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Saturday, January 10, 2009

SUPERCOP -- DVD review by porfle

The plot of SUPERCOP (1992) isn't all that riveting--just your basic undercover cop stuff--but that doesn't matter since it's really just an excuse to present us with a series of cool fights and mindblowing stunts. And as far as that goes, this is the really good stuff.

Originally known as POLICE STORY 3, the film opens with Jackie as Inspector Chan Ka Kui being given a dangerous undercover assignment to infiltrate a major drug ring in mainland China. Posing as a convict, Jackie helps master criminal Panther (Wah Yuen) escape from prison and is introduced to the big cheese, Chaibat (Ken Tsang), who puts him on the payroll. Working with Inspector Jessica Yang of INTERPOL (Michelle Yeoh, here billed as "Michelle Khan"), who poses as his sister, Jackie then begins to throw various monkey wrenches into the drug overlord's crime machine.

This is Jackie Chan in his prime and he's in top form here, whether hanging from the rope ladder of a helicopter as it swoops back and forth over the city or fighting off bad guys atop a moving freight car. An early scene filmed in an actual police training school allows him to show off his martial arts skills. The rest of the time he's doing stunts that would have most action heroes screaming like little girls, while investing it all with his own brand of goodnatured, self-effacing humor.

Keeping up with Jackie every step of the way is Michelle Yeoh, who handles most of the frenetic martial-arts action and contributes some of the most breathtaking stunts in the film. One scene that continues to astound every time I see it is the one in which she jumps a motorcycle onto a moving train. No special effects, no stuntwoman--she just freakin' did it, and it took multiple takes, too! Her balletic fighting skills are on display throughout the film as well, and they're exhilarating to watch.

With some grand locations in and around mainland China at his disposal, director Stanley Tong stages some of the most amazing action sequences ever filmed and it's all for real--with the exception of some occasional safety wires--which makes it all the more exciting. The battle that takes place in a drug lord's rural compound is as explosive as the finale of a James Bond movie. The prison escape, the car chase with Michelle Yeoh hanging from a speeding van as various vehicles crash into it, Jackie's incredible helicopter ladder stunt, and the climactic fight atop a freight train add up to action entertainment at its best.

Dragon Dynasty's 2-disc DVD is their usual deluxe package. The film is presented in 2.35:1 widescreen and 5.1 Dolby Digital, both of which are fine. You can choose to listen to it in either Cantonese or badly-dubbed English, with English or Spanish subtitles. Hong Kong cinema expert Bey Logan provides his usual enthusiastic, fact-filled commentary. The closing credits are accompanied by some startling footage of stunts gone wrong.

The second disc contains substantial interview segments with Jackie and Michelle, along with director Stanley Tong and Jackie's bodyguard and trainer, Ken Lo. Jackie talks about the making of the film and also expresses his disapointment with the editing changes made for the American release. Michelle reveals herself to be quite the adrenaline junkie as she describes her urge to continue doing bigger and more exciting stunts and the thrill that she gets from it. Hearing her describe that amazing motorcycle jump onto a moving train is especially interesting (she'd never even been on a motorcycle until a week before filming it!) She also talks about hanging off of a speeding van in heavy traffic and accidentally falling onto the pavement after crashing into the hood of a car. I don't mind saying that stuff like this takes a kind of nerve that I'll never have.

This ideal team-up between superstars Chan and Yeoh is an absolute must-see for their fans. Lighthearted and lightweight, but heavy with jaw-dropping action and stunts, SUPERCOP is Jackie Chan at his best.


Unknown said...

hmmmm well the motorbike is on a wire rig for Michelle's shots, and its Bruce Law in drag.doing the real motorcycle jump... whooooopsy....bigmike the spoiler

Porfle Popnecker said...

Shhhh...don't tell anybody!