HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Police Story: Lockdown
HTS Overall Score:76
When you think of martial arts/action movies from Asia, there are certain names that spring to mind. We all love Donnie Yen, Jacki Wu, Jet Li, but there are certain names that are living legends. Much like Bruce Lee, the name Jackie Chan is pretty much on everyone’s tongue when they think of Asian martial arts. His career has lasted over 40 years with countless movies under his belt. He’s had a witty charm to him that has defined his career up until recently. Usually Jackie lends his skills to comedy action and has made literally MILLIONS off of that persona. His serious dramatic roles are few and far between for the slapstick action star, but the “Police Story” series houses the few films in that vein. “Police Story: Lockdown” is the 6th movie in the decades old series, starting back in the 80’s when he starred as Kevin Chan, the incredible superhero action cop who broke as many bones in one film as most of us do in a lifetime. The first two “Police Story” films were heavily serious, with an incredible amount of stunt filmed action that made Chan a legend. “Supercop” and “First Strike” were much more comedic, and while they starred the same character, and the same wild action, they were much lighter fare. Fast forward almost 20 years and Chan tried to revive the serious action character that “Police Story” once was with “New Police Story”, released by Lionsgate studios. This was a minor flow that kind of killed the series, and Chan himself faded from the limelight. Adjusting to his age, he has been making a lot of films over in China, but very few of them are the adrenaline fueled stunt mobiles that he was famous for back in the day (seriously, the guy’s 61 years old right now, there’s only so much punishment the body can take, especially the type of punishment that Jackie has put on his body over the years). Now he’s back in the limelight with one more “Police Story” film left in him, taking on an age appropriate police officer who’s got to save the life of his daughter and a slew of hostages in a kidnapping gone wrong.
Officer Zhong Wen (Jackie Chan) is invited to club wu, a progressive night club that is basically a gigantic warehouse remodeled as a club, to meet his daughter and her new boyfriend Wu Jian (Ye Liu) who just so happens to be the owner of the club. Zhong and his daughter, Miao Miao (Tian Jing) aren’t exactly on the best of terms, as he has been a rather distant father most of his life, focusing on his job as a police officer rather than keep a good life at home. Using her new boyfriend to try and hurt her dad, Miao sneers at his fears over her dating a much older man and spits it back in face. Zhong’s fears turn out to be more than just an over protective dad, as Wu Jiang locks down the club and with several other men holds a dozen or so people hostage in club, including Zhong Wen and Miao Miao. It seems that Zhong Wen is the real target, and that he’s been using Miao Miao as leverage to get her father in the building with them.
What happens next is a cat and mouse game, as Zhong and Wu dance back and forth, with Wu Jian asking for a convicted criminal to be brought to the building in exchange for some of the hostages. Zhong recognizes some of the hostages, and realizes that they have ties to his job in some form or the other over the years, but isn’t sure how they all fit into the picture. Desperately trying to keep his daughter and the other hostages alive, Zhong agrees to help Wu Jiang get his man here, and also tries to put the pieces of the puzzle together before it’s too late. It’s not long after getting the prisoner there that the last of the picture falls into place and Wu Jian unleashes his final end game that is if Zhong Wen doesn’t stop him first.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=51233[/img]“Police Story: Lockdown” is a much different movie than the rest of the series. Instead of focusing on wild action, or crazy stunts, it slows down the pace and works as gritty crime drama that plays out over the course of almost 2 hours. That’s not to say that there isn’t some great action scenes throughout, as some flashbacks showcase a couple of cool ones, and there is actually a mano e mano fight between Chan and one of Wu Jian’s thugs at about the 2/3 point of the movie that is a real stunner. On that same note, I have to admire Chan for doing something that a lot of other aging action stars don’t do. That is making an age appropriate action movie. Zhong Wen is a worn out cop who’s spent his whole life being a supercop, at the sacrifice of his own personal life. Even when he fights against the much younger fighter in the cage, it’s not seen as an incredible win and show of force, but rather a mature man who takes his licks with style, but still has the wisdom and perseverance to overcome, even at the expense of nearly dying. The same goes for the rest of the fights. I’m not saying that Jackie Chan doesn’t look good, because at 61 years old he still moves faster than anyone that age normally does, and he looks good even when getting his head kicked in by a much younger fighter. To put it simply, Jackie Chan tailored the age of his character with the rest of the film so that we’re not just sitting there rolling our eyes as the 61 year old man gets the 25 year old girl, beats up 80 bad guys and just shrugs it off. The strain, pain and generally aging body are all taken into account for the movie and portrayed rather realistically.
There are some flaws to the movie though. I do like it, but I think the middle act was more than a bit too long. The film clock in at 1 hour and 50 minutes, but I think a good 20 minutes out of the middle could have been trimmed, making the end result a good bit leaner and more focuses. Zhong Wen trying to figure everything out worked for the first 30 minutes or so, but started to drag as the film went on, by the time the 3rd act surprise unveils itself, we’re actually glad because that means the film actually picks up the pace a bit. Some of the dialog is a bit stilted as well, both in the English dub, and the literal Chinese translations, so I’d say its part of the writing where the blame falls for that shortcoming.
Not Rated by the MPAA
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=51241[/img]Shot digitally, “Police Story: Lockdown” looks incredible on the 2.40:1 AVC encode Blu-ray disc thanks to Well Go USA. As with a lot of Asian films, the color palette leans towards a more grey and blue tone, with lots of extra colors coming through, but a definite love of those steel blue/grey colors and some brown earthy tones of the old factory turned club. Neon reds and blues and other primaries pop amongst all that color grading, especially the glitz and glitter portions of being an actual night club. Facial detail is excellent throughout and long shots show an impressive array of detail with the aging water pipes showing incredible texture and Chang’s aging face still in remarkable shape (especially for someone in their 60s). Black levels are strong with good shadow detail, but I did notice some banding early on in the film, as well as some recurring moments in the darkest scenes of the club. Other than that small flaw, I didn’t notice any compression artifacts or digital manipulation to the image at all. Well done Well Go USA.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=51249[/img]Well Go USA presents us with a quad set of audio options, with a 5.1 DTS-HD MA track for both the original Mandarin dialect as well as an English dub. Simultaneously there are comparative 2.0 Dolby digital tracks for each language, giving the ability for those of you who need “night listening” or on a TV set without a home theater setup. Jackie used his real voice for both the English dub as well as the Mandarin track, so no problems there with mismatching voices, but I have to say that I like the Mandarin dub a bit better as the rest of the English cast wasn’t as good, in my opinion. That being said, the counter balance comes in the form of the English subtitles, which can be a bit too literal at times instead of going for a smooth translation. If you’ve been a fan of literal subs for as long as I can, it’s not a big deal, but newcomers may like the English dub for that reason. The dialog in both tracks are exceptionally clear and precise, with good directionality amongst the front soundstage and a fairly impressive dynamic range level. Surrounds are active a lot during the film, and really kick into high gear when Jackie gets into more than few fisticuffs. LFE is loud and aggressive, much how we love our action tracks, but the mix does get a bit front heavy at times being that the film contains a lot of talking as Zhong Wen figures things out.
- Director Ding Sheng
- Jackie Chan, Zhong Wen
- Liu Ye, Wu Jiang
- Jing Tian, Miao
• Behind the Scenes
To put it simply, “Police Story: Lockdown” is memento film, with it paying homage to Jackie Chan’s respect for the police force. Every aspect of the shows the officers as hardnosed, and harder working people who live a life of burden under everyone else’s pain on top of their own. It’s a bit slower paced than some of his other works, but a big improvement over “New Police Story”, and a worth addition to the series. The audio and video are excellent and despite some minimalist extras, I have to say that if you’re a Jackie Chan fan, it’s definitely worth checking out.
Starring: Jackie Chan, Ye Liu, Tian Jing
Directed by: Sheng Ding
Written by: Shen Ding
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 AVC
Audio: Mandarin: DTS-HD MA 5.1
Studio: Well Go USA
Runtime: 110 minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: August 11th 2015
Buy Police Story: Lockdown On Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: Check It Out
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