Police Story III: Supercop (1992)

November 17, 2003 • Film, Reviews

AKA: Supercop; Police Story III; Police Force III
Literally: Police Story 3: Supercop
Director: Stanley Tong Kwai-Lai
Producer: Willie Chan, Edward Tang
Writer: Edward Tang, Fiba Ma, Lee Wai Yee
Action Director: Stanley Tong Kwai-Lai, Tang Tak-Wing, Sit Chun-Wai, Chan Man-Ching, Wong Ming-Sing

Cast: Jackie Chan (Sing Lung), Michelle Khan/Yeoh (Yeung Chi-King), Yuen Wah, Kenneth Tsang Kong, Maggie Cheung Man-Yuk, Bill Tung Piu, Kelvin Wong, Josephine Koo Mei-Wah, Wong Siu, Tuan Wai-Lun Cameo Appearance: Phillip Chan Yun-Kin

Running Time: 96 min.

Plot: Jackie Chan is a top Hong Kong detective working undercover in cooperation with the Chinese police who have captured Panther, a leading member of a major criminal gang. Panther knows the details of the gang’s operations. Jackie “befriends” Panther and organizes their escape to Hong Kong where he meets the head of the gang face to face. Now in the gang’s confidence, he goes along with them to negotiate a drug deal. At the last moment Jackie is exposed but escapes in time to foil all plans in an action-packed finale that has the Malaysian capital in chaos.

Michelle Yoeh had made three hard-rocking action films in the mid-eighties and then settled down, marrying 80s action film-producer Dickson Poon, who had discovered her and cast her in those three famous films. But after years of retirement, Michelle got a divorce and got back into acting. Jackie Chan helped make it possible by casting her opposite him in this nominal Police Story sequel more often known just as Supercop. It’s one of Chan’s and Yoeh’s best movies, featuring rollicking action and quick disguise gags and funny identity switches.
Just who is the Supercop of the title? There appear to be two here. Michelle is perhaps the only other person in one of Jackie Chan’s movies besides Jackie himself that is allowed to really kick ass (barring the early films with the Yuen brothers), and in this drug-trade undercover actionfest, she does so with gusto.

The stunts, by Chan and Yoeh both, are terrifying. Yuen Wah does his share, too. And, as usual for the police story movies, the most harrowing moment comes when Jackie’s girlfriend, played yet again by Maggie Cheung, is in trouble. This time, she gets dropped from a helicopter, bounces off a car, and lands on the pavement. Not batting an eye, Jackie runs straight towards÷the criminals, never coming near the probably grieviously-injured “girlfriend.” He must really love her.

Oh, who and I kidding? The Police Story movies are about the action. And the girlfriend abuse. And the action. And the abuse. Oh, I don’t know. Sometimes it’s hard to tell.

Luckily, the abuse in this one is offset by Michelle Yoeh, who is just as tough as Chan. She portrays such a strong, confident character that it’s hard to make the case for the same kind of misogynist tone that marks the first two Police Story movies. It would have been nice to see strong parts for women springing up in Jackie Chan movies. But the next Police Story film, First Strike, featured no significant parts for women at all. Michelle Yoeh did a spin-off called Project S, though, that was pretty good, excepting Chan’s cameo in drag.

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