Police Story (1985 film)

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Police Story
Hong Kong film poster
MandarinJǐngchá Gùshì
CantoneseGing2 Caat3 Gu3 Si6
Directed byJackie Chan
Produced byRaymond Chow
Leonard Ho
Screenplay byJackie Chan
Edward Tang
Story byGolden Way Creative Group
StarringJackie Chan
Brigitte Lin
Maggie Cheung
Chor Yuen
Charlie Cho
Music byMichael Lai
Tang Siu Lam
CinematographyCheung Yiu Cho
Edited byPeter Cheung
Golden Way Films Ltd.
Distributed byGolden Harvest
Media Asia Group
Release date
  • 14 December 1985 (1985-12-14)
Running time
101 minutes
CountryHong Kong

Police Story (Chinese: 警察故事; pinyin: Jǐngchá Gùshì; Jyutping: Ging2 caat3 gu3 si6) is a 1985 Hong Kong action film written and directed by Jackie Chan, who also starred in the lead role. It is the first of the Police Story series featuring Chan as a Hong Kong police detective named "Kevin" Chan Ka-Kui. Chan began work on the film after a disappointing experience working with the director James Glickenhaus on The Protector, which was intended to be his entry into the American film market.

Police Story contained many large-scale action scenes with elaborated stunts, including an opening sequence featuring a car chase through a shanty town, Chan stopping a double-decker bus with his service revolver, and a climactic fight scene in a shopping mall featuring a large number of glass panes and a dangerous stunt where Chan slides down a pole covered with dangling lights from several stories up.

Police Story was a huge success in East Asia. It won the Best Film award at the 1986 Hong Kong Film Awards. According to Chan's autobiography, he considers Police Story his best action film. In 2016, Police Story was voted the fourth best action film of all time in Time Out's poll of film critics, directors, actors and stunt actors.


The Royal Hong Kong Police Force is planning a major undercover sting to arrest crime lord Chu Tao (Chor Yuen). Inspector Chan Ka-Kui (or Kevin Chan in some versions) is part of the operation, along with undercover officers stationed in a shanty town. However, the criminals spot the officers and the shootout ensues between the two groups in which civilians either flee the town or caught in the crossfire as a result of the gunfight. Chu Tao and his men successfully flee in their car by driving through the town but crashes it immediately after going downhill and escapes on foot. Ka-Kui persists in his chase on foot as Chu Tao and his men attempt to escape in a double-decker bus. Ka-Kui manages to get in front of the bus and bring it to a halt by threatening to shoot the driver with his service revolver.

Later, Ka-Kui is reprimanded by Superintendent Li for letting the operation get out of hand, but subsequently presented to the media as a model police officer. His next assignment is to protect Chu Tao's secretary, Selina Fong (Brigitte Lin), who plans to testify in court about Chu Tao's illegal activities. At first, Selina insists that she does not require protection, but after Ka-Kui has a fellow policeman break into her apartment and pose as a knife-wielding assassin and later afterwards had his other officers fighting him while Ka-Kui attempts to drive away along with her, she becomes more cooperative.

When Ka-Kui arrives at his apartment with Selina, he is surprised by his girlfriend, May (Maggie Cheung) and her friends, who are throwing a birthday party for him, but May becomes angry with Ka-Kui after seeing Selina only wearing lingerie and Ka-Kui's jacket. Ka-Kui later explains to May that Selina is a witness, but only after much bumbling and embarrassment, causing her to leave the scene, though she does go to Chu Tao's trial the next day.

Meanwhile, Selina discovers that the attack at her apartment was a sham, and decides to slyly record over her confession about working for Chu Tao that took place in the car ride there. She sneaks away while Ka-Kui is sleeping and is not present at the trial the next day, which ends with failure for the prosecution because of Selina's absence and tampering with the recording.

Though Chu Tao is released on bail, he wants revenge against Ka-Kui. He captures Selina and threatens to kill her to ensure her silence. Ka-Kui finds and frees her, but is attacked by several of Chu Tao's men. When fellow Police Inspector Man arrives (Kam Hing Ying), he reveals that he had been working with Chu Tao and thus Selina's capture was merely a ruse to trap Ka-Kui. To Man's grim surprise, the plan is also to include Tao's men killing him with Kui's gun to frame him for murder. Now a fugitive cop killer, Ka-Kui must try to catch Chu Tao and clear his name, taking his superintendent as hostage in order to escape custody, though he soon lets his co-operative superior go free.

Selina goes to Chu Tao's office at a shopping mall to download incriminating data from Chu Tao's computer system. Chu Tao notices this and he and his men rush to the shopping mall to intervene. Ka-Kui and May, who are monitoring Chu Tao's activities, follow. In the ensuing carnage, Ka-Kui defeats all of Chu Tao's henchmen (and destroys a good portion of the mall). The briefcase containing the computer data falls to the ground floor of the mall, but Chu Tao retrieves it after attacking May. Ka-Kui, at the top floor, slides down a pole wrapped in lightbulbs to the ground floor and catches Chu, but the rest of the police force quickly arrives and prevent him from further taking matters into his own hands. Selina attests to them that Danny Chu killed Inspector Man and evidence of his crimes is in the briefcase. Chu's defence attorney shows up and accuses the police of misconduct, prompting a beating from an at-wit's-end Ka-Kui, who goes on to extend the beating to Chu Tao before being stopped by his friends.


  • Jackie Chan as Sergeant "Kevin" Chan Ka-Kui ("Jackie" on U.S, UK and Australian releases)
  • Brigitte Lin as Selina Fong, Chu Tao's secretary (as Brigette Lin)
  • Maggie Cheung as May, Ka-Kui's Girlfriend
  • Chor Yuen as Chu Tao, Crime Lord aka Tom Koo (New Line Cinema Dub)
  • Charlie Cho as John Ko, gangster aka John Chow (New Line Cinema Dub)
  • Fung Hak-on as Danny Chu Ko
  • Lam Kwok-Hung as Superintendent Raymond Li
  • Bill Tung as "Uncle" Bill Wong / Inspector Chou
  • Kam Hing Yin as Inspector Man
  • Mars as Kim
  • Lau Chi-wing as Counsellor Cheung
  • Tai Po as Lee / Snake Eyes
  • Kent Tong as Tak / Tom / Franscais Tong (Japan version)
  • Wan Fat as Jacknife / Mad Wing
  • Bowie Wu as Sha Tau Kok police officer
  • Clarence Fok as Photographer
  • Money Lo as TV reporter

Jackie Chan stunt team[edit]

  • Chan Tat-kwong
  • Johnny Cheung
  • Danny Chow
  • Fung Hak On
  • Benny Lai
  • Rocky Lai
  • Sam Wong
  • Ben Lam
  • Chris Li
  • Mars
  • Pang Hiu-sang
  • Paul Wong


Jackie Chan as Ka-Kui sliding down the pole surrounded by dangling lights in the shopping mall

The film contained many large-scale action scenes, including an opening sequence featuring a car chase through a shanty town, Chan stopping a double-decker bus with his service revolver and a climactic fight scene in a shopping mall. This final scene earned the film the nickname "Glass Story" by the crew, due to the huge number of panes of sugar glass that were broken. During a stunt in this last scene, in which Chan slides down a pole from several stories up, the lights covering the pole had heated it considerably, resulting in Chan suffering second-degree burns, particularly to his hands, as well as a back injury and dislocation of his pelvis upon landing.[1]

Edward Tang, the screenwriter for this film and many others, said that he did not write this film the way normal Hollywood screenwriters work. Chan instructed Tang to structure the comedic film around a list of props and locations: e.g. a shopping mall, a village, a bus, etc. In contrast to this production, most Hollywood films rely on the creativity of the screenwriters to create the plot-elements of a film, which are then forwarded to the director for actual filming.

In an interview with Chan, he discusses the stunt of sliding down the pole covered with lights. As with the clock tower stunt from Project A (1983), Chan described his fear at the thought of performing the stunt. However, during the filming of Police Story, there was the added pressure of strict time constraints, as the shopping mall had to be cleaned up and ready for business the following morning. One of Chan's stuntmen gave him a hug and a Buddhist prayer paper, which he put in his trousers before finally performing the stunt.[2]

Stuntman Blackie Ko doubled for Chan during a motorcycle stunt in which his character drives through glass towards a hitman. In the double decker bus scene, Jackie used a metal umbrella because a wooden one kept slipping when he tried to hang onto the bus.

Box office[edit]

The film grossed HK$26,626,760 (US$3,430,289) at the Hong Kong box office.

In Japan, it was the eighth highest-grossing foreign film of 1986,[3] grossing ¥1.04 billion (US$13.03 million) at the Japanese box office.[4]

Critical reception[edit]

In contemporary reviews, Kim Newman wrote in the Monthly Film Bulletin, that Police Story starts well with its car chase described as an "astonishing set-piece", but that "once the mix of realistic settings and fantasy action seems to have been established, the film falls back on Chan's clowning and turns into a slapstick comedy heavily dependent on cake-in-the-face jokes."[5]" The review concluded that the film "still lacks much of the aesthetic appeal and occasional comic grace of the more traditional period kung fu films such as Project A, Drunken Master, Snake in the Eagle's Shadow and Dragon Lord.[5] Vincent Canby wrote in The New York Times that at a screening of the film at the New York Film Festival that Chan was promoted as a hybrid of Buster Keaton and Clint Eastwood, with Canby noting that Chan was "more like a scaled-down, oriental Sylvester Stallone, with energy and a willingness to smile fondly at himself".[6] Canby also noted the excessive pie-in-the-face gags, and that Chan "participates in several elaborately staged gun fights and car chases" which were "mildly amusing" but not as amusing as the dubbed dialogue.[6] Canby concluded that the film "is of principal interest as a souvenir of another culture."[6]

Later reviews included one from the Time Out Film Guide which stated that "In Jackie Chan-land vehicles are for trashing small buildings, while big buildings are for falling off or sliding down... The likeable and graceful Chan directs, sings and performs jaw-dropping stunts."[7] In advance of the film's 4K restoration release in 2018, Matt Zoller Seitz of RogerEbert.com gave the film four out of four stars, stating that "[Police Story] is one of the great 1980s action films. It’s also one of the most 1980s action films", commenting its "cop-on-the-edge clichés" and synthesizer music. Seitz further wrote that "The entire film has the mentality of a master showman who wants to dazzle in every moment, big or small.... A stunt near the end gets repeated at full length three times, from three different angles; this would seem like a display of narcissism if it weren’t one of the greatest stunts in the history of movies, right up there with the collapsing house in Steamboat Bill, Jr. and the final fall in Sharky’s Machine".[8]

On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 88% based on 16 reviews, and an average rating of 7.2/10.[9] In 2016, when Time Out polled 50 film critics, directors, actors and stunt actors to list their top action films of all time, Police Story was voted the fourth best action film of all time.[10]


Home media[edit]

In late 2004, Hong Kong's Intercontinental Video Limited released a remastered anamorphic widescreen Police Story Trilogy boxed set in Region 0 NTSC format, featuring optional English subtitles and a choice of Chinese-language soundtracks. Hong Kong-based company Kam & Ronsom Enterprise released the first three Police Story films on Blu-ray Disc in June 2009. The first film was released on Blu-ray on September 14, 2009.[11]

New Line Cinema acquired the rights to the film, distributing it on VHS and Laserdisc on August 4, 1998, with 11 minutes of footage cut from the original Hong Kong version and a recycled soundtrack score from J. Peter Robinson. On December 19, 2006, The Weinstein Company released the film on Region 1 NTSC DVD (under their Dragon Dynasty label) with special features and deleted scenes; it was also released in Canada on 23 January 2007. Shout! Factory released Police Story and Police Story 2 as a double feature on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on 16 April 2013.[12]


Police Story 2[edit]

Police Story 2 (Chinese: 警察故事2), made in 1988, features many of the same actors reprising their roles from the original. The story picks up with Chan Ka-Kui demoted to traffic cop for causing so much damage in his apprehension of Chu. Chu has been released from prison on the pretense that he is terminally ill, and Chu and his clan continue to harass Chan and his girlfriend May as Chan gets reinstated to the detective unit when criminal bombers begin extorting money from businessmen.

Police Story 3: Super Cop[edit]

Police Story 3 (Chinese: 警察故事3超級警察, or Supercop) was made in 1992. Michelle Yeoh joins the cast, portraying a police officer from Mainland China. The story involves Chan and Yeoh's characters going undercover to break up a drug smuggling ring in Malaysia. The action moves from China to Kuala Lumpur, where Chan's girlfriend May is kidnapped. The film marks the last appearance of Maggie Cheung as May. Michelle Yeoh reprises her role in the spin-off, Project S (1993). Dimension Films released Police Story 3 in the US in 1996 under the name of Supercop with some edits to the film, the complete replacement of all music and sound effects, and English dubbing.

Police Story 4: First Strike[edit]

Police Story 4 (Chinese: 簡單任務 or Jackie Chan's First Strike), made in 1996, is the only film in the Police Story series made partially in English. The action shifts away from Hong Kong and East Asia, with a globe trekking espionage plot, lending the film the air of a James Bond adventure. New Line Cinema's US release contained several alterations. Filmed on location in Ukraine and Australia, the film also marks the last appearance of Bill Tung, who plays Chan's superior in the series.

New Police Story[edit]

New Police Story (Chinese: 新警察故事), made in 2004, is a reboot of the Police Story series. Chan portrays a disgraced detective named Wing, and acts alongside younger Hong Kong actors including Nicholas Tse, Charlene Choi and Daniel Wu. The story features a more dramatic focus, taking a darker and more serious tone.

Police Story 2013[edit]

Police Story 2013 (Police Story: Lockdown in North America) is a 2013 Chinese-Hong Kong action crime film starring Jackie Chan in another reboot of the Police Story film series. The film is directed by Ding Sheng, who previously helmed Chan's Little Big Soldier. According to Chan, unlike the previous Police Story films where he portrayed a Hong Kong cop, in the new film he will portray a mainland Chinese officer. Like New Police Story, 2013 is a stand-alone installment with a darker tone than the previous installments, which were comedies.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Jackie Chan. "Jackie's Aches and Pains: It Only Hurts When I'm Not Laughing". Random House. Retrieved 19 December 2012.
  2. ^ Police Story, Jackie Chan interview, Bey Logan Audio Commentary (DVD featurette) (DVD). Hong Kong Legends, UK. 1985 (film), 2001 (DVD). Check date values in: |date= (help)
  3. ^ "1986年(1月~12月)". Eiren. Motion Picture Producers Association of Japan. Retrieved 20 November 2018.
  4. ^ 『キネマ旬報ベスト・テン85回全史 1924-2011』(キネマ旬報社、2012年)450頁
  5. ^ a b Newman, Kim (1987). "Jingcha Gushi/Police Story". Monthly Film Bulletin. British Film Institute. 54 (637): 50–51. ISSN 0027-0407.
  6. ^ a b c Canby, Vincent (26 September 1987). "Film Festival; 'Jackie Chan's Police Story'". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
  7. ^ "Police Story Review". Time Out Film Guide. Archived from the original on 25 October 2011. Retrieved 25 August 2010.
  8. ^ Seitz, Matt Zoller (6 March 2018). "Police Story Movie Review & Film Summary (1985)". RogerEbert.com. Ebert Digital LLC. Retrieved 8 March 2018.
  9. ^ "Police Story (Ging chaat goo si) (Police Force) (1985)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 20 November 2018.
  10. ^ "The 100 best action movies". Time Out. April 29, 2016.
  11. ^ YESASIA: Police Story (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version)
  12. ^ "Shout! Factory Bringing in Jackie Chan Classics to Blu-ray; Bruce Lee Classics to DVD". Daily Grindhouse. 30 January 2013. Retrieved 2 April 2014.

External links[edit]