I’ll never not be a fan of Jackie Chan.
Sure he suffers from foot-in-mouth disease, but as with Mel Gibson and Alec Baldwin before him I’ve learned to appreciate the art even more than the artist. To that end Chan has provided us with incredible entertainment over the years, often at the detriment of his own physical well being, and one of his greatest achievements is the Police Story film franchise that started way back in 1985 (and includes Supercop and First Strike).
And now the sixth film, saddled with the somewhat ridiculous moniker of Police Story 2013, is scheduled to open in Chinese theaters later this month. (Seven days before the start of 2014 to be precise, meaning the film will already be dated just one week into its release.) As with 2004’s New Police Story, the film actually bears no connection to the character of Kevin “Jackie” Chan who helped make the first four so damn entertaining. Instead, Chan plays an Interpol officer in mainland China who finds himself investigating a mysterious group kidnapping of some bar patrons. Also like the previous film, this one seems more focused on drama and gritty violence than on goofy shechanigans. Yeah, that’s right. Shechanigans.
Check out the teaser for Police Story 2013 below.
This is the fourth feature from director Ding Sheng who also directed the excellent Little Big Soldier, which not coincidentally also starred Chan. The film co-stars Liu Ye as the main villain and Jing Tian as Chan’s daughter who will most likely end up kidnapped at some point.
As stated above, this isn’t the first time Chan has gone darker and more dramatic. New Police Story took the series in a grittier direction, but Chan’s first real stab at it was with 1985’s The Protector. Meant to be his big entry into Hollywood, the movie ended up being a bust for everyone involved. Chan actually made major cuts (nudity, graphic violence) and shot additional footage (more fight scenes) for its Hong Kong release. He released Heart of a Dragon that same year, and while it’s a Hong Kong production the film is far more of a drama than a fight film. Chan plays a cop (of course), but the main gist of the film is him trying to care for his mentally challenged brother played by Sammo Hung, who also directed.
Later films like Miracles and Gorgeous dipped a high-kicking toe into some dramatic waters, but they made sure to deliver on the action in a far more entertaining manner too. It wasn’t until 2009’s Shinjuku Incident that he attempted a serious role again, and he received well-deserved acclaim for his performance in the drama about Chinese immigrants facing troubles in Japan. He followed that two years later with his most serious film to date, 1911. It lacks even a hint of fun as it tells the story of the founding of the Republic of China, and while it features some larger scale action too much of it is dry and lifeless. It doesn’t help that the movie is more interested in being pro-Chinese than it is in being a worthwhile movie.
That last one aside, Chan does a fine job with the serious roles and dramatic action, so I for one am excited to see what Police Story 2013 can deliver. We’ll find out some time in 2014.