Project A -- Part II
1987 Directed by Jackie Chan. Starring Jackie Chan, Maggie Cheung, David Lam, Rosamund Kwan.
REVIEWED By Marc Savlov, Fri., April 9, 1993
Apparently quite a few people think this is one of Chan's best films. I guess I'm not one of them, because I still think that honor goes to Police Story III: Supercop. Nevertheless, Project A -- Part II manages to provide opportunities for a number of excellent gags, with the eternally bemused Chan acting more like a refugee from an early Chaplin film than any of the martial arts ubermensches we have here in the West. As Dragon Ma, Chan is a maverick coast guard officer in turn-of-the-century Hong Kong, a time when British colonial rule all too often meant the victimization of ordinary citizens by bribe-taking toadies and well-intentioned Brits who just didn't get it. When corrupt police superintendent Chun (Lam) loses one of his provinces to the up-and-comer Dragon Ma, Chan finds himself caught up in a web of deceit, police treachery, and whatnot (you get the picture). Also on board to complicate things are a posse of coastal pirates presumably left over from Project A -- Part I, and a coterie of mainland cops intent on their own (semi-) nefarious purposes. Granted, all of this can become confusing to the Jackie Chan layman, but the film moves along at such a blinding clip that you're never given enough time to stop and think about how nonsensical it all is. And then, of course, there's the gags, including one involving Jackie and his immediate superior handcuffed together while fleeing from assorted thugs. Chan's sense of comedic timing rivals that of the great Stoneface, Buster Keaton -- he's that good but it's not quite enough to sustain an entire 105-minute film. As in all of Chan's films, stick around for the blooper reel that runs beneath the film's closing credits: it's one of the best things about any Jackie Chan film.