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New Police Story Review

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When a violent bank robbery by a vicious gang of punks ends in bloodshed, cocky Hong Kong police inspector Wing (Chan) vows to arrest the culprits. Instead, the gang wipes out Wing’s entire team, plunging Wing into an alcoholic depression. A year later, i

★★★★★

The five police story films to date have been a mixed bag, a sort of cheap ‘made in Hong Kong’ take on the Lethal Weapon series with a distinctly ’80s feel. Although unconnected to the earlier films, New Police Story suffers from the same ill-advised attempts to give dramatic weight to the likeable Chan, an astonishingly gifted physical actor who, dramatically speaking, cannot stretch further than playing Jackie Chan (nobody’s told him that, though — he recently announced that he plans to try his hand at legal drama).

Happily, although the action star is now in his fifties, he shows few signs of slowing down — as evidenced by two terrific action sequences, filmed without the now-customary reliance on CGI or bluescreen. Perhaps the film’s biggest flaw, however, is that the bad guys are so unbelievable that the whole thing begins to feel like the plot of a violent anime or video game — a feeling exacerbated by the gang’s use of the internet to show off its cop-killing spree. Chan’s eternally boyish charm and preternatural action skills just about carry us through, but in the end, this is strictly for the dedicated Chan fan: everyone else should wait for Rush Hour 3.

Sit through the buttock-clenching torpor of the maudlin opening scenes, where Chan’s acting is unwisely pushed to the fore, and you’ll be rewarded with an hour of CGI-free action.