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Police Story [Eureka Classics] (Blu-ray Review)

Two of Jackie Chan s most iconic films explode onto Blu-ray from incredible new 4K restorations! Featuring some of the most dangerous stunts ever performed on camera, Police Story and Police Story 2 are a dazzling blend of gritty action cop drama and impeccably choreographed martial-arts sequences that revitalized the Hong Kong action genre and established Jackie Chan as a worldwide superstar. Police Story – considered by Jackie Chan himself to be his best film in terms of pure action, Police Story stars Chan as super cop Chan Ka-Kui, who goes up against a notorious crime lord in a series of escalating set-pieces that resulted in many of Jackie’s stunt team being hospitalized. Police Story 2 – Demoted to traffic cop after the events of the first film, Chan Ka-Kui is reinstated to the detective unit when a deadly gang of explosive experts blow up a building and threaten to blow up more if their demands are not met. Featuring yet more bravura stunt work, and even more injuries to its cast and crew, Police Story 2 is to this day considered one of the best action films ever made. Presented from brand new 4K restorations and fully uncut, Eureka Classics is proud to present Jackie Chan s Police Story and Police Story 2 for the first time on Blu-ray in the UK in a special Limited Edition Box Set.

Film

Jackie Chan stars in Police Story as Chan Ka-Kui, a Royal Hong Police Officer. Ka-Kui has a very unorthodox way of combating crime and that is by taking down his man by any means necessary. Without sounding to hyperbolic, Ka-Kui and his police force take down and essentially destroy a shanty town during the opening of the film. It’s not a martial arts extravaganza but a typical action film with shoot outs, destruction, and copious amounts of dead or injured bad guys. Yes, this is within the first 10-minutes of the film.

Ka-Kui isn’t all about saving the day, he also has a pretty girlfriend, Maggie Cheung, that he tries to please at any given moment, which makes him looks like a wimp in parts. Complicating matters even more is that Ka-Kui has to “babysit” a star witness, Selina (Brigette Lin), and insure that she makes to trial to testify against a ruthless drug lord. The same guy that lost his shanty town operation due to Ka-Kui’s interference.

It was quite refreshing to finally watch Police Story on Blu-ray in this nice Eureka Classics’ edition. Now that I’m older than when I first saw it way back when, it’s beyond obvious how many films paid homage (some say ripped off) to its stunts. There’s an insane sequence involving Jackie Chan that takes place in a shopping mall, which some say is reminiscent of Commando (even though both films seem to have been released around the same time) and the most obvious one being the scene where Jackie shoots at a bus and having the villains crash through the glass and onto the road. Tango & Cash has a scene like that, as well, and that film came out a few years after Police Story, so…

Jackie Chan’s Police Story may sound generic in terms of title, and it is a generic title, but the film is blended multi-genre piece. You have a nice police procedural involving drama, there’s a romance angle that explodes into awkward comedy, insane traditional action and stunt-work, rounded out with Chan’s martial arts. All of these factors make Police Story a great action film. This is Jackie Chan’s Die Hard, for lack of a better comparison. I will also go so far as to say that Jackie Chan’s Police Story is one of the best action films of the 1980’s.

Please keep in mind that this limited collection set is Region B and will only play in a Region-Free Blu-ray player. Also, there is no standalone release of these films just yet. If you buy the Blu-ray set you will be getting Police Story & Police Story 2 together.

Video 

Encoding: AVC/MPEG-4

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1

Clarity/Detail: For all intents and purposes, this primary picture quality is limited to the main 100-minute feature. I did not grade the Japanese or U.S versions. Sharpness and contrast levels were spot-on – DNR was not lathered on, which was nice. I did not detect instances of boosting or blooming either.

Depth: Police Story, I don’t think, has looked better. The film has a nice and stable grain structure and it never suffered from softness.

Black Levels:  Black levels were stable – crush is slightly present but it’s not a deal breaker since it’s only in a couple of scenes throughout.

Color Reproduction: The color palette is rich and vibrant. Lots of 1980’s garish fashion choices are on full display including some snazzy jackets. Banding was not an issue during the more color infused scenes – like the one at the shopping center.

Flesh Tones: Flesh tones looked fine – I noticed folks had nice and even tans and complexions – the flesh color spectrum leaned more towards the olive side rather than the red.

Noise/Artifacts: Not having watched Police Story in about 20 years, and on laserdisc, it was nice to see that all of the debris, noise, dirt, hair, speckles, etc., was cleaned up for this version.

 

Audio

Audio Format(s): Cantonese LPCM Mono 1.0, Cantonese DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, English LPCM Mono 1.0

Subtitles: English

Dynamics:  I tend to be a purist sometimes and my experience with Asian cinema has always led me to going to the original source elements during playback. Police Story would be no different. As you can see, there are quite a few language options on this Blu-ray. I went with the primary Cantonese tracks in LPCM Mono and DTS-HD MA 5.1. Right off the bat, the LPCM track is vastly superior in every way. Dialogue, effects, music, are all nicely balanced and never feel cluttered during playback. The “restored” 5.1. lossless track, however, is not as tidy as I would like it to be. Dialogue levels are off a bit, and there’s a feeling of overall “loudness” just for the sake of it being loud. It’s does not sound as full as the mono track does – it’s spread out too thin and you can tell.

Low Frequency Extension: The LFE doesn’t exist on the vastly superior mono track, but does get a bit on the beefy side during the restored 5.1 playback. It’s heavily emphasized during the general action and martial arts scenes. 

Surround Sound Presentation: The surround sound channels do get a bit on the aggressive via 5.1 playback – chatters, sound effects, gunshots, etc., can distinctly be heard whirling about in the back-end

Dialogue Reproduction: Dialogue levels fare much better on the mono track than they do on the 5.1 mix. At times, while I was watching, it almost felt like that dubbing was off a bit – as if it wasn’t Jackie’s voice, dubbed, looped, or otherwise. Yet, when I watched it in mono – yep, that’s Jackie all right. 

Extras 

Well, when you that Eureka has included not one, but TWO additional versions of the film – this set is just aching for a five-star review for supplemental features. “The Japanese Cut” of the film is in full HD and was released for the Japanese home video market. “The Police Force Cut” was ripped to shreds for the American home video market and is presented in SD for your viewing (dis)pleasure (I kid, I kid). The Blu-ray also features an archival interview with Jackie Chan and a promotional stunt work trailer highlighting the insanity of the action in Police Story. Trailers and a collector’s booklet with new writing and archival materials round out this limited-edition box-set.

  • Police Story (100 mins) 1080p presentation sourced from the incredible new 4K restoration
  • Four unique Audio options: Original Cantonese Mono audio track; Restored Cantonese 5.1; Restored English 5.1 dub track AND an additional audio track featuring an alternate English dub sourced from a rare Dutch VHS release of Police Story that has never been officially released on any other version of the film
  • Newly translated English subtitles
  • Police Story: The Japanese Cut (105 mins – HD) Originally released exclusively to Japanese home video, this extended cut of the film was transferred to HD from a film print in 2012 and makes its UK debut here with its original Cantonese audio and English subtitles for the first time ever
  • Police Story: The Police Force Cut (84 mins – SD) A unique version of the film edited exclusively for the American home video market, featuring a unique dub track and electronic score
  • Police Story Alternate and Deleted Scenes, including alternate opening and ending sequences
  • Archival Interview with Jackie Chan (20 mins)
  • “Jackie Chan Stunts” Promotional trailer
  • Trailers
  • Collectors Booklet feat new writing on the film & rare archival material

 

Summary

Police Story blends traditional action tropes that we would see in the coming years in American films (Tango & Cash, I’m looking at you!) and Chan’s insane martial arts and stunt-work. The Eureka Classics’ Blu-ray of Police Story sports a fantastic video transfer and equally impressive audio. The special features are out of this world in terms of content and substance. When you can get TWO additional versions of the same film as a bonus, you know it’s something special. Please keep in mind that this limited collection set is Region B and will only play in a Region-Free Blu-ray player. Also, there is no standalone release of these films just yet. If you buy the Blu-ray set you will be getting Police Story & Police Story 2 together.

Police Story 1 & 2 is released

on Blu-ray in the UK August 20, 2018!

ORDER NOW!

 

 

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Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

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