Review: Police Story 3: Supercop (1992)

Directed by:
Cast: , , ,

Distributed in Australia by:

The Police Story series is one of Jackie Chan’s best-loved series of films. The first one, made in 1985, is lauded by many as one of the best action films ever made. As well as showing off Jackie’s talents, they made stars of actresses Maggie Cheung (Jackie’s long-suffering girlfriend in the first three films) and Michelle Yeoh, who almost out-stunts Jackie in Police Story III.

It’s a slower film than the first two Police Stories, this one. Made in 1992, it’s got a big budget that really shows, more exotic locales (on the mainland and in Malaysia) and helicopters, trains and coal mining equipment. There’s a lot more backstory and "lead up" to the action scenes, but it’s all well executed and good fun.

Jackie pays Chan Ka-kui, the Hong Kong policeman who’s built up a reputation for single-handedly solving difficult cases. At the beginning of the story he takes an assignment to go undercover on the mainland to break up a drug smuggling syndicate, telling his girlfriend May (Maggie Cheung) that he’s going to a training camp. His training for the undercover role is administered by an officer from the mainland, played by Michelle Yeoh, who begins the film broadcasting her derision for Ka-kui the "supercop" from Hong Kong. After he’s prepared, Ka-kui breaks one of the drug ring’s bosses (played very well by Yueh Wah) out of prison and thereby joins the gang of drug traffickers. Naturally, later on things start to unravel… and the aforementioned helicopters and trains enter the picture.

There’s some very funny scenes along the way; one constant refrain is Jackie’s trouble with his cover as a mainlander, having to improvise Northern kung-fu stances in between his bouts of street-fighting, and having trouble with the language. There’s a great deal of banter and conflict betweeen him and Michelle Yeoh that’s great to watch, and Michelle’s character is a surprisingly strong one for a female character, one that’s easily a match for Jackie. Each of them gets one truly amazing stunt, which I shan’t describe here… just watch the film. You’ll be impressed.

Yuen Wah is worth a mention, too, as the drug trafficker Panther. You’ve probably seen him before, if you don’t know the name — he’s doubled for many, many action stars in Hong Kong (a very good Peking opera trained tumbling fighter, he famously did all of Bruce Lee’s flips), and often played villanous characters when he was actually acting. I thought he did a great job here and made a much more realistic, menacing villain than many of the others in Jackie’s films (and better than his boss in this film, too!)

While not as much of a non-stop action-fest as its two predecessors, Police Story III: Supercop is a good film with some truly jaw-dropping stunts. Worth watching if you get the chance!

9 leaps into thin air out of 10.
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