Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
Police Story: Lockdown—Jackie Chan Takes the Franchise to Beijing
wondering just how much Jackie Chan has shifted his focus from Hong Kong to the
Mainland need only look at the evolution of his hit Police Story franchise. What started as comedic action romp
revolving around Chan’s Royal Hong Kong Inspector Chan Ka-kui is now a moody thriller-morality
play that might just break its anti-hero-ish Beijing Police Captain Zhong Wen. Chan
is older and wearier, but it is still nearly impossible to keep the old cat
down in Ding Sheng’s Police Story: Lockdown
which opens this Friday in San Francisco.
Zhong is already nearly done in when meets his daughter Miao Miao at a hipster
night club. Their relationship has been strained since her mother died.
Frankly, this get-together is not even her idea. She agreed to set-up the
meeting to humor her older pseudo-lover, the club owner Wu Jiang. In retrospect,
that was a mistake.
he comes to, Zhong learns in no uncertain terms he and his daughter, along with
twenty-some other patrons and employees are hostages in Wu’s concrete fortified
club. Thanks to his modifications, it will be hard for Zhong’s colleagues to
shoot their way in. Instead of ransom, Wu offers a baffling ultimatum,
demanding small time criminal Wei Xiaofu be brought to the club. Zhong was the
responding officer who arrested Wei, so this case is clearly personal, especially
since several witnesses to the incident (in which a young girl died) are among
Wu’s other captives.
Zhong blames himself so much, he just might be the only cop Bill de Blasio
would approve of. Needless to say, the events of that fateful night are
considerably murkier than Wu realizes, but rightly or wrongly, Zhong still
carries around a mountain of guilt. Lockdown
is a drastic departure from its predecessors (arguably, this is more of a
title appropriation than a reboot), but it is still a reasonably effective
showcase for Chan’s mature acting chops. Yes, there is still more spring in his
step than most fifty-nine year olds, but the centerpiece action sequence mostly
involves him getting pounded by Wu’s Filipino henchman.
Chan and Jing Tian forge some respectable father-daughter chemistry, the latter
is never given a chance to exercise the monster action skills she displayed in Special I.D., which is a most
unfortunate lost opportunity. It is a real shame, because most genre fans would
be totally psyched to watch the extremely telegenic newcomer fighting
side-by-side with the old rubber-boned veteran.
Liu Ye was impressively fierce as the Emperor in The Last Supper, he is frustratingly bland as the tortured and
tormenting Wu. Despite their diverse nationalities, none of the secondary
villains are distinctive to any appreciable degree either. However, Zhou Xiaoou
adds a surprising potent element of pathos as the sad sack Wei.
will duly note Lockdown’s “Die Hard in a night club” concept, with
liberal elements of Lethal Weapon’s Sgt.
“Too Old For This” Murtaugh thrown in for good measure, but its borrowings were
maybe not be so conspicuous in its target market. That is fair enough,
considering Hollywood’s magpie tendencies. In fact, it is a slick looking
production, thanks to the metallic neon set design and Yu Ding’s noir-ish
cinematography. The weak bad guys are a drawback, but action fans will still
enjoy watching a new and largely credible outing from Chan. Recommended for his
fans, Police Story: Lockdown opens
this Friday (6/5) in San Francisco at the 4-Star Theatre and in Los Angeles at
the Arena Cinema.
Labels: Jackie Chan, Jing Tian