Police Story 3: Super Cop June 5, 2018
1 Hr., 35 Mins.
he third entry in the Jackie Chan-starring Police Story series, 1992’s Super Cop, is arguably the best chapter in the long-running comic-thriller saga. And that’s probably because it co-stars Michelle Yeoh, the action genre’s paramount heroine. Per usual, Chan’s dynamite — as nimble a comedic actor as he is a fearless stunt performer. But Yeoh makes the bigger impression. In addition to our considering that few actors who aren’t Chan would throw themselves into stunt work with the vigor Yeoh does, we also think about the fact that she, at the time, had not acted in five years. Without the actress, Chan was already a force to be reckoned
with. Add the spirited, miraculously out-of-practice Yeoh, who would come to be the genre’s most dauntless heroine for the next decade, though, and you find yourself in for something equal parts escapist and artful (vis-à-vis all the slickly choreographed action) and then some.
In Super Cop, Chan and Yeoh, in the spirit of most cop movies that star a couple actioner big cheeses, play a mismatched pair of law enforcers. Chan is the faux-bumbling-but-actually-clever-as-hell goofball Hong Kong copper “Kevin” Chan Ka-Kui of the previous entries; Yeoh is Jessica Hana Yang Chien Hua, a no-nonsense Interpol agent who begrudgingly enlists the dependable him to defeat a common foe. Being targeted is the archfiend of a drug lord Chaibat (Kenneth Tsang), who’s based in Hong Kong and who uses minions aplenty to help cover his tracks.
The mission depicted in Super Cop is relatively simple: Kevin is to go undercover as a petty criminal, get close to one of Chaibat’s numerous henchmen (Yuen Wah), and ideally infiltrate Chaibat’s secret hideout somewhere in the tropics. And this works, for a time. But Kevin and the tagalong Jessica (posing as Kevin’s scrappy sister) are so exceedingly gifted when it comes to the art of flashy combat, it ultimately becomes clear-cut to all the baddies surrounding them that these aren’t two-bit criminals in the slightest.
What we get with Super Cop, ultimately, is a consummate example of everything a diversion-oriented action movie could and should be: economic (the film’s just over 90 minutes), funny but not cloyingly cheeky (in the ways Chan’s later Rush Hour [1998-2007] movies so gratingly were), action-packed but not so much so that the storyline and the ensuing intrigue are overlooked. Capping its genre superiority are Chan and especially Yeoh’s performances: With breathtaking aplomb, these performers move from banter-heavy exchanges to high-octane set pieces without so much as breaking a sweat.
That so many American audiences are more familiar with Chan and Yeoh’s English-language movies is a shame: The films pre-dating the Chris Tucker era are so good, you might as well forget about the eminence of the James Bond series and look at the output of the Hong Kong action genre during the 1980s and ‘90s. Super Cop, with its genial humor and its laborious (but precisely executed) scenes of sprightly carnage, is that era’s aiguille. A-