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Introduction
Jackie Chan can always be relied upon to always provide weird and humorous stunts in his movies, so you can imagine my surprise then when I received a review copy of Crime Story through the post. A crime thriller from Jackie Chan, I didn’t know such a thing existed! For that reason I was extremely apprehensive about tackling this DVD. Read on to find out whether I was justified.

Crime Story
Movie
Crime Story is based on the true story of the kidnapping of a high profile business man in the 90s. Jackie Chan plays Inspector Eddie Chan, an undercover cop, who is feeling the strains of his job after several near death encounters. He is assigned to protect a wealthy businessman, who has been threatened by his employees and is generally not well liked. The businessman claims he is about to be the target of a gang of kidnappers and calls upon the help of the local police. However, it turns out that the businessman is actually using the police to protect himself from his disgruntled employees, to whom he owes money. However, following a daring ambush, he really is kidnapped and held to ransom. Joining forces with a respected senior detective, Chan finds himself caught in an impenetrable web of treachery and deception as he attempts to solve the case. As the investigation unfolds, he begins to suspect that those closest to him may not be all they appear...

Jackie Chan in a drama movie is something I never thought I would see, and let alone enjoy. Against all odds however, I found myself transfixed with the storyline as it unfolded and Jackie is actually a pretty fine actor when he needs to be! Crime Story is not as pleasing to the eye as Jackie’s other efforts but once in full flow this movie delivers on several occasions. The finale is worth watching and packs quite a punch. I wouldn’t say that Crime Story is one of the best titles from HKL, but as evenings of entertainment go, it wasn’t a bad way to spend a couple of hours.

Crime Story
Video
Crime Story is presented in 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen and is a pretty fine effort. Some credit for the transfer must be accredited to the age of the movie (filmed in 1993), but I have also come across many Hong Kong titles which are newer than Crime Story and simply don’t look so good. The print is in good condition with only a few blemishes to show. Edge enhancements and compression artifacts are non-existent, so that what we are left with is a sharp image and a realistic colour palette. Putting a realistic slant on this, it is nowhere to the standards of say a recent Hollywood blockbuster, but HKL have come up trumps again and produced a noteworthy transfer.

Audio
Once again HKL have provided two soundtracks with their release. There’s not much I can say about this aspect of the disc which hasn’t been said before in any of my other HKL reviews. There are separate Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks (Cantonese and English) which both supply a solid surround sound experience. However, don’t expect a full-on explosion fest as both the movie and the quality of the soundtrack don’t allow it. Rears are used, but not as cleverly as I would have hoped. Dialogue is audible throughout, and as a whole the soundtracks packaged with this release do a sufficient job. Just for reference, subtitles are also provided in English and Dutch.

Crime Story
Extras
I am becoming a seasoned reviewer of HKL titles now. Even before browsing the extras section I can predict the sort of goodies I will find. This release is no different. First up is the trailers archive which includes a UK promotional trailer, as well as the theatrical trailer. If you have read my recent Police Story 2 review then you will be familiar with the trailer section that HKL use. The promotional trailer included with this release is in the style of a Hollywood blockbuster. There is tons of action on show and overall it makes the film look very exciting. The theatrical trailer however is completely different. It plays more as a documentary and gives a detailed insight into the facts behind the story. If you enjoyed the movie I would definitely recommend watching the theatrical trailer at least. The theatrical trailer has a running time of just over three and a half minutes.

Crime Story
Next up is an interview called The king of speed : an interview with action director Bruce Law. This extra has subtitles as the director obviously doesn’t speak English. He talks about his early work in action movies and how the stunts were very dangerous. It is clear that he didn’t like putting his life in the hands of other people, and for that reason decided to get more involved with the setting up of stunts. This is a very in-depth interview and the interviewee obviously has a great love for action movies and his work. The interview covers stunts seen in Crime Story and also other movies that Bruce Law has worked on. Action clips and behind the scenes footage are interwoven in with the interview, which helps the fluidity of this twenty four minutes piece. This is an extra which should interest all fans of Hong Kong action movies.

The next interview is entitled Birth of a classic : an interview with script-writer Teddy Chen. If you are interested in the ideas behind this movie then this is an extra which you can not afford to skip. The script-writer gives a very detailed account of how the movie was pieced together. It is clear from listening to Teddy that a lot of thought was given to the movie, so that the storyline was as accurate as possible. This extra lasts for just under seven minutes.

Finally the last extra on this disc is the obligatory audio commentary with Hong Kong cinema expert Bey Logan. HKL must have given this guy a job for life as he seems to be a commentator on most of their releases these days. However, it is easy to see why he is thought of so highly because he certainly knows his stuff. Every detail is elaborated on, with hardly a breath taken from the enthusasitic speaker. This rates as one of the better HKL commentaries of recent times, as it covers a lot of the history behind the movie. Bey Logan also talks about the film’s poor takings at the box office, which he finds surprising as the movie is actually good in his opinion. This commentary is fun to listen to and at the end of it you will come out thinking you have learnt a hell of a lot!

Crime Story
Overall
Crime Story is not your average Jackie Chan movie which may put off a lot of people, but don’t let it! It’s certainly not a classic by any stretch of the imagination, with several cringe worthy moments still fresh in my mind. However, there are enough worthy action scenes which when combined with its reasonable storyline create a watertight crime thriller. HKL have also created a respectable DVD release which, while not quite living up to its Collector’s tag, packs a reasonable punch. The transfer is above the usual standards expected from a Hong Kong release and the audio aspect isn’t bad either! If you are working your way through HKL’s catalogue then I can definitely point you in the direction of better titles, however if you are looking for something a little different from a Jackie Chan movie, then why not give this one a try.  


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