

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The Independent Culture

Jackie Chan returns to Hong Kong, but not to form, to play a police inspector who's reduced to a spirit-swigging wreck when his team is wiped out by a sadistic gang of cop-killers. Of course, he gets back on his feet eventually, and he applies those feet to the villains' faces in a delirious climactic fight in a toy shop. But we have to wait a long while for this pay-off, and there's not much to do in the meantime except watch Chan staggering around pretending to be tipsy. In short, New Police Story is a film that relies on Jackie Chan's skills as a dramatic actor, which is a bit like a film relying on Jack Nicholson's skills as a martial artist: it's just not a very good use of resources.

Chan's efforts to be a serious thespian aren't helped by the baddies, either. If you're going to make a grim thriller about murder and redemption, the murder probably shouldn't be committed by punky-haired rich kids who could have rollerbladed in from one of the later Police Academy films.

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