JACKIE CHAN'S FIRST STRIKE - POLICE STORY 4

-
Jackie Chan's First Strike Sometimes when someone goes on holiday they'll bring back with them a gift of sorts. You know. Like a hat or a stuffed animal for example. But for the life of me, this is first time I've ever seen someone bring back with them a nuclear warhead. Here. It's in this 83 minute adventure made in 1996, Directed by Stanley Tong; and Starring: Jackie Chan, Annie Wu, Yuri Petrov, with Jackson Liu.


Jackie Chan's First Strike


THE STORY:
'All you have to do is trail a suspect on-board an airplane headed to the Ukraine' says the Chief of Police to Inspector Jackie Chan (guess who). 'And once you arrive there' he continues 'Have a nice holiday, will you?'.

But do you honestly think Jackie can do this with without a single hitch? Ha! No. Not very likely. That's why he ends up in Australia instead.

Hey! Don't get the wrong idea, pal. Jackie does go to the Ukraine first. However, after he takes it upon himself to trail the suspect in question, suddenly, he gets spotted, and... well... KA-BOOOM! Until he is eventually saved by a Russian agent called Gregor (Yuri Petrov), who tells him that the dubious operative he followed is in actual fact an ex-CIA agent turned crook -- called Tsui (Jackson Liu) -- and he is now visiting his sister, Annie (Annie Wu), in Australia.

So guess what Jackie does next? Yes. That's correct. He meets Annie in Australia. Duping this pretty little shark expert by pretending to be an old friend of Tsui’s. Before coming clean and asking her and her sick father for any information relating to Tsui’s whereabouts.

Of course, they're not prepared to do that at all. Annie would rather secretly help her brother conceal a package he gave her in a shark tank instead. Whilst Tsiu, in turn, kidnap's Jackie, and tells him that he isn't a crook -- it's Gregor -- and that he only wants to capture him so he can sell the nuclear warhead he gave to his sister.

Oh dear! Poor Jackie. What can he possibly do now? Get captured and framed by Gregor for killing Tsuis Dad? Ask Annie for help? Ask Tsui for help? Or contact his superiors back home in Hong Kong? Well, whatever the case may be, I suppose that is why what next transpires kicks off when a funeral turns into a fist fight. As crooks go thwack - sharks attack - Jackie wears black - and Russians go back.




THE REVIEW:
Now let me get something straight before I start commenting on this fairly decent film. Apart from its original title, 'Ging chaat goo si 4: Ji gaan daan yam mo', it's also been called 'Jackie Chan's First Strike', plus ‘Police Story 4’, thus denoting the so-called penultimate chapter of Jackie’s 'Police Story' series of films.

Police Story 4 Film Poster
Furthermore, I'd like you to know that: (1) 'New Line Cinema' first releases this production on the 10th of January, 1997, and clawed back $15 millions dollars at the US box office, and $57 million Hong Kong dollars at the HK box office. (2) Loosely translated, this project was entitled 'Imminent Impact' in Spain; 'Against Attack' in France; and 'First Hit' in Greece. (3) Most of this movie was shot on location throughout Australia, China, Russia, and the Ukraine. In Russia you might notice Moscow. In China you might notice Hong Kong. And in Australia you might notice Brisbane, Fortitude Valley, Mooloolaba, and the Gold Coast -- based in Queensland -- whilst in Victoria, there is Falls Creek and Carlton. (4) There were two versions of this film eventually released. The Hong Kong version is 110 minutes long, and has more actions scenes in it. Whereas the American version is 83 minutes long, condensed to favor the overall story-line. (5) One of the main reasons why all of the actors in this adventure spoke Mandarin  -- and not the usual Cantonese -- was because Annie Wu didn't speak fluent Cantonese at the time, although she was learning it. (6) Stanley Tong, who directed this flick, also directed Jackie Chan in 'Supercop', 'the Myth', and 'Rumble in the Bronx'. (7) By in large all of the vehicles seen in this crime thriller were provided by Mitsubishi Motors. I'm sure you spotted the Diamantes, the Galants, the Lancers, the GTO Twin Turbo convertibles, plus one or two Hyundai's too. (8) To connect with a more international audience, the producers decided to dub this project into Russian and Ukrainian, as well as their usual Cantonese, Mandarin, and English language.


Helicopter Jump in Jackie Chan's First Strike


OK. So now that I have the trivia out of the way with, what can I now say about this very action packed adventure? Well, to start of with, I suppose I could mention that Jackie Chan does comes across like a proverbial jack in a box. Popping about all over the place as if his very life depended on it. Jumping and kicking and throwing himself into danger whenever the opportunity presented itself.

Jackie Chan and Annie Wu in Police Story 4
You see, from my perspective, this film shows off Jackie's stuntman skills rather than his fighting skills. As he just launches himself right into the action as if he has had something inserted up his posterior.

Hey! Don't take my missive the wrong way, folks. This is not necessarily a bad thing. It is just a blatant statement of fact compared to the previous chapters of this film franchise, as well as a blatant style choice too.

Also, another thing that seems very blatant -- compared to the previous chapters -- is that 'Police Story 4' is a much more lavish experience; boasting different locations (Ukraine and Australia), different flavors (primarily from the Australian actors), and aesthetically a somewhat different film in tone (80's all the way). Obviously, Jackie’s trademark sense of humor and charm are kept intact (especially when he shows his ass in one scene). Though, to juxtapose my positive stance for a moment, if there was something missing from this film, it would be that although the production values were much more grander in execution, at the same time, this did lose some of the grounded charisma compared to Jackie’s previous wares.


Jackie Chan's First Strike


Alright. I know that this is just a matter of taste. Yet the overall ‘eighties style’ that ‘First Strike’ conforms to, just doesn't have that 'special magic' which has come before it. Moreover, I'm afraid to say that the story (for use of a better word) is a somewhat flimflammed affair also. Relying heavily on Jackie's presence and Annie's cute ways to make it work as a tale in it's own right.

Still, even with all of these glitches, all in all 'Jackie Chan - First Strike' is a very watchable flick. It's dynamic. It's expansive. It's funny. And it has some really great end-reel outtakes too. Here, check this out...




Ha! Jackie Chan! What a guy!

THE RATING: B