Police Story Blu-ray Review
PicturePolice Story comes to Blu-ray with quite a mixed bag video presentation, a 1080p High Definition rendition in the movie's original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1 widescreen that varies from really showing its age to looking quite acceptable on Blu-ray - again, for its age. Detail is therefore quite variable, switching from heavy noise and softness, obvious print defects - mostly noticeable during the indoor or night-time sequences - to a polished-up, much more acceptable offering during the daytime moments. I'm guessing that finding a clean, HD-worthy source that do Blu-ray justice was practically impossible as this largely seems like the old VHS that I used to watch, just polished-up and marketed as High Definition. It really is anything but. The colour scheme is full of potentially bright and deep colours which seem to have been spun through the washing machine and look washed-out and pretty faded. Skin tones look like something out of a Gerry Anderson TV show like Thunderbirds, and overall it is pretty disappointing. It is a shame because, at the outset, it all seems to be quite an improvement, quite a step up, but things soon take a turn for the worse and the rendition shows its true colours - or lack thereof - right through until some scenes towards the beginning of the third act. I know we have to take into consideration the age, and that this is probably one of the best video presentations that this movie has ever seen, but it really does not stand up very well overall.
SoundThe Dolby TrueHD 7.1 track that accompanies the movie is almost surround only in name, the often very limited track serving up what should be potentially quite dynamic material in a very one-dimensional and tinny fashion. Dialogue certainly comes across clearly and coherently in the movie's original Cantonese, although the shoddy subtitles do occasionally lack any sense or context at all. Still, for the most part it makes sense, and is probably considerably better than watching it dubbed into English with Dutch subtitles. The effects are quite commonplace, but do not come across well at all, offering up no spatiality or dynamic range, instead presenting everything from the ambient noises and the enhanced 'slapping' fight sounds to the bigger gunshots and crashes, in the same perfunctory, one-dimensional fashion. Bass is almost non-existent, and whilst the score comes across very well indeed, it is perhaps the most dated thing about the movie - a horrendous, cheap instrumental effort that would better suit a 70s Bollywood movie. Overall, this is one of the worst 7.1 mixes that I have ever come across, but - at the same time - probably the best we have ever heard from this 80s Hong Kong action-comedy.
ExtrasAll we get is a standard Hong Kong NG Shot, as well as a Stills Gallery. It would have been nice to have a little more input from Chan himself, especially considering how important this movie was to his career.
VerdictPolice Story started off what ended up being the longest-running franchise in acclaimed martial arts superstar Jackie Chan's massive career. Showcasing his trademark insane stunt work and fighting capabilities, as well as his slapstick humour and more silly antics, it may not have a very palatable mix of ingredients (the serious cop thriller does not mix well with slapstick comedy) but it does have some amazing stunts and fights, not least the famous double-decker bus opening, the frantic street-fight, and the closing shopping mall confrontation. On Blu-ray it may look better than it has ever done before, but it is still a pretty dodgy affair, and the audio does not do justice to the format either. But - even with no noteworthy extras on the disc - this is still probably the best we have ever seen or heard from this classic Jackie Chan movie, so if you're itching to replace you're poorly dubbed Belgian VHS of this movie and have been holding out for the past 15 years, then the wait is finally over.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £21.88
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