New York Times Review

From Hong Kong, Thrills Chills and Stunts Galore

By Lawrence Van Gelder(New York Times)

To put it plainly right at the outset, "Supercop," as its title implies, is a moving comic book. The plot of this new Jackie Chan film is so ready made it could come in a can from H. J. Heinz. The heroes are impervious. The villains are made of card-board and just as easily disposable. So the only real question is this: Once the action begins to accelerate, how's the ride?
Answer: Dumb but delightful.
Audiences that want to escape into air-conditioned darkness for a couple of hours and watch a succession of spectacular stunts whose peril and thrill quotient are enhanced by Mr. Chan's reputation for risking his own limb and life to perform them are going to get their money's worth. The film makers have also tossed in some laughs and exotic locales.
And what's more and better, Mr. Chan is joined in this outting by a female co-star, Michelle Khan, who seems every bit his equal when it comes to martial-arts prowess and foolhardy daredevilry. Taken together, they're like watching two 007's, one 0014 or, as they say now, whatever. What is going on in this dubbed import from Hong Kong that was directed by Stanley Tong, a former stuntman? Well, one fine day, the charming Mr. Chan, as a Hong Kong supercop named Kevin Chan, signs over his life-insurance policy to his unsuspecting girlfriend, May (Maggie Cheung), and tells her that he is going off for some training.
Actually he is going into China and other parts of Southeast Asia to try to infiltrate a major heroin operation. The lovely Ms. Khan, as the Chinese chief of security, sets up his cover while he wins the gratitude of a gangster named Panther (Yuen Wah) by breaking him out of prison. She also poses as his sister, Hana, when Panther decides to hide out for a while in a small village with Kevin's supposed family. Eventually, Panther introduces Kevin and Hana to his elegant elder brother, Chaibat (Ken Tsang). Enroute, there are thrill rides in coal carrying carts and along a cable dropping precipitately into a vally, a waterborne chase and a gun duel with Hong Kong police, a blazing battle in the camp of an opium-dealing warlord in the Golden Triangle, car chases and the grand finale. These are accompanied by intermitent fights, various close calls and interludes of humor when Kevins's uncle poses as his mother and his angry girfriend confronts him at a resort in Kuala Lumpur where Kevin is encamped with Panther waiting to snatch Chaibat's wife (Josephine Koo) from the hands of the authorities who have sentenced her to death.
The extended final showdown, revolving around the effort to thwart the escape, presents Hana jumping a motorcycle aboard a speeding train, Kevin leaping from a 10-story building to a rope ladder beneath a helicopter, and a battle abroad the train that reduces the helicopter and the villians to rubble. "Supercop" makes its points on style.

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