Police Story 4: First Strike (1996) Review

"Police Story 4: First Strike" Japanese Theatrical Poster

"Police Story 4: First Strike" Japanese Theatrical Poster

AKA: Police Story IV: Simple Mission
Director: Stanley Tong
Writer: Stanley Tong
Producer: Barbie Tung
Cast: Jackie Chan, Annie Wu, Jackson Lau, Bill Tung, Ailen Sit, Rocky Lai, William Tuan, Ken Lo, Chan Man Ching
Running Time: 85/110 min.

By GHCO

I didn’t enjoy this movie very much. This is supposed to be part of the Police Story series, but I don’t see the connection. In the Chinese version, he’s only called “Ka-Kui” once, every other time it’s Jackie. Why?!! Is there something wrong with the name Kevin? Also, Kevin (I refuse to call Chan Ka Kui ‘Jackie’) seems to have a completely different personality. He’s cool, level-headed, and a whole lot wimpier than in previous installments of Police Story. Kevin Chan is supposed to be a hot-tempered, well meaning, and tough as nails cop! Another weird thing: Where is May? She’s not mentioned at all, as though she doesn’t exist. I also don’t see why these things happened. Why not simply say that ‘Jackie’ is a code name, May is either in the hospital after the fall in “Supercop” or still in Malasia, and characterize Kevin correctly? These would be minor changes: May is the reason Kevin doesn’t want to take the mission, that’s why he introduces himself as Jackie to everyone, and he resists against Tsui and doesn’t try to calm down Uncle Seven’s relatives when they attack him!

Still, I don’t think I would have enjoyed the movie anyway. Jackie Chan simply doesn’t work on an international scale: His plots aren’t researched enough as it is. Also, working on a smaller scale makes his characters more accessible and the action sequences believable. It conveyed that these fights aren’t happening in some exotic area, it could be just around the corner. Moving on, there are too many languages in this movie: English, Cantonese, Russian, and Mandarin, and the subtitles are un-readable. The action suffers too. They aren’t over the top at all. Snowboarding, snowmobiling, running, none of it is very gripping. Two fight scenes with a ladder and underwater need to be seen to be believed, but they’re either too long (Chinese version) or too short (American). There is no supporting cast in any sense, and the ending leaves a “That’s it?” feeling. In conclusion, this is the weakest of the Police Story series, and I urge all fans to ignore it. (Perhaps the currently in pre-production Police Story V will take things back to a smaller scale and explain these inconsistancies, as a plotline seen on the Net shows that May will be in the film. I hope so) I give this 6.5 out of ten for some passable action, but odd plotting.

P.S. I suspect that Jackie wanted to make a Police Story IV movie, but didn’t have the financial backing, so he dubbed the name Ka-Kui into one scene of this movie and slapped the title Police Story IV on.

GHCO’s Rating: 6.5/10


By Numskull

All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.
All stunt and no fight makes Jackie a dull boy.

Numskull’s Rating: 4/10


By Andrew

Many of the U.S. promotional spots proudly pronounced that in this film, “Jackie Chan fights for America for the first time.” He does, in fact, start the film this way. He plays a character that resembles Kevin Chan from the Police Story series, and he is helping the CIA by tracking a mysterious woman on a flight from the U.S. to the Ukraine. Shortly thereafter he lands himself in the middle of a nuclear transaction gone bad- and must save the day. Listen to costar Bill Tung at the beginning of the film when he describes Jackie’s assignment- “…that’s ALMOST all you do.”

From this we can plainly assume that Jackie will be involved in all kinds of hijinks for the next hour and a half. Jackie does a number of stunts in this film, but only one substantive fight scene. That is alright though, because this film is mainly about the laughs. Seeing Jackie get in and out of several sticky situations is what this movie is all about, and the more exotic the better. Rather than say that Jacke fights for America, perhaps we should just say that ‘Jackie fights in Australia’. Koala bears, accents from down under, and bad guys that would fit in on an Australian Football team are just a few of the things you’ll see in this one.

One interesting tidbit that you may want to remember for future movie trivia- Jackie doesn’t do all his own stunts in this one. At one point he snowboards off of a cliff only to grab onto a waiting helicopter. Then, seconds before the thing blows up Jacke plunges hundreds of yards into the icy waters below. He then has to stay under long enough to convince the bad guys that he is dead. Jacke did make the jump to the helicopter, and he did reside underwater in near-zero temperatures, but the fall was accopmlished by director/stuntman Stanley Tong. Nobody doubts that Jackie could have made the fall, but Tong didn’t want him to risk an injury for it. Also the director believes that if he does the hardest stunt in the film that he will earn the respect of all the two-bit stuntmen on his crew.

Andrew’s Rating: 8.5/10


By Ro

It’s supposed to be Police Story 4, but the only things that connect it to the other Police Stories is that he’s a Hong Kong cop and the same actor plays his superior, Uncle Bill (By the way, when exactly did he become his uncle? I think it was Supercop). This one was a little hard to follow, but like most of his films, ignore the plot, sit back and enjoy the ride! On the request of the CIA, he follows a Russian woman to the Ukraine and then hooks up with the new Russian KGB to head to Australia looking for a stolen nuclear warhead. I thought the action sequences were thrilling and there’s a couple good fights as well! In one part, Jackie rides a snowboard off a cliff, jumps off and grabs the legs of a hovering helicopter. Wow! Just a couple feet too high and he’d do a Twilight Zone!

It had some great comic moments, too. My favorite part what when he lands a bone-crunching punch to a huge Russian jaw and then assumes a menacing stance. Ever-so-slowly, his scowl turns into a grimace of pain and then he shakes out his sore hand. Does this guy have great comedic timing, or what? I have to add the one thing the guys will never tell you, girls. There’s a scene where Jackie is forced at gunpoint to strip while singing ‘I Will Follow You’. It’s hilarious and great viewing at the same time (the female tourists agree) It’s also payback for all the gorgeous naked female bodies we get bombarded with at the movies for our boyfriends to drool over while we only get to see a nude Harvey Keitel (in The Piano). You’ll notice the other (male) reviewers only mention this to complain, but did you hear one complaint on their part when we saw both girls naked in Operation Condor? Nooooo!

The dubbing’s weird – some people are speaking English, but their voices are dubbed in anyway, but Jackie dubs his own voice, so works for me!

Ro’s Rating: 8/10 (add a star it you think you’ll replay the strip scene!)


By James H.

I could just see the producers in their giant meeting, thinking “What could Jackie do next?” I’ll bet someone said “How about Jackie as James Bond?” And you know what, it worked. Of course, it was a little sillier than the average Bond film. There were plenty nods to Bond in “First Strike.” The beginning snowmobile/snowboard chase was reminiscent of “A View To A KIll,” while the underwater fight payed an homage to “Thunderball.”

Bond aside, it was a great film. Unfortunately, there weren’t many hand-to-hand fights, but everyone has to admit that the ladder scene is one of Jackie’s best. The action sequences were very well done as well. What also impressed me was the score, it was very majestic and powerful. Now what I didn’t like: The dub was average. Jackie, of course, giving his 101%, while the other actors just go through the motions. I also disliked the quick wrap up ending. It seemed to me that there should have been more before the credits rolled, it felt a lot like the end to “Rumble In the Bronx.” The other thing I didn’t get was that in Police Story 1, 2 & 3, he played ‘Kevin,’ but in this the character’s name was ‘Jackie’… strange, yes?

A great film, although not as good as “Police Story,” but equal to “Supercop,” and better than “Police Story 2.” This movie had everything; spies, action and humour. So sit back and enjoy Chan, Jackie Chan.

James H’s Rating: 8.5/10


By Vic Nguyen

Jackie Chan as James Bond. Although this is unusual, it still makes an effective action film. Jackie plays Jackie, a CIA agent assigned to follow a woman named Natasha. They suspect that she is involved in a plot to smuggle nuclear bombs. While following her, Jackie gets a new suspect, Tsui, whom he later finds out is involved in the nuclear bomb trades. But the main feature in this film is action, and fans will not be disappoointed. Fron Jackie sonwboarding down a steep mountain to an amazing fight sequence where Jackie uses a ladder, it has got it all. Also dont miss the outtakes, it shows some of Jackie’s painful bloopers with the ladders that the audience I was sittting with thought was hilarious.

Vic Nguyen’s Rating: 8/10


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