Crime Story – DVD Review

Available at Amazon.com

Directed by
Kirk Wong

Cast:
Jackie Chan … Inspector Eddie Chan
Kent Cheng … Detective Hung
Fat Chung … Ng Kwok Wats
Law Hang Kang … Mr. Wong
Fat Wan … Simon Ting
Sau Leung ‘Blacky’ Ko … Captain Ko
Puishan Auyeung … Mrs. Wong
Ling Ling Pan … Ms. Gaga
Christine Ng … Lara


The Movie:

Why did Jackie Chan have to get older? Taking so long to get popular Stateside, its sad to see Chan fade away in American films such as Rush Hour 3 and The Medallion, when to watch him in his prime is to watch a star of such grace and energy that it’s jaw dropping. Even as his recent New Police Story showed some of the old Jackie Chan awesome, now it just appears to have been false hope, as his recent pairing with Chris Tucker seems to really have signaled the end. Thank goodness Dragon Dynasty is still putting out Jackie Chan classics like Crime Story so we can savor his glory days.

A thriller from 1993, Crime Story actually offers up one of the star’s best acting performances as Eddie Chan, a chief inspector for the Hong Kong Police Department. What will surprise most viewers is that Crime Story is actually mostly devoid of Chan’s signature comedy scenes. As serious a film as I’ve ever seen from the actor, the story centers around the kidnapping and ransom of a rich industrialist and a vast conspiracy, that includes dirty cops, that are trying to desperately to collect the money.


In his role as Inspector Eddie Chan, its hard to think of a character where Jackie spends more time looking so determined. One of the film’s major themes, much like John Woos Hard Boiled, is to show the dedication and bravery of the local police force, and this is done by making Jackie as selfless as possible on screen, putting himself in constant danger in order to protect the public. We’re also given some hair-raising action scenes, but Jackie’s usual fights are scaled back to make him as realistic as possible.

To drive the point home, Chan is juxtaposed throughout much of the film against Kent Cheng as the scheming Detective Hung, a man leading the charge to try and obtain the ransom and silence Chan before he spoils his operation. Cheng is a terrific villain here, getting downright nasty when it comes to protecting his stake in the kidnapping. His mind games and then out and out confrontations with Chan have a real potency, and its nice to see Jackie matched up again a heavy that isn’t just your standard Hong Kong movie villain. While Cheng doesn’t reach the highs of Eric Tsang in Infernal Affairs in this type of role, he does good work and isn’t just your run of the mill Jackie Chan baddie.

Trying to keep this film so serious does mean that it consciously tries to keep things on a human level, trying to avoid the exaggerated heroics of Chan’s Police Story series or Drunken Master II. This may annoy some fans and indeed Director Kirk Wong isn’t able to keep us his early momentum throughout the picture, as Crime Story tends to sag a bit through the film’s middle. The movie does end in spectacular fashion though, as a Chan is caught in a building fire with so many explosions you would have thought the film were directed by John Woo. This does allow Jackie to have some nice stunt work, but still the thrill seems muted compared to the almost superheroic dynamics of some of Chan’s earlier epics. Chan seems to be trying to branch out here, and for the most part he succeeds, but the film just doesn’t have the drive that it needs to be in order to keep up its dramatic effect.


Still Crime Story is leaps and bounds ahead of Chan’s recent American work. Some of the stunt work done here is stunning , but perhaps the actor had just set the level up too high for this to be a complete homerun. Jackie Chan the actor gets an “A” for effort, Crime Story only manages a strong “B”.


The DVD:


The Video
Par for the course, Dragon Dynasty’s edition of Crime Story offers a nice cleaned up print, though not perfect. The movie looks about as good as it ever has, but you can tell there was no major restoration done. The film is presented in Anamorphic Widescreen with an aspect ratio of 1.85:1.

The Audio
The Audio track is presented in a nice new Dolby Digital 5.1 and gives a very nice dynamic soundtrack for the film. The original mono track is also available on this edition.


SPECIAL FEATURES:
.

Feature Commentary With Director Kirk Wong And Hong Kong Cinema Expert Bey Logan – Another great commentary track from Bey Logan, who actually seems a bit more knowledgeable than Wong does at times during this track. Wong has an interesting anecdote at one point about the Hong Kong Police Force actually being a lot of trouble while filming this movie, which he thinks was really ironic considering how the film was designed as a tribute to the Police Department. Apparently now the situation is much better over there, and a government commission was actually formed to help with films like this one to get full cooperation from the Police.

A Journey To The Underworld: An Exclusive Interview With Acclaimed Director Kirk Wong – Wong reveals early on in this almost half an hour interview that Crime Story was actually based on a true story. Apparently he stayed in constant contact with the actually police officer portrayed in the film, and even started to annoy the officer, as he was constantly calling and trying to get the film as accurate as possible.

From The Page To The Silver Screen: An Interview With Writer Teddy – Chen – This 12 minute interview reveals some interesting tidbits about the movie. The most interesting is that apparently the film was originally intended as a Jet Li movie, which would account for its more serious tone. Apparently it almost ended up a Tony Leung vehicle as well before Jackie became the star.

Deleted Scenes – You get about six minutes of deleted scenes, all of which have to deal with a romantic subplot cut from the movie. It’s too bad also, because the film would have benefited from the levity the scenes provided.

Trailers – You get several trailers for this film and other Dragon Dynasty releases.

The DVD Lounge’s Ratings for
Crime Story
CATEGORY
RATING
(OUT OF 10)
THE MOVIE

7.5
THE VIDEO

8.5
THE AUDIO

8
THE EXTRAS

6
REPLAY VALUE

8
OVERALL
7.5
(NOT AN AVERAGE)

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