On April 16, 2013, Shout! Factory will release the second of their Jackie Chan Double Features, following January’s double feature of Crime Story (1993) and The Protector (1985). In this sophomore release, Shout! brings the first two installments of Jackie Chan’s Police Story series together on Blu-ray for the first time ever. Whereas, as I highlighted in my review of the previous double feature, the packaging of Crime Story and The Protector together made sense only insofar as both films starred Jackie Chan and both dealt with kidnapping, you really couldn’t ask for a more cohesive double feature than this. What’s more, Police Story (1985) and, to a lesser extent, its immediate, 1988 sequel are classics of martial arts cinema and staples of Chan’s oeuvre that serve as prime examples of that action/comedy formula he does so well. Really, with the exception of the Drunken Master films, no Jackie Chan series better exemplifies the man’s significant contributions to martial arts cinema than Police Story.
The narratives of Police Story and Police Story 2, while important to the films themselves of course, are not particularly noteworthy. Anyway, you watch Jackie Chan movies for the stunts and fighting first and the story second. Suffice it to say though, if you really must know, that the first film finds Chan’s character Ka-Kui framed for a murder he didn’t commit, and the second finds him going toe-to-toe with terrorists. The important thing is, the action here is top notch. The second film admittedly pales a bit in comparison to the first, in part I think, because Chan doesn’t fight nearly as many guys in the climax of Police Story 2 as he did in the first picture, and the mall in Police Story’s climax allowed for far more dynamic combat than the warehouse of the sequel. Still, all this means is that Police Story 2 is only slightly less awesome than the first, and at a price tag of less than $20 for both films on Blu-ray, you’d be daft not to pick it up anyway.
Of course, I should note that the transfer of the films is not what you might consider “perfect,” but this is honestly the best I’ve ever seen these two films looking regardless of any scratches or debris that might remain. Moreover, the grain structure does not appear to have been scrubbed away as other distributors are wont to do for Blu-ray releases of older pictures, and the films are presented with both the English and Cantonese soundtracks with optional English subtitles (not dubtitles). The release is also available on DVD.
I also might add that Shout! really sells themselves short on this release where special features are concerned. The artwork boasts outtakes and theatrical trailers, and that’s it. But there’s certainly more to this bonus content than the three-word description provided might indicate, especially where the first film is concerned. The special features supplementing Police Story include deleted scenes, the outtakes featured in the credits without the credit overlay, an alternate ending (with some alternate outtakes) that I honestly prefer to the original ending in spite of the very minor differences, a lengthy extended opening which establishes the relationships between the officers with whom Ka-Kui works, and both the U.S. and original Hong Kong trailers. Special features on part 2 also include the outtakes featured in the credits without overlay, as well as an alternate outtakes sequence and the international and Hong Kong trailers. This is an all-around great release, a perfect follow-up to the first Jackie Chan Double Feature Blu-ray from Shout! and one that fans of martial arts cinema are not going to want to miss.
Now if only we could get a proper Blu-ray release of the original cut of Police Story 3! Somebody get on that.