dvd review: SUPERCOP


Jackie Chan’s first attempts to make a name for himself with American audiences in the early 1980s were less than spectacular. He starred in The Big Brawl, both of the Cannonball Run movies, and The Protector, none of which conveyed the charisma and talent that had established him as a star in Asia with such films as Drunken Master and Snake in Eagle Shadow. About the only thing those early American films did for Chan was introduce him to a dedicated fan base who sought out his Hong Kong films, and were then able to gloat knowingly about him when he finally made a huge splash in America with Rumble in the Bronx. The success of Rumble in the Bronx made Chan a viable draw with audiences in the United States, and in an effort to make a buck, many of his films were re-packaged for release in America. Between 1995 and 2000, some of Chan’s best Hong Kong films were released in the United States, often under different names, and frequently edited from their original version, as was the case with Police Story 3, a 1992 film released in America as Supercop in 1996.

Easily the most popular of Jackie Chan’s different films series, Police Story spawned four sequels and one spin-off. Supercop, the third film in the series, finds Chan returning as Inspector Chan, a Hong Kong detective with a knack for finding himself in deadly situations that often require him to perform daredevil acts of the most extreme insanity. This time around, Chan is recruited to work undercover and help mainland Chinese forces bust up an international drug empire. Chan teams up with Inspector Yang (Michelle Yeoh a.k.a. Michelle Khan), his equally adept female counterpart within INTERPOL. When Chan helps gang leader Panther (Wah Yuen) break out of prison, he gets in good with the criminal, who is the sinister henchman of the even more nefarious Chaibat (Ken Tsang). With Yang pretending to be his sister, Chan fights alongside Panther and the rest of the gang, earning their trust, until his cover is blown, leading to a dramatic showdown on the streets Malaysia.

Most people would agree that when it comes to Jackie Chan films, story and character take something of a backseat to the fights and the action sequences. If the story is at best easy to follow, or at least only mildly confusing, then that’s all you need as long as Chan delivers what he’s best known for, which is an incredible mix of comedy and action, and the outrageous stunts he performs, often at great danger to his wellbeing. Although the fight sequences are not as memorable as some of his other films, the stunt work is still more than impressive in Supercop. There is an incredible sequence with Chan dangling from the ladder of a helicopter as it flies through the sky, which leads to a fight sequence on top of a moving train. And not to be outdone, Yeoh also has some impressive moves as she hangs from the side of a truck racing through traffic, and jumps a motorcycle on top of the same moving train where Chan is fighting. The dynamic duo also has some noteworthy fights throughout the film, but the most memorable part of Supercop is the extended chase in the third act.

Although it’s not his best film, Supercop ranks among Chan’s better movies, and it is certainly bolstered by Yeoh, who carries her own. The story gets silly and ridiculous, but that’s not exactly uncommon with Chan’s films, and fans of his work know exactly what they’re getting into with this movie.



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