Police Story 3: Supercop (1992) Review

"Police Story 3" Japanese Theatrical Poster

"Police Story 3" Japanese Theatrical Poster

Director: Stanley Tong Gwai Lai
Writer: Edward Tang Ging Gan, Fibe Ma Mei Ping
Producer: Willie Chan Chi Keung, Edward Tang Ging Gan
Cast: Jackie Chan, Michelle Yeoh, Yuen Wah, Maggie Cheung Man Yuk, Kenneth Tsang Kong, Josephine Koo Mei Wah, Bill Tung Biu, Philip Chan Yan Kin, Mars, Ken Lo
Running Time: 90/95 min.

By Numskull

This is a review for Police Story 3. Not “Supercop.” FUCK “Supercop.” Police Story 3. Yeah, baby.

Jackie Chan, director of the first two Police Story films, passes the reins to Stanley Tong and shares the spotlight with Michelle Yeoh, whose unhappy marriage to producer/boy billionaire Dickson Poon had just been terminated and who was ready, willing, and able to resume kicking ass. This time ’round he’s on assignment in mainland China and Chan Ka Kui (formerly Chen Chia Chu…don’t ask) has to contend with “stranger in a strange land” syndrome, and his usual confidence and hardness of the rectal region are toned down somewhat. That’s not the only way this installment differs from its predecessors. Superintendent/Chief/Whatever Raymond is gone, Uncle Bill is now known as Uncle Piao, and Mars, who played a police officer in the first two films, is now a minor (VERY minor, actually) villain named Hsiung…a questionable casting decision, to say the least.

Perhaps the biggest difference of all is simply the general “feel” of the movie. Not for soccer moms herding their kids into the theater to watch Shanghai Noon are the scenes of drug injection, no-name characters getting gunned down, and Michelle’s character killing one of her own agents to prevent her cover from getting blown. It’s undoubtedly one of Jackie Chan’s most violent movies, and while that fact in and of itself doesn’t bother me in the slightest, I really think it would have been better off with a little more of his trademark goofiness. A LITTLE more, mind you. The poolside scene stank of ’80s sitcom, and on the Chinese DVD, Maggie Cheung’s voice is about two octaves lower when she’s speaking English. Next time, get someone bilingual to do the dubbing, eh?

This installment’s BATATE (Big Action Thingie At The End) is a doozy…so much the better after the pretty-good-but-not-quite-up-to-Police-Story-standards stuff earlier on. You can’t help but question Jackie Chan’s sanity as he hangs from a ladder dangling out of helicopter trying to shake him off as it flies high above the streets of Kuala Lumpur, and Michelle Yeoh has possibly her most nail-biting scenes ever…clinging to the side of a (fast) moving van and falling back onto the hood of a (again, fast) moving car (watch the outtakes for a true “holy shit” moment), AND the now famous motorcycle jump onto the top of a moving train. (Damn, I used the word “moving” too much in that sentence.) The festivities conclude with some nice hand-to-hand combat atop the train (remember when Jackie did that at the end of his movies? Ah, memories…).

At this point, the Police Story series is showing signs of its age, but certainly hasn’t degenerated into a sad parody of its former greatness. Worth owning, but only in its untainted, Tom Jones-free incarnation.

Numskull’s Rating: 7/10

By Ro

In this installment of the ‘Police Story’ saga, Jackie gets loaned to mainland China as a Hong Kong ‘Supercop’. He’s supposed to infiltrate a mob by helping the mob boss’s brother escape from prison. He teams up with Michelle Yeoh, as China’s chief of security. Great choice! Finally, a female who can hold her own with him, kick for kick! They should work together more often. Action and stunts galore, with just enough comedy thrown in to make everybody happy. By the end, I was pretty sure that the two of them moonlight as the Energizer Bunny. NOTHING stops them!!!

Added plus – Jackie dubs his own voice. Watch the outtakes for Jackie to join the (no doubt) exclusive club of people who’ve been hit by helicopters and lived to tell the tale. One minus – does Jackie really order ‘roast cat – with string beans’ in the restaurant?!?!?! No matter how many times I play it, that’s what I hear!

Ro’s Rating: 9/10

By James H.

A few weeks ago, I was bored and rented “Police Story III”, just for a comparison between the H.K. and U.S. version. I was quite disappointed when I got it home and watched it. To my dismay, the film ran only 95 minutes. Anyway, the scenes that were cut from the U.S. version didn’t help the movie.

Now the film itself is a good one, in fact it is a great one. Jackie goes into mainland China to retrieve a drug lord and infiltrate his gang. He is paired with a mainland officer played by Michelle Yeoh. That’s the basic premise and that’s all you need to know.

Some fans were disappointed with the lack of fights in the film. It is an action film, not a chop-socky. If you want to see a chop-socky flick rent “Drunken Master II” or “Young Master”. The action scenes in the film are great. There’s plenty of gunfire and explosions for everyone.

“Supercop” is, by far, the best JC film to be released in North American theatres. The dubbing is great, but the soundtrack is something to be desired. It is full of hip-hop and rock tunes that just don’t seem to fit the film. Although, Tom Jones’ rendition of “Kung Fu Fighting” is superb.

James H’s Rating: 9/10

By Dennis

This is one of chan’s most overrated movies. I’m not saying this is a bad movie but it had a lot of slow points to it. The fights were waaaaaay to short and needed more of them. The scene were Jackie fights a comrad in a police headquarters was a cool fight scene. Michelle Yeoh also had a few kick ass moments in this movie too. The thing that saved the movie was the stunts that takes place in Malaysia when Michelle Yeoh hangs from a bus avoiding other cars, Jackie hanging from a rope ladder of a helicopter, and Michelle Yeoh Jumping onto a moving train on a motorcycle. The previews which show all of the cool stunts, explosions, and cool kung fu movies is all you get in this movie. Overall with the Ok short fights and real impressive stunts…not bad.

Dennis’ Rating: 6.5/10

By Dembone

This one took a little getting used to. I had just grown to love the charm, dumb humor and Jackie’s brand of “non-violent” violence when I saw Supercop and my first impression was that it was rather dark and well… Violent. After the 2nd viewing I warmed up to it and caught more of the subtle humor. Michelle Yeoh was fantastic, a far superior role for her than the weak Bond flick, and the chemistry was great, as was the acting of the entire cast. As everyone else said, the action is spectacular, the best and most polished in any Chan film I’ve seen, however I enjoy Chan films more for the amazing martial arts and Supercop was definitely lacking in that department.

Am I the only one who thinks the beginning fight sequence in the school is absolutely incredible? Except that it was so short and didn’t really have any purpose (There’s no bad guy to hate) I think this is one of Jackie’s best displays of fighting on film – and probably the most realistic. I swear I re-wound that 2 minute scene like, 15 times! Overall, while not one of my personal favorites, definitely one of Chan’s finest moments…

Dembone’s Rating: 8.5/10

By Marcia

I think I’d have to rate this one as my all-time fave (to date). Forget the “lack” of fights, there’s a _story_ here! Jackie’s character actually has more than one dimension, and the chemistry with Michelle Yeoh (who, by the by, kicks major ass — gotta get me a copy of “Wing Chun” now) is priceless. Further, the frequent references to Jackie’s opera days are totally hilarious; just wish I knew more about Chinese opera so I could confirm my suspicions that some of the poses he strikes (e.g., before Ken Lo gets whacked by the sign during the train fight) are straight out of the opera. I could (and almost have) watch this one every day for a week quite happily and never get sick of it. Anyone who hasn’t seen this yet needs to do so, or suffer the wrath of those of us who have.

Marcia’s Rating: 8/10

By Stockton22

Would I burn in hell if I dare to say that I find this film to be better than the original? That point may be arguable, but consider this. A friend of mine once pointed out that the only good Star Trek films are the even numbered ones (Wraith of Khan, Voyage Home, Undiscovered Country, First Contact). While that’s hardly indisputable, it seems right to me. We have a similar pattern goin’ on with the odd numbered Police Story films. So far, 1 and 3 are the ones that matter (I’m looking forward to the long rumored number 5). But while the original was a groundbreaking stunner that brought kung fu into the modern world and more or less started Jackie tinkering with the non-fighting action sequence, and number 2 was lackluster attempt to recreate it, Police Story 3: Supercop is an altogether different beast.

Imagine if Die Hard 2 had real stunts instead of special effects and Bruce Willis did them himself. Or if Tomorrow Never Dies didn’t suck. Or if Joseph Yana knew what the hell he was talking about (ok, that one doesn’t really fit, but I couldn’t resist). That might give you an idea of the dynamic explosiveness of Supercop. The film had some Chan fans slightly disappointed, I think because it was a bit of a departure that violated some Chan purist ideals. First of all, Chan dared to allow another star to have their share of the spotlight. That would be the lovely and ass-kicking Michelle Yeoh, who pounds major damage and defies death with almost the same energized abandon as Jackie does. Hmmm, wait a minute, she’s not really the first costar to shine in a Chan flick. What about Sammo Hung in Project A? Or Yuen Biao in Wheels on Meals? Or Simon Yuen and I assume his stunt double in Drunken Master? Oh wait, I see why they’re upset. Because she’s woman! There’s a woman in a Police Story film who’s not there to just get kidnapped and be the source of comic relief? Don’t get me wrong, I love Maggie Cheung, but her talents as an actress were hardly being challenged here. It’s time to tell the purists that women aren’t just gonna sit at home, wear an apron, bake brownies, vacuum the carpet, cook dinner and have the husband’s cigar, martini and slippers ready for him when he come home from work. The 1950’s are over, Donna Reed is off the air and women are empowered! They’re gonna jump on to moving trains with their motorcycles, they’re gonna hold on for dear life on the side of a moving van, they’re gonna take a running jump into the air, do a flying split and kick two guys in the head at the same time, just like Michelle Yeoh does. They’re gonna deliver great action and look hot doing it. And action flicks will be all the better for it, just like Supercop is.

Second, and this criticism is more justified, there is less fighting in this flick than there had been in Jackie’s previous ones. The difference is noticeable and some Chan fans may be understandably irked. But I personally didn’t mind, because what we get instead is a virtual shopping list of action film conventions (so pay no attention to what Tom Weisser has to say). Supercop has everything you could ever want in an action film. Fights, explosions, stunts, shootouts, car chases, it literally has it all. Highlights include a drug trafficker’s summit that erupts into a fantastic shoot out, a rumble in a restaurant, and the heart stopping finale, which has Jackie hanging from a flying helicopter and culminates with him goin’ toe to toe with the mighty Ken Lo on top of a moving train. It may not be Drunken Master 2 (nothing is), but it’s damn fine fisticuffs nonetheless. And although the movie starts a little slowly (unlike the original, it doesn’t open with an action sequence), once it gets going, it rolls on like a freight train and just doesn’t stop. With Who Am I going straight to HBO (Can we send Ken Lo to the offices at Tri-Star to kick a little ignorant film executive ass?), Supercop remains, by far, the best of Jackie’s American theatrical releases.

Stockton22’s Rating: 10/10

By Vic Nguyen

This film is awesome! From the jaw dropping stunts to the beautiful and stunning Michelle Yeoh, this film has got it all! Jackie plays Chen Chia Chu, a supercop that has been assigned to break a dangerous drug ring led by a drug lord named Chaibat. To do so, he must free Panther, one of Chaibats men in jail and gain his trust to help him capture Chaibat. Joining Jackie is Inspector Yang played by the stunning Michelle Yeoh,she out does Jackie until the end, where Jackie jumps off a building to a helicoptor ladder, flying around Malaysia until dropping into a train for a fight against Chaibat and his men. All I could say is that this movie is fantastic and is easily available for rent at all video stores, but I recommend that you try to get this film subtitled and letterboxed at a local Chinese video store. If you cant get it from the Chinese video store, just get it!

Vic Nguyen’s Rating: 6/10 without Michelle Yeoh; 10/10 with her

By Dan-O

Why, why, WHY didn’t this movie make at LEAST $100 million in the US last summer. Come to think of it, why didn’t KINGPIN make it to the $100 mil. point. I’ll tell ya why, cause the little automatons were MUCH to busy watching INDEPENDENCE DAY for the umpteenth time. The American moviegoing public sucks, and you can quote me on that. Everyone I’ve shown “Supercop” to can’t get enough of it. I’ll say to them, “Didn’t you borrow it last week” and they’ll say “Yeaaaa…uh, no.” then I’ll say “BULLCRAP, YOU DID TOO!” and they say “OKAY, OKAY, I’LL COME CLEAN, I DID BORROW IT LAST WEEK, but I just ((sob, whimper)) love that movie ((heavy sobs)) SOOOOO MUUUUCH!!! WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!” then I’ll laugh, and laugh, and laugh….

Dan-O’s Rating: 9/10

Vic Nguyen’s Rating:

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2 Responses to Police Story 3: Supercop (1992) Review

  1. Pingback: Police Story 3: Supercop (1992) | All Films Blog

  2. Ningen says:

    I gotta admit I’m in the, “It’s overrated camp”, too. I think I like First Strike-or at least what I saw off the dub-more.

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