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Dragon Ma is back, having rid the seas of the dreaded Pirate Lo. Back on land, he is assigned to the police force, where he is to clean up corruption and crime in a local suburb. Along the way, he is caught up in the fate of several Chinese patriots attempting to secure sympathy and support for their revolutionary cause. The Chinese Manchu government is after these revolutionaries, and anyone that stands in their way is in trouble, even if they are in the police force. Written by
Murray Chapman <email@example.com>
For me, this sits happily as the ultimate Jackie Chan movie: a super-fast paced journey of mad cap martial arts, hilarious humour, all mixed together in a fine comedy-cum-adventure concoction with plenty going on to keep the entertainment value high. Indeed, this film is so relentless and high-octane that I barely found time to breathe while watching it; every second brings something fresh and exciting to the screen, every plot point seems original and intriguing. At this stage in his career, Jackie knew exactly what the audience wanted and reached his cinematic peak of perfection with differing projects that all retained the same winning formula: comedy, action and danger, rolled into a fast and frenetic combination.
The ultra-complex storyline drags in a corrupt police official who plans to have Chan killed, an underground rebel cause who plan to overthrow the government, vengeful pirates, and of course the vicious crime element in the city. The script is witty and Jackie Chan is at the top of his game, whether it be with the endless magic stunt work, the genuinely funny comedy (the chilli-eating moment is something to be seen) or the exciting chases, which invariably see Jackie perform some superhuman manoeuvre - shinnying up a wall, running across a suspended horizontal pole - as if it were the norm for him.
PROJECT A PART II has plenty of memorable moments, not least being the raid on the hotel which mixes in suspense, drama, comedy, and plenty of action, as well as real danger. Then there's the finale at the building site, which lasts for ages but remains exciting and watchable for every single second, and the hilarious comedy set piece in which a succession of people attempt to hide inside Maggie Cheung's apartment and interact in various ways. Other great moments are too numerous to mention, but the handcuff chase is a real crowd pleaser anyway you look at it. Underneath the non-stop on screen action, the plot is rather thin and lurches from one set-piece to the next, but the formula is so stable and successful that I couldn't care one bit.
Supporting the ever-excellent Chan are a number of quality actors giving fine performances, namely Wai Lam as the corrupt and sinister 'Chun' and Wai-Man Chan as the genuinely threatening 'Tiger'. Plus there are the welcome returning bit players, including Mars and Jaws, and also Maggie Cheung and Bill Tung, two friends returning from POLICE STORY, along with a little-seen Rosamund Kwan. Tung in particular gets some fine comic interplay as he finds himself mending a leaky tap and getting handcuffed to a sofa! The martial arts come thick and fast and never lets up, and you'll need your eyes glued to the screen to keep track of all the super-quick kicks and lightning punches which roll across the screen in nicely choreographed punch-ups with plenty of prop destruction and choreographed chaos to keep them watchable and funny. A definitive and outstanding film. And okay, it hurts that Sammo and Yuen don't come back, but to be honest you won't miss them when the film's this good.
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