Crime Story | aka Serious Crime Squad (1993) Review

"Crime Story" Chinese Theatrical Poster

"Crime Story" Chinese Theatrical Poster

AKA: Hard to Die
Director: Kirk Wong
Writer: Teddy Chan, Cheung Chi-sing
Cast: Jackie Chan, Kent Cheng, Law Kar Ying, Au-Yeung Pooi San, Christine Ng, William Tuan Wai Lun, Ken Lo, Wan Faat, Stephen Chan, Poon Ling Ling, Chris Chan, Chan Daat Gong, Johnny Cheung, Chung Fat, James Ha, Blacky Ko, Rocky Lai
Running Time: 107 min.

By Numskull

Jackie Chan in a Category III movie? Yes folks, it’s true. What’s more, it’s good. Not Project A good or Police Story good, but good. Good as long as you watch the real version rather than the Miramax one. Otherwise, it’s not good. In fact, it’s bad. I don’t like bad movies. I get the feeling most of you don’t like bad movies either.

Jet Li was originally slated to play the lead in this movie, but when that ball was dropped, Jackie Chan took it, ran with it, and scored a touchdown; he won the 1993 Golden Horse Award – Best Actor for his portrayal of not-quite-mentally-stable Inspector Eddie Chan, which came as quite a shock to many people. One of the problems Chan faces as such a unique performer is that when he deviates from his (mostly self-imposed) norm, it generates more attention than it really ought to. So many people see this as The Jackie Chan Movie That Is Not Like Other Jackie Chan Movies that it has been held back from getting the reputation it deserves as, simply, A Movie. Those who watch Crime Story expecting to see a light-hearted action comedy typical of its star are in for a rude awakening, and those who won’t watch it because “Jackie Chan is the guy from Rumble in the Bronx, ’nuff said” are missing out. Watch his body language and facial expressions in this movie and you’ll see that he fully deserves to be referred to as an ACTOR, instead of just an “action star” or what have you. Despite what I just said, this film does kind of fit into a “something different” category of some sort where Jackie Chan is concerned, in the fine company of Heart of the Dragon and The Accidental Spy.

A mood-setting soundtrack and visual style nicely complement the fact-based story about a miserly Hong Kong business tycoon getting abducted, which is grim without being depressing, and simplified for the sake of marketability (as if having Asia’s most popular movie star in the lead role wasn’t enough). The ringleader of the kidnappers is a two-faced cop (played by Kent Cheng) whose diatribes about the lack of certainty in the future for members of his profession are not unique in pre-1997 Hong Kong films. This is definitely better than a stereotypical villain with cheesy diabolical laughter.

No shortage of in-your-face, albeit semi-restrained violence to be found in Crime Story’s handful of action scenes, with the highlight being the fight near the end where some bastard unwillingly gets his hands thrust into boiling water, or whatever that stuff is. The film makers declined to include any significant “Jackie-esque” moments or “Chanisms” which would have seriously detracted from the film’s tone and seemed flippant in consideration of the deceased law enforcement agents to whom Crime Story is dedicated.

A very polished JCMFPWDNLJCM (Jackie Chan Movie For People Who Do Not Like Jackie Chan Movies) as well as a good movie in general, Crime Story should not be overlooked or marginalized by anyone. The only real problem is the generic title. It’s so generic, in fact, that Miramax didn’t even bother to change it.

Numskull’s Rating: 7/10

By Ro

This is based on a true story in Hong Kong. A corrupt police officer assists in the kidnapping of a prominent business man. Jackie plays the inspector who unknowingly partners the dirty cop in trying to solve the crime. This film is very different from Jackie’s other movies (he was actually asked to play the part after the original actor backed out). It’s deadly serious, with no comedy whatsoever. If you’re looking for a typical Chan-O-Rama of fun, this isn’t the movie for you. However, the plot is well developed, with some fine acting (I consider this his best ‘serious’ role) and there’s still plenty of fighting and action.

The police psychiatrist in the beginning is pretty annoying, however. She looks more like she’s trying to seduce him than counsel him. Thank God we don’t see much of her. But what’s up with that bad guy kiss???? And don’t think this is the first time I noticed a guy kissing another guy or fondling his hair in Jackie movies – is that the ultimate sign of disrespect in Asia or something?

I read somewhere that Jackie did NOT dub his own voice, but it sure sounded like him to me.

Ro’s Rating: 7.5/10

By James H.

Sometimes when you read other reviews, or even your own, you can see certain things in another light. This is the case with Crime Story. Reading the other reviews, and a long evening, prompted me to re-watch this film.

Some have said that Crime Story is not a “real” Jackie Chan film. For those who say that it is not, I ask why? Why is it not a true Jackie Chan film? Because there aren’t enough fights? Bullshit. No one has ever said something like, “Regarding Henry isn’t a true Harrison Ford movie because he doesn’t kick anyone’s ass.” My theory is that if Jackie stars in it (or directs it) that constitutes a Jackie Chan film.

This film has a very serious tone to it, which is a refreshing change from his other movies. In Crime Story, Jackie plays a Hong Kong cop tracking down a gang of kidnappers. What he does not know is that one of the kidnappers is a cop. Jackie and the corrupt cop are paired together to find the kidnappers. Tension is built throughout the film between the two characters, until it explodes in the climax.

I would like to point out that Kirk Wong is an exceptional director. Crime Story was very well paced and the action exceptionally well done. The opening shootout is great and the end fight is exhilarating. The scene where Jackie confronts the corrupt cop is brilliantly executed as well.

I saw the Dimension release of the film and must say how I was somewhat disappointed with it. Although the picture quality was great, I was appalled with the dubbing. People had told me that the guy who dubbed Jackie was utterly atrocious. I thought that they were exaggerating. There was no hyperbole in that statement. The voice actor was horrible, plain and simple. The music, however, was not horrible. Nor was it exceptional. There were some above average pieces that fit the film perfectly.

Overall, a magnificent film. The only thing now is to convince the video companies (New Line, Dimension, etc.) to release Jackie’s film letterboxed with nice yellow subtitles.

James H’s Rating: 9/10

By Vic Nguyen

Jackie Chan has proven himself over the years, but I never would have expected him to take a turn from his usual slapstick to a crime drama.

Jackie plays Inspector Chan, a cop who will stop at nothing to reduce crime in Hong Kong. Here he meets Wong Tak-Fai, a wealthy business man who believes that someone is plotting to kidnap him, he has no proof, but calls it “a gut feeling”. Later, while driving home, he is kidnapped by masked men in a sequence that has to be seen to be believed [Jackie even lifts a car in this sequence!]. Jackie is assigned to the case, partnering him with Detective Hung, who secretly is connected to the kidnapping. Jackie then suspects Hung is connected and will stop at nothing to find out the truth!

Jackie’s impressive performance as a dramatic star won him the 1993 Hong Kong Film Award for best actor. This movie is not for those who love the slapstick films Jackie has made over the years, but is filled with many incredible action sequences, especially a fight on top of a ceiling of bamboo poles. Definetly recommended and is easily accesible at all Blockbuster video chains across the country.

Vic Nguyen’s Rating: 7/10 (for those who like the usual Jackie slapstick); 10/10 (for those who dont care and like action and drama in films)

By Dan-O

Possibly the first Chan flick in which I actually gave a rats dingus about the supporting characters ( or the story for that matter). The only thing that REALLY stuck in my craw was the schmo they got to POORLY impersonate Jackies’ broken english. Listen closley…that AIN’T his voice. I realize Jackie doesn’t exactly speak The Queens English, but he does pretty damn well for a guy who never learned to read or write even in Cantonese. He speaks, what, 4 languages? I KNOW Chan speaks more fluent English than that. And while I’m bitching up a storm here, I’m so disgusted with these dildo-heads who pitch a shitfit if there’s not enough kung-fu to suit their limited taste. Hey folks, in my insignificant little opinion, you oughta be damned delighted that this man still has any kung-fu, wu-shu, or what-have-you left in his broken lil’ body, considering the level of abuse he’s put it through. Put THAT in your bong and smoke it!

Dan-O’s Rating: 8.5/10

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