971-972 Police Story & Police Story 2

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
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swo17
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971-972 Police Story & Police Story 2

#1 Post by swo17 » Tue Jan 15, 2019 5:30 pm

Police Story/Police Story 2

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The jaw-dropping set pieces fly fast and furious in these breathtakingly inventive action comedies, two smash hits that made Jackie Chan a worldwide icon of daredevil spectacle. The director/star/one-man stunt machine plays Ka-Kui, a Hong Kong police inspector whose methods are, ahem, unorthodox; the phenomenal Maggie Cheung, in a star-making role, plays his much-put-upon girlfriend, May. Packed wall-to-wall with astoundingly acrobatic fight choreography, epic explosions, charmingly goofball slapstick, and awesomely 1980s electro soundtracks, Police Story and Police Story 2 set a new standard for rock-'em-sock-'em mayhem that established Chan as a performer of unparalleled grace and daring and would influence a generation of filmmakers, from Hong Kong to Hollywood.

SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES

• New 4K digital restorations of Police Story and Police Story 2
• Alternate 5.1 surround and English-dubbed soundtracks for both films
• Hong Kong–release version of Police Story 2, presented in a high-definition digital transfer for the first time
• New programs on Chan's screen persona and action-filmmaking techniques featuring author and New York Asian Film Festival cofounder Grady Hendrix
• Archival interviews with Chan and actor and stuntman Benny Lai
• Television program from 1964 detailing the rigors of Peking-opera training, akin to the education that Chan received as a child
• Chan stunt reel
• Trailers
• New English subtitle translations
• More!
• PLUS: An essay by critic Nick Pinkerton

Police Story

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The jaw-dropping set pieces fly fast and furious in Jackie Chan's breathtakingly inventive martial-arts comedy, a smash hit that made him a worldwide icon of daredevil action spectacle. The director/star/one-man stunt machine plays Ka-Kui, a Hong Kong police inspector who goes rogue to bring down a drug kingpin and protect the case's star witness (Chinese cinema legend Brigitte Lin) from retribution. Packed wall-to-wall with charmingly goofball slapstick and astoundingly acrobatic fight choreography—including an epic shopping-mall melee of flying fists and shattered glass—Police Story set a new standard for rock-'em-sock-'em mayhem that would influence a generation of filmmakers from Hong Kong to Hollywood.

Police Story 2

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Jackie Chan followed up the massive success of Police Story with an even bigger box-office hit. Having been demoted to a lowly traffic cop for his, ahem, unorthodox policing methods, Chan's go-it-alone officer Ka-Kui quits the force in protest. But it isn't long before he's back in action, racing the clock to stop a band of serial bombers and win back his much-put-upon girlfriend May (the phenomenal Maggie Cheung, reprising her star-making role). Boasting epic explosions, an awesomely 1980s electro soundtrack, and a showstopping finale—which turns an abandoned warehouse into a life-size pinball machine of cascading oil drums, collapsing scaffolds, and shooting fireworks—Police Story 2 confirmed Chan's status as a performer of unparalleled grace and daring.

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DarkImbecile
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Re: 971-972 Police Story & Police Story 2

#2 Post by DarkImbecile » Tue Jan 15, 2019 5:44 pm

Never seen these, but the Janus trailer on the release page makes them look like a hell of a good time.

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Omensetter
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Re: 971-972 Police Story & Police Story 2

#3 Post by Omensetter » Tue Jan 15, 2019 6:20 pm

They're really going hard for a crossover audience with that synopsis. I don't know who amongst us would argue in favor of that "ahem".

But, yeah, the Janus trailer made these look awesomely.

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Boosmahn
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Re: 971-972 Police Story & Police Story 2

#4 Post by Boosmahn » Tue Jan 15, 2019 6:32 pm

I'm not a fan of martial arts/fighting movies, but that trailer really hooked me. Plus, the "Peking-opera training" video sounds like a great addition (akin to the swordmaking featurette in Lone Wolf and Cub).
Omensetter wrote:
Tue Jan 15, 2019 6:20 pm
I don't know who amongst us would argue in favor of that "ahem".
I think the concept is fine but using it twice (once in the set description, then in Police Story 2's blurb) makes it obnoxious. Putting quotes around "unorthodox" would have sufficed.

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371229
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Re: 971-972 Police Story & Police Story 2

#5 Post by 371229 » Tue Jan 15, 2019 9:26 pm

Police Story is available on Kanopy.

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Cronenfly
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Re: 971-972 Police Story & Police Story 2

#6 Post by Cronenfly » Tue Jan 15, 2019 9:42 pm

Any thoughts as to whether to get this or the MoC based on specs?

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dwk
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Re: 971-972 Police Story & Police Story 2

#7 Post by dwk » Tue Jan 15, 2019 9:51 pm

Criterion having an HD master if the HK cut of Police Story 2 is enough for me to recommend it. (MoC includes that cut, but it is a standard def PAL master.) But the MoC has alternate cuts of the first film (Japanese cut and the shorter English dubbed cut) that seemingly aren't going to be included on the Criterion.

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TheRanchHand
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Re: 971-972 Police Story & Police Story 2

#8 Post by TheRanchHand » Wed Jan 16, 2019 4:29 am

Nice surprise. More martial arts action films from Asia in the Criterion's library is a huge plus. Helps break the pretentious hold on the label :D

These Chan films are certainly showcases for some innovative and insane actions sequences, but the films themselves don't always live up to the more visually creative films like Drunken Master and Snake in the Eagle's Shadow (at Twilight Time). But, these 80s streak of "Jackie is a crazy stuntman" films definitely have their fun aspects. Drunken Master 2 would be a Godsend as would Enter The Fat Dragon with Sammo Hung (the remake is coming this year from Donnie Yen) and of course a series of Shaw Brothers films would rival the Toho Godzilla films.

But very happy to see the interest in these films as it is a certain overlooked aspect of cinema history and can tell you having spent time at both the Taiwan and Hong Kong film archives, many of these films are not well cared for.

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colinr0380
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Re: 971-972 Police Story & Police Story 2

#9 Post by colinr0380 » Wed Jan 16, 2019 1:51 pm

My guess is that if this is successful Project A and Project A: Part II would be good candidates, since they have just had a boxset release through Eureka in the UK and those films are really where Jackie does his biggest homages to Chaplin (going around the cogs inside a clock), Harold Lloyd (with a fall off a clock face) and Buster Keaton (at the end of Project A: Part II). Although I'd love to see Criterion release Police Story III: Supercop since that is the wildest of all of the Police Story films in terms of stunts and it would be good to see another reissue of a previous laserdisc title.

I'm a fan of Armour of God (aka the one with Jackie's worst injury, as celebrated in detail in the outtakes at the end!) and Operation Condor: Armour of God 2, although those are much goofier than the Police Story films, with a lot of comicbook Indiana Jones-style globetrotting usually with a trio of ethnically diverse female sidekicks. Operation Condor in particular has that wind tunnel sequence which is one of the best in any Jackie Chan film! (And it also has Jackie bouncing down a cliff in a transparent ball decades before Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom did it!)
Last edited by colinr0380 on Fri May 24, 2019 1:28 am, edited 2 times in total.

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tenia
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Re: 971-972 Police Story & Police Story 2

#10 Post by tenia » Wed Jan 16, 2019 2:44 pm

I'm not sure the US rights are available for the 2 Project A movies.

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whaleallright
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Re: 971-972 Police Story & Police Story 2

#11 Post by whaleallright » Wed Jan 16, 2019 3:05 pm

So this is it, huh? Hong Kong action cinema is finally in the American cinephile canon, after years of being championed mostly by weirdos and neckbeards? (I say this with utmost affection.)

Let's take a moment, then, to recall the disrepute in which these films were held by "serious" film critics for so long. (Warning: this review will cause you to want to disinter Vincent Canby's body, yell at it, and then push it back into its grave.)

Seriously though, this is great. These films are like audiovisual caffeine.
Last edited by whaleallright on Wed Jan 16, 2019 3:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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TheRanchHand
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Re: 971-972 Police Story & Police Story 2

#12 Post by TheRanchHand » Wed Jan 16, 2019 3:07 pm

I fully agree the AOG series might have been a stronger fit here as PS 1&2 are stunt fueled and fun but lack a bit of the elevated filmmaking of those films. I am not complaining as any Chan or old Hong Kong action films are welcomed by me in special editions. Severin and VCI (spinning off a new label) have a number of titles reportedly coming in 2019 in special editions as well so hopefully this trend continues (Shaw Brothers has some great ones and with the passing of Raymond Chow recently, Golden harvest as well).

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zedz
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Re: 971-972 Police Story & Police Story 2

#13 Post by zedz » Wed Jan 16, 2019 3:14 pm

whaleallright wrote:
Wed Jan 16, 2019 3:05 pm
So this is it, huh? Hong Kong action cinema is finally in the American cinephile canon, after years of being championed mostly by weirdos and neckbeards? (I say this with utmost affection.)
You mean, apart from the two John Woo films that were among Criterion's first ten DVD releases?

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dwk
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Re: 971-972 Police Story & Police Story 2

#14 Post by dwk » Wed Jan 16, 2019 3:56 pm

tenia wrote:
Wed Jan 16, 2019 2:44 pm
I'm not sure the US rights are available for the 2 Project A movies.
They are still with Miramax. As are Police Story 3 and the Operation Condor movies.

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colinr0380
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Re: 971-972 Police Story & Police Story 2

#15 Post by colinr0380 » Wed Jan 16, 2019 5:03 pm

I wonder what might happen to all of Miramax's films, or whether they are in limbo until somebody buys the company.

Sorry for going off topic a bit, but a brilliant martial arts-period drama film that would be a great fit for Criterion and does not seem to have been released by anyone as yet would be Tsui Hark's Peking Opera Blues starring Brigitte Lin.

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dwk
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Re: 971-972 Police Story & Police Story 2

#16 Post by dwk » Wed Jan 16, 2019 5:14 pm

Someone bought Miramax ages ago and licensed the home video rights to Lionsgate (I suspect you are thinking of The Weinstein Company, which was bought by Lantern Entertainment)

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Re: 971-972 Police Story & Police Story 2

#17 Post by DeprongMori » Wed Jan 16, 2019 6:44 pm

colinr0380 wrote:
Wed Jan 16, 2019 5:03 pm
Sorry for going off topic a bit, but a brilliant martial arts-period drama film that would be a great fit for Criterion and does not seem to have been released by anyone as yet would be Tsui Hark's Peking Opera Blues starring Brigitte Lin.
Be still my heart! I’ve been waiting for this one for ages. Hoping this film lives up to my ecstatic memories of it from nearly thirty years ago.

ftsoh
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Re: 971-972 Police Story & Police Story 2

#18 Post by ftsoh » Thu Jan 17, 2019 9:59 pm

Hope this bode well for other Fortune Star owned Golden Harvest's and Cinema City's output between the 70's and 90's, even in the form of Eclipse sets.

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whaleallright
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Re: 971-972 Police Story & Police Story 2

#19 Post by whaleallright » Fri Jan 18, 2019 3:24 am

zedz wrote:
Wed Jan 16, 2019 3:14 pm
whaleallright wrote:
Wed Jan 16, 2019 3:05 pm
So this is it, huh? Hong Kong action cinema is finally in the American cinephile canon, after years of being championed mostly by weirdos and neckbeards? (I say this with utmost affection.)
You mean, apart from the two John Woo films that were among Criterion's first ten DVD releases?
I'd completely forgotten about those! It's been a long time.

John Woo mania feels like a million years ago.

I feel like the most obvious candidate for a Tsui Hark film getting the fancy-pants treatment would be The Blade which is essentially an art film wu xia (and one of the best movies ever made in HK). That's a Golden Harvest title, right? At least, Warners released it in what I believe was a series of G.H. films on VOD. It's also a film that could use a wider audience.

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dwk
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Re: 971-972 Police Story & Police Story 2

#20 Post by dwk » Fri Jan 18, 2019 4:25 am

Warner does indeed have the rights to The Blade and a number of other HK titles. The few that Warner Archive released on DVD-Rs all had SDH dubtitles instead of proper subs. Hopefully Shout or Criterion can license those films and give them a proper release. Failing that, It'd be nice if WA went back and released them on Blu-ray with proper subtitles, but I suspect that they sold too poorly for that to happen.

Zot!
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Re: 971-972 Police Story & Police Story 2

#21 Post by Zot! » Fri Jan 18, 2019 5:26 am

whaleallright wrote:
Fri Jan 18, 2019 3:24 am
zedz wrote:
Wed Jan 16, 2019 3:14 pm
whaleallright wrote:
Wed Jan 16, 2019 3:05 pm
So this is it, huh? Hong Kong action cinema is finally in the American cinephile canon, after years of being championed mostly by weirdos and neckbeards? (I say this with utmost affection.)
You mean, apart from the two John Woo films that were among Criterion's first ten DVD releases?
I'd completely forgotten about those! It's been a long time.

John Woo mania feels like a million years ago.

I feel like the most obvious candidate for a Tsui Hark film getting the fancy-pants treatment would be The Blade which is essentially an art film wu xia (and one of the best movies ever made in HK). That's a Golden Harvest title, right? At least, Warners released it in what I believe was a series of G.H. films on VOD. It's also a film that could use a wider audience.
I don't see how Hong Kong action has been neglected very much in the recent past, even Jackie Chan's Supercop was a Criterion laserdisc release and he became a box office sensation. Tarantino and the Matrix Movies obviously put a LOT of focus on it, WWK was an art house darling, John Woo made incredibly popular English Language movies with Hollywood Stars, Martin Scorsese's remake of Infernal Affairs, Crouching Tiger's success...etc...etc...

They just make so MANY movies that it's a bit hard to keep track of, honestly. Also it's possible that things have died down recently, as I have not been paying attention. All in all however, I don't think it was ever terribly esoteric.

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tenia
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Re: 971-972 Police Story & Police Story 2

#22 Post by tenia » Fri Jan 18, 2019 7:07 am

Seeing how many HK movies are available on Western BD vs how many are available on Western DVD vs how many are available on DVD in Asia, I can easily see how people can feel HK movies have been quite neglected over the past decade in Occident. If it wasn't for Eureka, how many of the FS restorations would be available to us ? 2 ? 5 ? They've restored 28 movies.
It's still missing tons of things, including many Tsui Hark or John Woo movies (Peking Opera Blues, Shanghai Blues, Bullet in the Head, A Better Tomorrow - but this one should soon be released -) but also tons of Johnnie To or Ringo Lam movies, and so so many others.
Even just looking at what Pathé, Metropolitan and their sub-label HK Video released in France on DVD, there are dozens of movies that pretty much haven't released since. There certainly has been a bubble during the DVD peak popularity, but it clearly has faded.

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Re: 971-972 Police Story & Police Story 2

#23 Post by MichaelB » Fri Jan 18, 2019 1:53 pm

Zot! wrote:
Fri Jan 18, 2019 5:26 am
I don't see how Hong Kong action has been neglected very much in the recent past, even Jackie Chan's Supercop was a Criterion laserdisc release and he became a box office sensation. Tarantino and the Matrix Movies obviously put a LOT of focus on it, WWK was an art house darling, John Woo made incredibly popular English Language movies with Hollywood Stars, Martin Scorsese's remake of Infernal Affairs, Crouching Tiger's success...etc...etc...
The bulk of your list happened during the 1990s, and even 1999 was twenty years ago!


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whaleallright
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Re: 971-972 Police Story & Police Story 2

#25 Post by whaleallright » Fri Jan 18, 2019 11:12 pm

I guess the issue for me isn't the absence of HK films from home video. There are obviously tons on home video in the digital era and previously! I rented them all, it seems, back in the 1990s.

The issue is more that HK cinema hasn't quite penetrated the upper reaches of the international (not just Western) cinematic canon. Of the 1,000s of films voted for in the 2012 Sight & Sound poll, for example, very few HK films, aside from the inevitable Wong Kar-Wai, were even mentioned. Even the films of such obviously masterful directors as King Hu and Tsui Hark were pretty marginal to the results.

Basically, for a long time—and still, really— HK popular cinema was a niche taste among cinephiles in the U.S. and Europe, not altogether unlike, say, anime, or Euro-horror, etc. Not a teensy niche, but a niche. And not a niche that overlapped as much as it should have with the principal guardians of the film canon: major highbrow film magazines, cinematheque retrospectives, etc. (Just to give an anecdotal example, I saw HK films in theaters in Chicago, New York, and Boston in the 1990s and 2000s, but outside of a few titles like those of John Woo, they tended to be in Chinatown theaters or midnight screenings at indie/rep theaters. The Film Center at the Art Institute was a semi-exception as Barbara Scharres would program HK titles a bit more than similar venues elsewhere.... Also, the usual video stores didn't tend to carry a ton of HK titles; I had to go to more specialized stores for that. Maybe other people have different experiences. It certainly would vary based on where you lived.)

The Criterion Collection is another major marker of canon formation, I think, even if it also sometimes reflects the idiosyncratic tastes of its producers. It's telling that although, yes, they did release several John Woo films in the 1990s—around the height of his international fame—they've been quiet on HK cinema since AFAICT, again aside from the perennial exception WKW.

Of course, some of this has to w/ longstanding critical biases against action cinema in general...

On a different note, the turn-of-the-century run of Johnnie To classics should really receive the deluxe treatment, but apparently most of them (like The Mission) are languishing in rights purgatory even in HK, and so restorations much less Blu-Ray releases are probably far off. In several cases, there aren't even screenable 35mm prints in HK itself....

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