Director: Kirk Wong
Starring: Jackie Chan, Kent Cheng, Law Kar-ying, Christine Ng, Ken Lo, Blackie Ko, Pan Lingling
Released in 1993, Jackie Chan’s Crime Story is based on the kidnapping of Wang Tei-huei, a business tycoon and one of Asia’s wealthiest men. The film is notable for being a generally somber and serious film, which, at the time, was a huge departure from action-comedy genre of films for which Jackie was known. Having been released in the same year as the wacky manga adaptation, City Hunter, Crime Story was the bigger success, earning Jackie a Golden Horse award, his second consecutive win, having won the year previous for Police Story 3.
Jackie plays Eddie Chan, a police officer in charge of the kidnapping investigation. Partnered with Officer Hung (Kent Cheng), he finds many difficulties in finding leads and finishing busts, unknowing that Hung himself is among the cadre behind the crime. As he uses his detective skills to get closer to the truth and the kidnapping victim, he finds himself beset by procedural bureaucracy, Hung’s hired goons, and the emotional effects of firing his gun in the line of duty. With time running out, will Eddie expose Hung and get the victim back?
Of note is how serious the film is. There is nary a smile anywhere in the film, replaced simply with hard hitting action and the drama of a police procedural. The film moves at a quick clip and very good with keeping the viewer’s attention throughout. The film is shot in many dark and muted tones which add to the somber nature of the film’s premise and events. The music is a bit forgettable but serves its purpose, though the sound direction is particularly good with gunfire sounding loud and crisp and the creaking sounds of ships and the crunch of bamboo really immersing the viewer.
Jackie is very good as Eddie and he handles the dramatic moments with as much motivation as he handles his action scenes. The hardworking nature of his character in the pursuit of justice is commendable, if not a bit lionized towards what a police officer truly should be. Kent Cheng’s Hung is a true slime ball and easy to hate. When Jackie catches up to him, you feel like he has really deserved what comes to him. There is a great beat down in the vein of Heart of Dragon, Jackie fans will know exactly which sequences to which I am referring. Action of Jackie and his stunt team is at good work here; with some truly painful looking stunts, well choreographed fight exchanges, and chases, there is a lot to recommend when it comes to the action.
Crime Story is one of the more interesting of the 90’s Jackie films. Being quite dark and moody, it is a whole different animal from what many fans expect when they see ‘Jackie Chan’ on the poster. Being one of Jackie’s first attempts to break out of the comedy mold for which he is known, Crime Story is also one of his best. It is a dark and gritty cop film which not only showcases Jackie’s trademark physical ability, but his acting chops as well. While not a memorable as his classic, Police Story series or his ‘Three Brothers’ films, Crime Story is nonetheless one of the best pure motion pictures that Jackie has made and will impress those looking for a serious police film. Highly recommended.
You may like this film if you liked: SPL and Infernal Affairs