Project S (aka Once a Cop)

1993, R, 104 min. Directed by Stanley Tong. Starring Michelle Yeoh, Yu Rong-Guang, Jackie Chan.

REVIEWED By Marc Savlov, Fri., June 17, 1994

Hong Kong film lesson time again, just so you know what you're seeing: Once a Cop (or Project S, its Asian title) is actually Supercop 2, which was, in turn, Police Story 3, the huge Jackie Chan draw from last summer (Chan pulls out the stops on a brief comic cameo here as an undercover Hong Kong police officer in a jewelry store, but Khan, his partner from Supercop, is Once a Cop's lead). As the film opens, we see Khan rescue a diplomat from the clutches of a group of terrorists atop a mainland office building. After being decorated for her valor, Khan's boyfriend Chang -- a Vietnam vet -- tells her he's off to Hong Kong to seek his fortune and will return to marry her later. (“I've got a friend there who's making big money,” he says.) Not long after, Khan is dispatched by her superiors to Hong Kong herself, to aid the local police in their attempts to crack a daring ring of thieves who are going after local banks and jewelry stores. And guess who's the ringleader? From this point on, it's a risky game of “avoid the girlfriend” for Chang while Khan and her Hong Kong allies steadily close the gap. Director Tong keeps the film moving with some beautifully choreographed hand-to-hand combat and muzzle-flash ballet, but he's no John Woo (or, for that matter, Jackie Chan). The stunts seem pared down from the excessiveness of Supercop, but then, that's what kept the whole implausible thing afloat last time. Without Jackie Chan's low-brow comic twists and his death-defying stuntwork (the final, lengthy helicopter gag in Supercop has yet to be topped on any continent), Once a Cop is pretty tame stuff. Granted, it's still head and shoulders above ninety percent of U.S.-made cops-and-robbers vehicles, but that's not saying much these days. Rumor has it that Chan is stockpiling a veritable treasure mine of movies for future release as he ages past his prime; hopefully, we won't have too long to wait before the next one arrives.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Stanley Tong Films
Vanguard
Jackie Chan goes back to being Jackie Chan in this globe-trotting action-comedy

Matthew Monagle, Nov. 20, 2020

Rumble in the Bronx
This fast-paced, funny film served as America's introduction to Jackie Chan and the hyperactive world of Hong Kong action filmmaking.

Joey O'Bryan, Feb. 23, 1996

More by Marc Savlov
The Marksman
Liam Neeson is the action man again in this border thriller

Jan. 15, 2021

Beautiful Something Left Behind
The hard path to healing when kids suffer a death in the family

Jan. 8, 2021

KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

Project S (aka Once a Cop), Stanley Tong, Michelle Yeoh, Yu Rong-Guang, Jackie Chan

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle