Police Story 2 Blu-ray Review
Doubling down on explosive stunts
Police Story 2 Review
That rare sequel that competes with the original, Jackie Chan's Police Story 2 goes brutal in fights and big in stunts and explosions.In his five decades of racking up a filmography well into three digits, the legendary actor, writer, director, producer, and stuntman, Jackie Chan directed about half a dozen movies which - unsurprisingly - largely remain amidst his best works. From the Armour of God franchise to the first two Police Story films, it's amazing that he managed to write, star and direct such action classics, with Police Story 2 building upon the often better-remembered original, and going-for-broke with some of the best stuntwork and fight scenes that he has ever put together.
After causing chaos last time out Jackie Chan's Inspector is busted down to traffic cop but soon finds himself embroiled in an elaborate ransom plot with bombers who will do whatever it takes to get their hands on some free money. Cue pyrotechnics galore.
Police Story 2's ten-on-one playground fight is sheer perfection, not just in Chan's career but arguably within the genre itself.
Whilst the bus sequence and shopping mall scenes in Police Story remain amidst the best remembered in his career, Chan - returning to writer/director duties here - takes it to another level with his sequel, delivering a series of explosive moments (none more so than the finale) and a number of fabulous fight scenes. Sure, the plotting - trying to be more elaborate than first time around - slows the pace down a tad towards the end of the second act (this is the 2 hour previously unseen uncut version, and it's a long movie) but the payoff is worth it in terms of fights and stunts.
Indeed, he's had some great fight scenes in his five decades on screen, but Police Story 2's ten-on-one playground fight is sheer perfection, not just in Chan's career but arguably within the genre itself. The sheer precision of the choreography is spectacular to behold, with lightning-fast moves that are utterly jaw-dropping. In the day and age of The Raid films and - in terms of Hollywood - John Wick and its fantastic sequel, it's nice to see a return to focus upon such expert choreography, with Cruise's Mission: Impossible - Fallout proving there's still a market for practical stunts too, but, really, Jackie Chan had it all nailed thirty years ago with films like this.
Police Story 2 Blu-ray PictureAs with Eureka's 4K remastered release of Police Story, their release of the sequel, Police Story 2, comes in the same great looking-better-than-ever shape, bringing the 1988 classic to audiences not only in its full-length uncut 2 hour version, but also in the best condition it's ever been in.
As with Police Story, the sequel has simply never been afforded a decent release - with the now-old Hong Kong Blu-rays plagued with the same softness and defects that fans of the first one had to deal with - and this 4K-remastered 1080p/AVC-encoded High Definition video presentation, framed in the movie's original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.4:1 widescreen, sets the record straight.
Easily the best the film has ever looked.
The opening truck 'racing' sequence sets the visual tone for the rest of the movie, delivering some excellent scenes in superb shape, with clarity on the close-ups and on the wider shots (complete with that anamorphic curve around the edges from the lenses used). It's is still a limited budget, HK production which was always going to look a little bit soft in terms of style - but the detail they pull out of it with this new 4K restoration is really quite impressive, just falling shy of the jaw-dropping improvements made to the first movie but still remaining easily the best the film has ever looked.
As with the first, the colour scheme is more natural this time around, balancing out green backdrops, yellow traffic jackets, and fiery explosive pyrotechnics (it's crazy to think that the repeated mini-explosions and bursts of flames which Chan has to endure are all real, particularly when you watch the end credits). Black levels falter a little bit, but still don't drop into unbearable crush territory, and this is another generally excellent job from Eureka, promoting the Chan classic in the best shape we could hope for.
Police Story 2 Blu-ray SoundAs with the first film, we get a slew of audio options, including and English dub and the original LPCM 1.0 mono track, but the focus has to be on the original Cantonese language audio track in its remastered, remixed DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 form.
The best the film has ever sounded too.
Still a somewhat dated - and budget-restricted - production, Police Story 2 often makes up for its aural shortcoming in terms of sheer bombast and intensity, with a deliriously dizzying energy, rolling along with slap-snap-tastic fight scene sounds and almost the same score as the first film (although not enough use of the theme music, where Chan ultimately sings!). Dialogue, which is still dubbed presumably for some of the mainland cast, gets fine prioritisation and effects - particularly of the increasingly common explosive variety, afford some breadth across the array, and whilst there isn't enough LFE weight, it's still the best the film has ever sounded too, marrying up to the excellent video.
Police Story 2 Blu-ray ExtrasAs with the first film Eureka have gone above and beyond with their supplemental features. We get the option of watching multiple versions of the film; the one most will be familiar with is the shorter 106 minute original HK version which actually does a fairly decent job cutting to the chase in comparison with the arguably slightly more bloated 2 hour version. Just for kicks, there's the Alternate US VHS version, which runs at the same 106 minute length but comes complete with an at-times hilarious US dub.
Eureka have gone above and beyond with their supplemental features.
There's also a classic Audio Commentary which adorns the shorter HK version, a holdover from previous releases with a couple of film critics dissecting the production. There's a 45 minute 'Interview' with Jackie Chan hosted by Jonathan Ross, Son of the Incredibly Strange Film Show, and a quarter-hour Interview with martial arts specialist Benny Lai.
3 minutes of Outtakes, 4 minutes of Additional Outtakes with music and a couple of Vintage Trailers round out the package.
Police Story 2 Blu-ray VerdictIn the day and age of John Wick, it's nice to see a return to focus upon such expert choreography, but Chan had it nailed 30 years ago with films like this.
Jackie Chan's superb 1988 sequel Police Story 2 has simply never looked or sounded better, afforded a much-needed, long-overdue and highly anticipated 4K remaster for Eureka's box set release of the film and its first film, Police Story.
The 4K remastered video is great, and the accompanying audio options are pretty damn good too. Eureka also afford not one, but three cuts of the film, the uncut 2 hour version - which gets the 4K treatment - as well as the shorter 106 minute original HK cut and an alternate US dub for that, rounding out the extras with additional footage, a Commentary, Interviews and Trailers. The two-film set is a fantastic, must-have package for fans of Jackie Chan and one of his best franchises.
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