Friday, January 30, 2009

DVD of the Week: Supercop: Two-Disc Ultimate Edition

Supercop (1992) is the North American name given to the third installment of the popular Police Story series starring international action movie star Jackie Chan. It was the first film in the franchise not to be directed by Jackie but instead by Stanley Tong. It was also the last film in the series to feature actress Maggie Cheung as Jackie’s girlfriend.

Chan Ka-Kui (Jackie Chan), or supercop as he’s known in his police department, volunteers for a dangerous undercover mission in mainland China to bust up an international drug ring. He is teamed up with Inspector Yang (Michelle Yeoh) and poses as a merchandiser of Foshan National Machinery Plant, while she poses as his sister, but not before displaying some of his fighting prowess sparring with the military academy’s top martial artist. This gives Jackie a chance to demonstrate his knack for physical comedy.

Yang gets to show off her impressive fighting skills when she saves Chan and Brother Panther (Yuen Wah) from being arrested. This allows the two of them to gain Panther’s confidence. He takes them to a compound where they meet his partner-in-crime, Big Brother (Ken Tsang), a ruthless psychopath. To further complicate things, Chan’s girlfriend May (Maggie Cheung in a thankless role) shows up on a vacation trip and assumes that he’s cheating on her with Yang.

What a “tough” choice Jackie has in this film – choose between the adorable Maggie Cheung and the beautiful Michelle Yeoh. It’s not really fair, though, because Cheung is relegated to a damsel-in-distress role while Yeoh is more Jackie’s equal, fighting and hanging off speeding vehicles. Did I mention that she spends part of a car chase hanging onto the side of a van? She is Jackie’s ideal foil as they banter and bicker like an old married couple – when they aren’t busy taking on numerous bad guys. Yeoh is also more than capable of handling herself in the action sequences. She matches Jackie at every step. Even when he’s hanging for dear life from a helicopter, she manages to jump onto a moving train with a dirt bike, which has to be seen to be believed. Even more impressive is that it’s done without CGI. She actually did it as the end credit blooper reel reveals.

Supercop is a fun, exciting and entertaining film that you would expect from Jackie Chan. It has all kinds of cheesy jokes, top notch fight scenes and insanely choreographed chase sequences, all done without the assistance of computer technology. In this day and age there is something refreshing about that.

Special Features:

The first disc features an engaging audio commentary by Hong Kong cinema expert Bey Logan. He talks about the differences between this version and the Hong Kong version. For example, there were different opening credits and musical scores for each version. This begs the question, why wasn’t the Hong Kong version included on this supposedly “Ultimate Edition?” Logan points out the members of Jackie’s stunt-team and talks about their excellent timing in the action sequences. Logan provides brief biographical information on Michelle Yeoh and Maggie Cheung as well as a wealth of production details on this very informative track.

The second disc starts with a real treat: “Flying High: An Exclusive Interview with Star Jackie Chan.” He talks about working with director Stanley Tong, who, at the time, was a young director. Jackie talks about working with Michelle Yeoh and speaks admiringly of her ability to do her own stunts. He also recalls how scared he was doing the helicopter sequence.

“Dancing with Death: An Interview with Leading Lady Michelle Yeoh.” She had a background in ballet and only started doing martial arts when she did her first action film. She learned something new on every subsequent film. Yeoh talks about how she got into acting and speaks eloquently and warmly in this engaging interview.

“The Stuntmaster General: An Exclusive Interview with Director Stanley Tong.” He talks about working with Jackie over five films and how they collaborate together. He talks about the challenge of doing the stunts in the film without CGI.

“The Fall Guy: An Exclusive Interview with Jackie Chan Bodyguard, Training Partner and Co-Star Ken Lo.” He recounts his first meeting with Jackie when he was bouncer and the action star asked him if he would like to work in films. they have worked together for 20 years.

2 comments:

  1. Hey J.D. This is a really cool write-up. I love this movie. It's always one of my favorite Jackie Chan movies. Part of the reasons I love it so much is because of Michelle Yeoh. She's incredible. She's beautiful and tough.

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  2. Yeah, Michelle Yeoh makes this film so much more enjoyable to watch. She's just great in it. I also thought she was fantastic in CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON.

    Thanks for the kind words and stopping by, as always.

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