Friday, 29 March 2013

Police Story 3: Supercop

Title: Police Story 3: Supercop
Director: Stanley Tong
Released: 1992
Starring: Jackie Chan, Michelle Yeoh, Maggie Cheung, Yuen Wah, Kenneth Tsang, Bill Tung, Lo Lieh, Josephine Koo, Kelvin Wong, Phillip Chan

Plot: Insp. Chan (Chan) is sent undercover in mainland China, to break up a drug smuggling ring being run by drug lord Chailbat (Tsang) and his henchman Panther (Wah) who Chan is forced to break out of prision in order to infiltrate the ring, while reciving support from Interpol agent Jessica Yang (Yeoh)

Review: While intended as a continuation of Chan’s legendry “Police Story” series, this film instead is more of a showcase for Michelle Yeoh, who made her return to acting with this film, after taking a traditional leave of retirement after she married the head of the Hong Kong film production company “The D&B Group” Dickson Poon. Luckily for her fans the marriage didn’t last and upon her divorce from Poon in 1992 she made her return to acting, starting with this film which it’s safe to say made for a memorable return.

Still if anyone was to provide a female counterpart to Chan it would for my money have to be Yeoh, who throughout her career established herself as one of the key female action stars in Hong Kong cinema alongside the likes of Anita Mui and Maggie Cheung, who would all appear together in Yeoh’s next film “The Heroic Trio” while Cheung also appears here for the final time in the series as Chan’s long suffering girlfriend May. Here Yeoh handles the majority of the martial arts scenes, as film is more of a heroic gunplay role for Chan, outside of a showcase fight scene at the start of the film and during the climatic showdown on top of a moving train in what is possibly one of the most action packed finales ever!

While the idea of Chan in a heroic gunplay role might seem like a strange one especially after his horrible attempt at portraying a tough guy in the “The Protector” whose commercial and critical failure did at least provided the catalyst for the original “Police Story”, a film which many including myself regard as Chan’s best film. Atleast here he keeps a fun edge to proceedings with his usual slapstick antics, which is always a surreal thing to see in the midst of a heated gunfight, yet Chan’s charm as always makes it work, while Yeoh seems equally happy to join in as the two make for such a fun double act it only makes it more of a shame that they haven’t made more films together.

Equally still present is Chan’s legendry stunt work, as he continues here to find new ways to almost kill himself, with the highlight being the scenes were he hangs from a rope ladder underneath Chailbat’s helicopter during the climax. The climax to this film alone is worth checking out the film for, as it is shot by Tong with such flawless flow it is literally jaw dropping to see how he continually adds to it starting with Chan trying to push a runaway van up a hill, before breaking into a car chase and finally a fight on top of speeding train while containing not a hint of CGI which peppers current action films, as only further highlighted by the traditional credits outtake roll, which this time also gets the added bonus of being sound tracked to Tom Jones singing “Kung Fu Fighting” and Devo’s “Supercop”. This time though Chan is not alone when it comes to pulling off thrilling stunts, as Yeoh proves than willing to do her own stunt work which includes jumping a motorcycle onto a moving train, which only adds to what is already one hell of a comeback movie for her.

Stepping away from the director’s chair after directing the first two films, Chan here hands the reigns over to Tong, for surprisingly only his second feature film after his self-funded debut “Stone Age Warriors” yet despite this he proves himself to have the same eye for action as Chan, with this film marking the start of a productive relationship between them, with Tong being responsible for several of Chan’s best films including his breakthrough Hollywood movie “Rumble In The Bronx”. This change in director doesn’t greatly alter the Police story format, though Tong does have more of an interest in scenes of epic destruction as highlighted by destruction of a fortified drug production lab, which is blown to splinters thanks to a handful of well-aimed missiles and over the top explosions. Equally what Tong brings to the film is a slightly darker direction than seen in the first two films, mainly through drug lord Chailbat and his henchman Panther who are not opposed to random acts of violence and actually provide Chan with a viable threat throughout, even if Chailbat becomes slightly OTT by the finale when he kidnaps May while constantly sneering at Chan from his helicopter. Sadly when the Chan and Yang have their cover blown it less of a dramatic event as you would expect, especially when Tong builds up the suspense so well over the course of the film, it end up feeling slightly anti-climatic.

While Chan these days might be less willing to put his body on the line, which is equally not too surprising seeing how he is as of the time of writing this now almost 60 and those bones don’t heal as quick as they used to, something seen with the noticeable toning down of his stunt work as he concentrates more on making films in the Hollywood system, making it perhaps more fun to revisit these earlier films, especially when this another strong entry in the “Police Story” franchise even though thanks to its UK title of just “Supercop” a lot of people still think that the series ended at part 2, not realising that film along with “First Strike” are part of the same series. Still despite not featuring much in the way of martial arts from Chan, it is still a fun outing and one which only helped to further Yeoh’s profile as she set out on the path to becoming very much a star in her own right.


  1. Just watched this recently. Great flick, I'd rate it just below the original Police Story. That bit where Michelle Yeoh landed the bike on the train roof was incredible. From the outtakes it looked like they didn't use any wires!

    By the way, have you seen the spin-off to this - Project S (confusingly it's also sometimes called Supercop or Supercop 2 or Once a Cop). It stars Michelle Yeoh as the same character and has a brief (and embarrasing) cameo by Jackie Chan. Not quite in the same league as this flick but still worth watching for Yeoh's stunt work.

    1. I'm still surprised that more people havn't seen this, though saying that I did get this confused with "Supercop 2" whose cover is essentially the same just with Michelle Yeoh on the cover.

      I love the stunt work in this movie and Chan makes for such a double act with Yeoh, that it only makes it more of a shame that they didn't make more movies together. The Finale is worth watching the film before, especially for how it continually escalates with a flawless flow aswell as featuring the bike jump, which you rightfully said was done without wires and only with what appears to be a pile of cardboard boxes for a crash mat...gotta love the H&S of the Hong Kong film industry.


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