Been a little while since I’ve posted. All sorts of reasons (including a very expensive visit to the Dentist), and of course that means there’s a monster backlog of things to write about. And to be frank, I can’t see me doing that. So, for my return after a small absence, lets have a look at the latest Jackie Chan film to it the silver screen. I have never been totally sold on Mr Chan’s movies, but the original “Police Story” is a delight, and I actually rather liked the “New Police Story” reboot. So would the latest reboot be equally enjoyable? Read on my faithful readership…
In “Police Story 2013”, after yet another stressful day on the front lines, Policeman Zhong Wen (Jackie Chan) makes his way to a gaudy nightclub to meet up with his estranged daughter Miao (Tian Jing). Zhong is already uncomfortable in these surroundings, which is made worse when he finds she is using the situation to introduce him to her fiancé, the own of the club Wu Jiang (Ye Liu). Zhong is very upset about this, but is distracted by various strange and familiar people in the club. Events take a disturbing turn when suddenly all hell breaks loose, and the real plan becomes clear. Ye Liu has masterminded this to be a kidnapping of sorts, to gather together various witnesses to the death of his sister some months before. Can Zhong work from within the confines of this mass kidnapping, save the day, AND rescue the father/daughter relationship?
Shall we start with the elephant in the room? This may be called “Police Story”, but it has nothing to do with either the original franchise, nor the more recent reboot of “New Police Story”. Chan doesn’t play either of the characters from those films, and the setting is very much the Mainland. This things I could probably deal with. The problems with the film however run much deeper.
Firstly, the action is fairly basic. Yes, we all know Jackie is getting on for his 6th decade now, so to expect him to risk life and limb jumping around is pretty unrealistic. But there are other actors in the movie that could take up the slack, and a single fight (which our hero actually loses) seems to be the limit of the physical ambitions of the movie. There are some attempts at excitement during various flashbacks, but they are tempered in terms of enjoyment because they honestly don’t really add anything to the main story. I don’t just mean they are extraneous, but they frankly seem to have nothing to do with the film at all.
Next, the film is terribly grim. But not in a serious and dramatic way. It’s just awfully dour. Any attempts at humour are hidden so far as I couldn’t detect them. Worse still, the first half of the film, the setup? It is just terribly boring. When we get to the second half, and we enter a Rashomon-style retelling of a key event from the past, things improve ever-so slightly. But only in the sense you feel something is going on. The event itself is fairly minor really, and one can’t help feeling that the machinations that have taken place to get these people in one place really have been far too much and involved. There’s nothing here that wouldn’t have been in a police report, there isn’t enough he said-she said confusion to make a multi-person kidnapping and effective prison break necessary whatsoever. And one particular reveal is just stupid. In reasoning and execution
Performances? Somewhat mixed. Chan is utterly lacking his usual effervescence. Love him or loathe him, you have to say a Jackie Chan film lacking his undoubted charisma is a bit of a mistake. Ye Liu is obviously way better than this material. But worst of all is how Tian Jing is let down by the script. For the first 30-40 minutes shes an interesting, sassy, difficult young woman. You can believe she might be Zhong’s daughter. Until she suddenly turns into a pathetic girly-girl. Its a waste, and to me pretty offensive.
It is all filmed MTV style with choppy hand-held flashbacks, over saturation, and utterly fails to make any use of the nightclub setting which could at least have been an interesting visual experience. The whole thing is noisy and clumsy. I did somewhat like director Ding Shen’s "Underdog Knight", but this is frankly dreadful on every level – Story, script, visuals, most of the acting.
I know it has been a while since I posted. And I do wish the film that was on the tip of my fingertips was a good one. Sadly? Not Recomended