Crime Story
R1 - America - Genius Products
Review written by and copyright: Pat Pilon (6th September 2007).
The Film

In his prime, Jackie Chan could do no wrong. His fans would go see his movies, no matter what he did. It's probably with this in mind that he jumped into 'Crime Story', a movie devoid of his trademark comedy and slapstick, and more akin to 'New Police Story', where drama takes centre stage. Jackie Chan plays Inspector (Eddie) Chan, who is appointed to guard and then save businessman Wong Yat-fei (Kang Law-hang). He has to travel to Taiwan and run around Hong Kong to find the culprit.

Not to be outdone by John Woo and Chow Yun-fat at the end of 'Hard Boiled', Mr. Chan and director Kirk Wong don't just blow up a hospital, they go for broke, with a whole block of apartment complexes hanging in the balance. Before that, Jackie Chan does stunt after spectacular stunt. The camera work also helps drive the point home that Jackie Chan really is in that overturned car! Mr. Chan also gets to jump and weave through small spaces. He's in top form here, and the pacing is spectacular. It's impressive he can do the things he does.

Supporting all this action is a very strong dramatic story. With virtually no comedy, Jackie Chan has to rely on his acting talents to carry the movie. He does this very well. His performance is strong and believable. He never mucks for the camera, giving him great authority. His nomination at the Hong Kong Film Awards is very deserved. He plays a straight arrow cop that's only try to do his job. Nothing is going to stop him, and he'll run as far as he can to catch the bad guy. The plot moves very nicely and is relatively believable. The logic is a bit funny sometimes, but for the most part everything moves smoothly.

'Crime Story' is a very good movie. Jackie Chan carries the movie nicely. It's actually one of the best performances of his career. His action choreography is crazy and entertaining. He always tries to do things he's never done before when it comes to stuntwork, and he gets pounded pretty nicely. This is the closest thing to a Category III movie Jackie Chan has ever done. It's bloody and some of the fights are brutal. Considering this movie is based on a real story, this element adds some depth to what you're watching.

Video

1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. Genius did a great job with the picture. They cleaned it up, taking out all the specks, scratches and other blemishes. They also kept the grain, which gives the movie an authentic look. The colours are bright and pretty accurate. The contrast is at good levels, and whites are never blown out and blacks are never too strong. The skin tones may be on the pale side, but that's because of the source. The whole print looks a bit worn, which can be mostly forgiven. The picture is on par with other Dragon Dynasty releases, especially the older ones.

Audio

The movie comes in two Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks (Cantonese and English) and the original Cantonese Dolby Digital 2.0 mono track. I chose the Cantonese 5.1 track and I was pretty happy. The voices were a bit tinny and closed in, but only slightly, and only because of the mono-to-5.1 remix. The gunshots and crashes also sound a bit thin here and there, but overall the track is fairly open. The rears are used only sparingly and the gunshots use up the front speakers in somewhat random ways. The mixing could have been a bit better for the gunshots, as the only come from the centre speaker and should often go to others. The score uses up all the speakers pretty nicely, popping up in the back to add more emotion. The track is pretty much what one has come to expect from older Hong Kong movies getting new 5.1 remixes.
English, English HoH and Spanish subtitles are there for your help.

Extras

With Bey Logan handling the DVD, you know it's going to be very nice. First off is an audio commentary by director Kirk Wong and Bey Logan. With Bey Logan in the commentary, you know there will never be one second of dead air, and that's the case here. He and Kirk Wong have a blast talking about the movie. As is the case when Mr. Logan has a guest, he acts as interviewer, and Mr. Wong remembers what he can. They talk about the locations, the actors, the cut scenes and everything else. Mr. Wong talks about how some shots were done and what shot he was really worried about doing (one of the ones at the end with all the fire). They also spend a little time talking about the real case and the Kowloon walled city. All in all, it's another great commentary with Bey Logan. He knows just about everything there is to know about the actors, and with the help of the movie's director, the track is very informative and very entertaining.

Next up are a couple of interviews with titles far too long. 'A Journey to the Underworld: An Exclusive Interview with Acclaimed Director Kirk Wong' (29:21) is the first one. He goes into very nice depth (except when he talks about why Jet Li left the project (something about 'fees')). He talks at length about Jackie Chan and how he prepared for the role. The style is also talked about, as is the ridiculously big explosion at the end and the fire that destroyed the set. The talk of the explosion is particularly interesting. The relationship he had with Jackie Chan is also pretty interesting. The interview is a must if you like the movie and own the DVD. The second one is 'From the Page to the Screen: An Interview with Writer Teddy Chen' (12:15). He talks about how he got the gig, and what he wanted to do with the movie. He also talks about the real story, the actors and the action. Mr. Chen gives out some interesting tidbits (like saying Jackie Chan changed the ending of the movie, which is strange because in the commentary the director says the ending was changed because of the wife of the kidnapped businessman).

Next up are three Deleted Scenes. The first is 'Can't Stop the Music!' (2:32) and it's a weird scene that doesn't really fit in with the tone of the movie. It has Jackie Chan at a jazz club listening to a piano player, and his shrink comes in and plays the clarinet. Mr. Logan makes fun of this scene in the commentary and I can see why. The second is 'Racket Rage' (2:21) and also includes the psychiatrist. This time she's playing tennis. For some reason, this scene is in Mandarin. Once again, the scene doesn't really serve too much purpose. The third scene is 'The Man in the Mirror' (1:28) and it's an alternate ending. Once again, it's with his shrink and it ties with both other cut scenes. I prefer the ending the movie has right now.

The last extras are some trailers. There's the original theatrical trailer (3:39) and the US promo trailer (2:15). If the movie were released today, it would have the US trailer, although it's not too accurate. The movie the narrator describes in the US trailer looks to be really interesting, though it's not 'Crime Story'. The older trailer lasts forever and gives too much away. The disc also has some Start-up Trailers: 'Hard Boiled' (2:10), 'Police Story' (2:01) and 'Police Story 2' (1:40).

Overall

The Film: B+ Video: B Audio: B- Extras: B- Overall: B

 


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