Police Story

Movie review by
Tom Cassidy, Common Sense Media
Police Story Movie Poster Image
Iconic Jackie Chan action comedy has slapstick violence.
  • PG-13
  • 1988
  • 99 minutes

Parents say

age 18+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 2 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Humility, courage, and dedication to the task in hand are all prominent themes. Teamwork and respect shown within the police force.

Positive Role Models

Inspector Chan Ka Kui is a diligent, daring, and dedicated member of the Hong Kong police force who refuses a large bribe from a criminal. He is a team player but also bends the rules when necessary. He is immature in his personal life, bickering with his girlfriend. Chan comes up against a corrupt colleague in the police force. Selina Fong -- who Chan must protect -- also proves herself as a worthy companion, outsmarting the police and her former criminal gang.


Action scenes include gun battles (with minimal blood) and fights with painful stunts, including high falls and performers smashing through glass. A car chase tears through a mountainside town. A masked home invasion starts off scary before becoming comical. Lots of slapstick violence. Character is slapped and kicked down stairs. Character says his jealous partner would "hang herself three times." Calls to report a rape and domestic abuse are part of a slapstick routine involving multiple telephones. During credits blooper reel, some of the actors are shown getting medical treatment after their stunts.


Character's bare bottom is seen in a shower scene. Innuendo and flirting.


Infrequent language includes "bastard," "bulls--t," and "ass."


Bus in key scene displays Crystal Spring Lemon Tea poster. Mattel logo and Barbie toys prominent in toy shop scene.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Character smokes a cigar. Sealed packages of drugs shown and drug dealer samples an unidentified powder. Model stages smoking opium for police photo shoot.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Police Story is a standout Hong Kong comedy-action movie starring, co-written, and co-directed by Jackie Chan who must protect a key witness from a drug gang awaiting trial. The movie's (often slapstick) violence incorporates great artistry, comedy, and surprise. Chan and his stunt performers perform amazing stunts with the fight scenes masterfully choreographed and designed to entertain, rather than cause upset or distress. Likewise any gun battles have little blood, focusing instead on the performers' falls. However, a blooper reel during the credits shows stunts going wrong and Chan and his team in pain while receiving medical treatment on set. There is some depiction of drugs, mostly being seen in packages, although a drug dealer does sample an unspecified powder. In another scene, a model lights an opium pipe for a police photo shoot. There are some iffy gags, including a throwaway comment about a jealous girlfriend taking her own life and a "comedic" mix-up sequence involving two women reporting a rape and domestic abuse. The subtitled version has three uses of bad language -- there is also a dubbed version -- including "bastard," "bulls--t," and “ass." Logos for Crystal Spring, Mattel and Barbie are prominent in key scenes.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 10 and 12-year-old Written byLaure M. December 20, 2021

Rape joke one the English dubbed version

There’s a rape joke in the English dubbed version, and for that reason alone, I think no one should watch it.

Other than that, the main protagonist keeps lyin... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byMr. Mongo August 17, 2021


fun slapstick movie that kids will enjoy
Kid, 10 years old April 1, 2021

Just Awesome

So many awesome things happen in this classic.

What's the story?

In POLICE STORY, Inspector Chan Ka Kui (Jackie Chan) has to protect a police witness while the gang of drug dealers she worked for awaits trial.

Is it any good?

This is a jewel in the Hong Kong action movie crown and shows its star, Chan, at the top of his game. Part superhero cop, part clown, Chan's police inspector is the perfect character to carry this comedy-action movie. Chan's instinct for when to amaze, entertain, or play the fool is honed masterfully and enables Police Story to throw out surprise after surprise. His (literally) death-defying stunts are gasp inducing and awesome, while the slapstick elements -- such as a cake to the face -- are reminiscent of other great physical comedy performers like Buster Keaton. Rather than being gritty or grisly, Chan's action set pieces are closer to the Gene Kelly and Donald O'Connor's joyful dance sequences in 1952's Singin' in the Rain. Show anyone Police Story's bus scene or climatic shopping mall battle and defy them to not both smile and gasp.

Police Story launched Hong Kong's brand of action movie that is still considered the high watermark of the genre. Chan's Hollywood career began more than a decade after Police Story made him a Hong Kong hero. But no western director has managed to capture the inventiveness and artistry that made his domestic movie output such pure gold.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the violence in Police Story. Did you find it funny? Is it ever appropriate to laugh when someone gets hurt?

  • During filming, Jackie Chan damaged his spine, dislocated his pelvis, and received burns. Do you think safety should be risked for entertainment and was the effect worth it?

  • The movie has a number of product placements, What do you think the filmmakers are trying to do by doing this? What is the impact of advertising on kids?

  • Some members of the police force in the movie bend the rules to bring criminals to justice. Is this ever right or should everything be done by the book?

  • How does this movie compare to other martial arts movies? What did you like, or dislike about this movie?

Movie details

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