Say what you will about his acting cameos, but filmmaker Quentin Tarantino knows his cinema. In 2009, he noted that 1992’s SUPERCOP featured “the greatest stunts ever filmed in any movie ever.” The third installment of the POLICE STORY series–which began in 1985 with Jackie Chan in the director’s chair–marks the first of several collaborations between Chan and director Stanley Tong. The action superstar reprises his role as “Kevin” Chan Ka-Kui of the Hong Kong Police Force, an unorthodox inspector who uses his wit and borderline-superhuman fighting skills to bring criminals to justice. In his latest assignment, he goes undercover to help spring a convict named Panther (Yuen Wah) from a prison labor camp in order to get close to his drug dealing brother, Chaibat (Kenneth Tsang). Assisting and often saving Kevin from certain death is Inspector Yang (Michelle Yeoh), an INTERPOL director from the mainland military police who assumes the identity of Kevin’s country yokel “sister” during the operation.
While the film certainly has some mature subject matter, there’s also plenty of physical comedy and amusing bickering between Chan and Yeoh. Saying this film has action scenes is like saying Scandinavia has pickled herring. Some of the highlights include a guided tour of Kuala Lumpur’s skyline by Jackie Chan hanging from a helicopter ladder, a fight scene on top of a moving train, and a failed negotiation between heroin traffickers (including legendary Hong Kong film veterans Lieh Lo and Wai Shum) that devolves into a wild shoot-out with more exploding huts than a Filipino exploitation film about the Vietnam War. SUPERCOP also features at least two rare instances of violence-by-durian. Fans of the sort of inventive fight choreography upon which Jackie made his name might be left a bit cold given the emphasis on stunt-driven spectacle, but this is one of the finest action films the golden age of Hong Kong cinema ever produced.
Despite concerted attempts to “out-Jackie” himself through progressively more insane stunts, Jackie is very nearly overshadowed by Yeoh’s own commitment to performing mind-boggling feats of danger. As is often the case with Jackie Chan films, you’ll want to stay for the end credits to see all the ways things could have gone terribly wrong. Following that, you should feel free to leave, unless you want to hear a really bizarre title song performed by Devo.
SUPERCOP (1992) Dir. Stanley Tong, 91 minutes
Wednesday 4/30, 1:00PM
Boston Public Library (Honan-Allston Branch)
300 North Harvard Street
Allston, MA 02134
** FREE **