|DVD Martial Arts|
|Written by Abbie Bernstein|
|Wednesday, 22 April 1998|
Jackie Chan does not actually turn to the camera at the beginning of 'Supercop' and say, "Hello, I am here to bring you fun." However, that is clearly his mission, and he accomplishes it, as always with supreme grace, agility and an air of blissful friendliness.
'Supercop' is also known as "Police Story III," with Chan as Kevin, a Hong Kong police officer whose good nature co-exists with extraordinary athletic ability. Here, Kevin is asked to work with mainland China's DEA to entrap a vicious drug lord. Kevin's primary colleague is the formidable Chief of Security Yang (Michelle Khan), who can hold her own in a fight. Their adventures include prison breaks, gun battles and a train-top confrontation that ranks with the best.
The action proper doesn't start up until Chapter 8, but the set-up contains some enjoyably humorous bits that are worth watching. Once into the meat of the story, director Stanley Tong keeps the pace charging along and showcases the stunts to great effect. Highlights include a motorboat chase and gunfight in Chapter 14, a rattlingly loud gun-and-grenade battle in Chapter 16 and the sight of Chan dancing like Fred Astaire onto a vehicle hood to avoid being run over in Chapter 21. The preservation of the original 2.35:1 aspect ratio creates the sense that the chaotic events are spilling out in all directions, rather than being tidy little events that must be chased by the camera.
The screenplay by Edward Tang, Fibe Ma and Lee Wai Yee allows for a bit more characterization than the genre usually provides and the English-language edition (released in the U.S. in 1996--the original Chinese-language version was made in 1992) has some pleasantly clever dialogue. Somebody had a great time putting together the musical soundtrack, which includes tunes by Devo, Tupac Shakur and a silky Tom Jones cover of "Kung Fu Fighting." Fans of the Bond film "Tomorrow Never Dies" will be happy to see that film's kick-ass heroine Michelle Yeoh (using the surname Khan here) deploying more of her impressive moves in a character so similar that it seems likely her 'Supercop' work inspired 'Tomorrow''s creators.
Still, 'Supercop''s single biggest asset is Chan himself. Whether flying through the air in a death-defying leap, spinning his legs and fists almost too quickly for the eye to follow or just smiling in his inimitably reassuring way, he is forever watchable.