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I was first introduced to the world of Jackie Chan a few years ago with the US-financed release of Rush Hour. During the movie it became apparent that Jackie was a talented action performer, and some of the stunts he performed were the most elaborate that I had seen up until then. I therefore decided to do a little bit of research and take a look at some of his previous movies. Four years on I am still working my way through his vast collection and next on my list is this Hong Kong Legends release of Police Story 2.

Police Story 2
Jackie Chan returns for this 1987 sequel of the groundbreaking original. For anyone not familiar with the first movie, Jackie plays the invincible cop Ka Kui, who spends most of the original movie chasing a drug lord. The sequel follows on pretty soon after the original, with success coming with a price to pay for our hero. His superiors are not happy with his rule-bending behaviour and demote him to a traffic officer. Thinking that things can’t get any worse, Ka Kui goes about his job, but soon finds himself in the middle of trouble again. Gangster Chu Tu has just been released from prison and latches a plan to wreak revenge on his captor, which involves the tormenting of Ka Kui’s girlfriend May.

May had hopes for a quiet life after the demotion of her boyfriend, but she should have known better! Ka Kui’s short temper is once again put to the test and he finds himself in hot water with his bosses after a series of incidents with Chu Tu’s gang. This leads Ka Kui to consider his future and he rashly decides to quit the Police. Cue a terrorist threat and a bomb explosion which Ka Kui luckily witnesses! The motive for the bombing turns out to be a ransom, and Ka Kui is persuaded to rejoin the force to solve the crime.

After the runaway success of Police Story it was going to take something special from the sequel to match its predecessor. In some people’s eye Police Story 2 is a pitiful effort, but I would have to disagree. Whether it is on par is debatable, but I certainly found it to be in line with most of Jackie’s previous efforts. By that I mean it has plenty of exhilarating fight scenes and features some wacky humour. Jackie Chan movies are guaranteed to entertain, but sometimes lack a plot. That statement doesn’t quite ring true for Police Story 2 though, as it contains the action but also has a reasonable storyline as well. Want a quiet night in with a movie, where you switch your brain off and forget about the stress of work? Well trust in Jackie, he won’t let you down!  

Police Story 2 receives an Anamorphic 2.35:1 transfer, which considering the age of the movie (over fifteen years old) is a pretty decent effort. There are the occasional glitches and damage to the print, but Hong Kong Legends have provided an image which is sharp and clear for the majority of the film. This film does not have the widest ranging colour levels, with dull, plain colours used for the majority of the movie. I think this is probably down to the way the movie was shot, so the mark for this transfer won’t suffer too much for that reason. Edge enhancements and compression artefacts seemed to keep away for the most of the movie. Hong Kong Legends have built up a reputation for re-mastering movies competently for DVD releases, and this is another release which will leave our American friends green with envy. Not up there with the best that DVD can offer, but still a mighty fine effort!

Police Story 2
Hong Kong Legends have once again pulled out the stops with the audio aspect of this disc. Not only do we get an English Dolby Digital 5.1 track, but we are also treated to a Cantonese 5.1 track as well. While not being the most active tracks that I have listened to recently they certainly did a reasonable job of engrossing me in the film. The rears are used to an acceptable standard and come into play during some of the more active scenes (e.g. a bomb scene towards the beginning of the movie). The dialogue also seemed clear with both tracks, but I have to admit to watching the Cantonese track for the majority of the movie. Re-mastered English subtitles were also created for this disc and are available for selection along with Dutch subtitles

Hong Kong Legends can be relied upon to provide a solid enough set of extras and this disc is no different. While it doesn’t quite live up to its ‘Special Collector’s Edition’ tag, there should be enough here to keep most people happy.  The first extra I came to is entitled Outtakes Montage, which shows stunts that went wrong during filming. This extra emphasises exactly how dangerous some of Jackie’s stunts are. For example, you see people bleeding, on fire and generally in pain. This extra lasts for just over two minutes and consists of mostly clips lasting a few seconds.

Police Story 2
Probably the most substantial section is called the Interview Gallery. This section includes an interview with Jackie himself. The interview is called Jackie Chan: King Of Action. In this interview Jackie admits that he is not the best action star, but he is dedicated and spends a lot of time on scenes making them more complex. We also get to hear from several of the people he has worked with, who compliment the star and talk about what makes him a box office success. The interview shows various clips from his movies (especially City Hunter). We also get to hear that Jackie takes a lot of his ideas from comedians such as Laurel and Hardy. Jackie also talks through some of his scenes and why he thinks audiences like his movies. This interview lasts for over thirty minutes and is a must-see for any fans of Jackie. Next up is an interview called Benny Lai : Master Kicker. This interview lasts for over fifteen minutes and includes an in depth interview with Benny Lai. Interwoven into the interview are clips from Police Story 2. Also we get to see Benny Lai and some of his fancy moves. This section is more for fans of martial arts, rather than the movie, however it still makes intriguing viewing.

Commentary fans will be interested by what is offered with this disc. Jude Poyer (a stuntman and film critic of Hong Kong cinema) and Miles Wood (freelance writer based in Hong Kong) provide the entertainment in this commentary. Although a strange choice of commentators for the movie, it becomes apparent early on that the two commentators know an awful lot about the film, and especially the Hong Kong movie scene. If you are after a detailed discussion about the movie then you could do a lot worse then listening to this commentary.

Police Story 2
Next up is a trailer gallery which features the UK promotional trailer and the original theatrical trailer. The trailers differ considerably and show the vast deviation between UK and Hong Kong audiences. The UK trailer is faster paced and shows many of the action scenes, while the original theatrical trailer plays more like a behind the scenes documentary. The UK trailer lasts for about two minutes and the theatrical trailer is double the length. Concluding the extras list is a further attractions section, which features five other Hong Kong Legends titles. Each title gives a brief description of the movie and you also get the option to watch the relevant trailer.

Police Story 2 may not be as bracing as its predecessor, but it is still a good night’s entertainment. If you haven’t been introduced to the world of Jackie Chan yet, then what are you waiting for? This release is deemed a Collector’s Edition, but in my opinion requires slightly more content to warrant such a title. That’s not to say the extras are lacklustre, but they could have been beefed up a little. However, the transfer and audio tracks once again prove that Hong Kong Legends are the best in their field. This is another capable release from one of my favourite DVD labels.