Project A Review

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Chan battles it out against some swashbuckling pirates in old Hong Kong.


At the time, this rollicking period adventure-comedy was a risky project for writer-director Jackie Chan, a '70s star who was still struggling to break out of the traditional martial arts format.

Almost two decades later, this genre pirate picture stands tall as both a benchmark moment in Hong Kong cinema and the blueprint for practically all of Chan's career since.

The rebel police figure, the choreographed mass brawling, the bone-breaking stunts and gravity-defying facial expressions- it all started here. Of course, the story merely sequences the set-pieces, but the fights are breathlessly inventive and showcase Chan in his almost indestructible, physical prime.

And for those stubborn latecomers who insist that a dose of the sublime Owen Wilson or the ridiculous Chris Tucker is needed to temper Chan's athleticism, just watch his rapid-fire sparring with his original and best 'buddy', Martial Lawís Sammo Hung.

Perfect martial arts set pieces mark this out as Chan's eruption onto the Western screen.