Police Story 2 (1988) / Action-Comedy
aka Ging chaat goo si juk jaap
aka Jackie Chan's Police Story
aka Kowloon's Eye
aka Police Force II
MPAA Rated: PG-13 for violence, nudity and language
Running Time: 101 min., 92 min. US theatrical release, 121 min. Japanese and 2006 DVD release
Cast: Jackie Chan, Maggie Cheung, Lam Kwok-Hung, Bill Tung, John Cheung, Benny Lai, Charlie Cho, Chor Yuen, Lau Ching Wan (cameo)
Director: Jackie Chan
Screenplay: Jackie Chan
Review published March 3, 2007
I'm going to have to put a proverbial asterisk on the rating to this review, as I chose to watch a version that is significantly different than the one that many fans of writer-director-star Jackie Chan (Operation Condor 2, The Young Master) have seen over the years, and may explain the reason why I don't agree with the assessment that this is better than the first film. The version available to me at the time of this review is the very lengthy 121-minute version that has been released on DVD by the Weinstein Company, which may have been the wrong choice. The biggest problem that I have with Police Story 2, at least in this cut, is the near sleep-inducing scenes of excessive padding. With the US release chopped down a good half hour, I suspect that the shorter releases will be much more tolerable, and might even be passable fare for Jackie Chan fans, but, as of this writing, I haven't seen it trimmed down to acceptable length.
Set after the events of Police Story, due to his increasingly reckless way of busting criminals, police detective Jackie is relegated to uniform cop duties by his superior officers, which takes Hong Kong's best cop out of the center of the action. However, the bad guys are still gunning for him, threatening to strike him or the ones he loves down, to the point where he finds himself quitting the force, at the behest of his frightened girlfriend, May (Cheung, It's a Drink It's a Bomb). Once they resolve to take a trip together, all hell breaks loose with a bomb planted at a local mall, with the local cops begging Jackie to stay and take care of things. Upsetting his girlfriend, Jackie gets back into the middle of the action, vowing to take down the ring of demolitions terrorists that are threatening to take many lives for ransom.
Even with a shorter length, Police Story 2 is still only worth watching for the handful of action scenes and incredible stunts, which are worth the price of admission alone for many fans of Hong Kong action. Chan is at his best when it's time to kick some ass, and unfortunately, he doesn't quite do it often enough in this film to reduce the amount of lulls that drain from the overall excitement. Chan's direction is fine, especially in choreographing the death-defying action sequences, alhough his writing is still typical Jackie hokey-joky stuff that has become synonymous with his style over the years. The music, at least on the cut I viewed, is dated, redundant, and never really accentuates the action on the screen, probably just stock tunes injected depending on the mood of what's going on.
Although Jackie's staunchest of fans will no doubt want to own the 121-minute version to get the complete story, my recommendation for the uninitiated is to hunt around for a shorter cut, as the drawn-out scenes of surveillance and chasing are as dull and ultimately fruitless as any you'd see in a comic actioner starring Jackie Chan. Still, even the best of trimming would probably not get this one up to the status of being "good", but at least it would be more watchable than this endurance test of one's attention span. If you really must watch the film, my honest recommendation is to just fast forward through the film and stop whenever it looks like there will be some fighting (a fight in a restaurant, a chase atop a moving bus, and the warehouse finale are must-sees), as those scenes are definitely the best this film has to offer. Without them, there'd be nothing but padding and bad humor, most likely not even interesting as the deleted scenes they were better off being in the first place.
-- Followed by the mostly non-continuity releases known in the US as Supercop, Supercop 2, and First Strike.
Qwipster's rating (for the 121-minute version):
©2007 Vince Leo