A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
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.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
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?
- On DVD or streaming: March 16, 1988
- Cast: Jackie Chan, Brigitte Lin, Maggie Cheung
- Directors: Jackie Chan, Chi-Hwa Chen
- Studio: Cinema Group
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Sports and Martial Arts
- Character strengths: Courage
- Run time: 99 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: violence, brief sexual humor and drug content
- Last updated: January 15, 2021
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