This film represented Jackie Chan's transition from the kung-fu comedies of his early career into a glossier, more cosmopolitan style of action fare in which kung-fu is one component. The script is often schizoid in tone, veering from cheerful slapstick to brutal action at the drop of a hat, but this also lends it a certain unpredictability that will keep the viewer engaged. Chan makes a strong leading man, handling both the action and the comedy with a strong knack for the timing of both elements. He's aided nicely in the dramatic department by Brigitte Lin as the feisty suspect he has to protect, not to mention Maggie Cheung's amusing turn as Chan's long-suffering girlfriend and Bill Tung as a wily superior officer who's always angling to appear good to his boss. However, the key draw of Police Story is the action and Chan and company deliver on this requirement several times over: there are several hand-to-hand fight scenes that boggle the mind with their complexity and hard-hitting speed. Better yet, the film is bookended by two awe-inspiting action setpieces: the first mixes complex car stunts and building destruction in with gunfights and kung-fu (note: this scene was later "borrowed" by Hollywood for a similar scene in Bad Boys II) and a jaw-dropping finale that involves a destruction-heavy battle royale in a multi-storied shopping mall. The latter is one of the highlights of Chan's career, all the more impressive because he also directed it, and one of the most exhilarating fight scenes ever captured on film. In short, Police Story is a crucial film in Chan's career and thus a must for anyone interested in exploring his work.
by Donald Guarisco review