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Original Title:
San ging chaat goo si

Hong Kong 2004

Action, Drama

Benny Chan

Jackie Chan
Nicholas Tse
Daniel Wu
Charlie Yeung
Andy On
Charlene Choi
Terence Yin
Dave Wong
Coco Chiang
Kenny Kwan
Hayama Go
Deep Ng

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New Police Story

Story: A group of five teenagers, lead by ruthless Joe (Daniel Wu), keeps the Hong Kong Police busy. After a bank robbery they get into a gunfight with the police and several officers get killed. For the teenagers this is all just a game. For every killed cop you get some score points and with the money of their rich parents they also have the resources to finance their "game".
Chan Kwok-Wing (Jackie Chan) promises the public that he will arrest the culprits in less than three hours. The teenagers think of this as a challange and lure the team around Chan to one of their "playgrounds". Chan's team is ambushed and one cop after another is taken down. Among them is also the brother of his fiancee. Only Chan can survive this deadly game.
The following year he considers himself responsible for the death of his teammembers. He cloisters himself away, starts to drink and avoids his girlfriend Ho Yee (Charlie Yeung). Only young and ambitious Frank (Nicholas Tse) slowly can get Chan out of his mysery, because he has some new clues concerning the case. The group of teenagers is said to oftentimes participate in so called "X-Games". For Chan and Frank a dangerous hunt begins, but it still seems to be Joe who is making the rules...

Review: After Jackie Chan's long absence from HK cinema, as he has been taking on some American productions, it feels good to see him return to his origins. His next HK-movie was supposed to be a sequel to his very successful "Police Story" trilogy! But don't get confused by the title, because apart from that the movie has nothing in common with the original series. Chan plays a whole different character, the movie has surprisingly almost no humour and director Benny Chan gives the film a fresh, slick and at times even dark look. This is nothing we would have expected from a new Chan-flick and that's exactly what's making this one something special, indeed!

Chan, as an aged police officer, who believes to be responsible for the deaths of his teammates can show more of his emotional side this time. Sottish and staggering through the streets without any meaning in life anymore he oftentimes has a look of vacuity or just cries until his eyes become red. This somehow seems like a mature performance of Jackie Chan and you really have to ask yourself if Chan actually wants to build up some acting integrity, finally. He definitely makes a step into the right direction and if some of the melodramatic scenes wouldn't have felt that composed, one in fact would have believed his numerous shed tears.
It was a pretty good choice to introduce Chan as the old bitter and chapfallen cop. Chan isn't young enough anymore to give his typical clownlike performance and to have realized this he deserves a special word of praise. It nearly seems as if he is at last working on changing his image. You just have to look at his following roles like the one in "The Myth".

At Chan's side there is Nicholas Tse ("The Promise"), who can easily win the audience's sympathy with his open and affable nature. His character seems a bit comiclike sometimes, however, he is the one who brings some color into the movie and is a good contrast to the melodramatic rest of the movie. Fortunately, his portrayel is not the typical wacky one of a Canto-Popstar, but he actually has a nice background story and a few attributes that make him a good supplement to Chan. Even Charlene Choi, one half of the "Twins", isn't really disturbing, as she has only a relative small appearance and therefore is just a little bit annoying in one single scene.
On the side of the bad guys there is among others Andy On, who has two nice to watch fights against Chan, which are actually the only two in the whole movie, and then there is also Daniel Wu ("One Night in Mongkok"). Wu can nearly provide us with a real character, his acting abilities become better and better every movie and one even is certain that he could have brought out more of his role if the script would have provided him with more. As it is he plays the pitiable bad guy, who was physically abused by his father, a police-man, and now has a incredible strong hostility against all cops, which led him to create a deadly game. Yet, at the end, he just remains too shallow.

Storywise "New Police Story" is not really demanding, of course, but the plot around a gang of teens being the kids of rich families, who start to have no perspective in life, lose themselves in videogames and somewhen out of boredom decide to transfer their "amusement" into the real world, is pretty decent. Nevertheless, in my opinion videogames are everything but the source for raising the potential for violence, but on the contrary can be a way of getting rid of bad emotions. But that's not important as the portrayed kids in this movie are individuals who would have lost their grip on reality anyway.
This time Chan's opponents are everything but what we are used to and so it's also no wonder that after their clashing he doesn't come out as the fulgent winner until the end. His love story with Ho Yee is not bad, but it just takes a step into the background way too often and gets always in the center of events when a little bit of drama is needed in the movie. Therefore Charlie Yeung hasn't much to do and additionally some scenes even feel somewhat kitschy, especially the last one. To top it all the choral music, which is somehow inappropriate anyway, make these moments even more cheesy, ultimately becoming one of the movie's real sore points.

Naturally, there are lots of stunts again! You can see that Chan is getting old, because he works more with wires and fast cuts than he used to in the past, but for an at the time of shooting 50-years old guy his efforts are astonishing. The skyscraper climbing scene is impressive, but the real highlight is the scene in which a bus gets out of control and demolishes a whole shopping arcade. The incredible amounts of glass flying through the air are a great innuendo to the original "Police Story".

There is lots of action, Benny Chan ("Divergence") imbues the film with a modern slick look and the fact that the movie is more serious and dramatic as one would have expected only adds to the good overall picture. At the end the movie might just be simple entertainment, but it's captivating entertainment, nevertheless. "New Police Story" lives up to its name and for this it deserves a big thumbs up!

(Author: Manfred Selzer)
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