Every little thing he does is magic
Film sequels can be tricky, especially when your protagonist is an underdog who already successfully punched above his weight in the prior film. Now that you have a returning champ, how do you get the audience to root for your underdog once again?
Police Story 2 took the Ghostbusters II route*, having the hero, Inspector Chan Ka-Kui (Jackie Chan), sued and fined by every county, city, and state agency in
New York Hong Kong for all the collateral damaged he caused during the arrest of the crime lord Chu Tao (Yuen Chor) in Police Story. As a result, Ka-Kui has been demoted to an underdog uniformed officer, which delights his girlfriend May (Maggie Cheung) to see him no longer taking life-threatening cases.
But Ka-Kui soon stumbles onto a plot by a gang of criminal bombers who claim to have explosives set throughout Hong Kong’s high-end properties. The gang is demanding $10 million dollars from the city’s big business sector to not set them off, and as a demonstration of their power, they completely level a mall. Ka-Kui’s quick call to evacuate it prior to the explosion saves the lives of hundreds, and the Hong Kong Royal Police reinstated him as an Inspector. Now, with Ka-Kui assigned to solve the case of the bombing, the gang double their ransom to $20 million and kidnap May!
I was happy to see how Police Story 2 was able to keep the momentum going from the first film even if the story is a little more muddled this time. There is a bit of a struggle to find a place for all of the characters, including Chu Tao who is only a red herring (spoiler alert!) for Ka-Kui to follow. He is an unnecessary addition since the viewer is already aware of who the bombers are, and it in part bloats the movie up to a full 2 hours.
Thankfully, Police Story 2 is paced well enough to make this a nitpick. The movie is light and fun throughout, which is exactly what you want from Jackie Chan. His choreography works best in an action/comedy setting, with fights loaded with swishes and meat slaps. My favourite action sequence in this one is the “playground fight”:
At times Police Story 2 is “bigger and badder” than the first, with added explosions and a few more daring stunts, but there are not a lot (if any) effects. For the most part, the camera sits back and lets the talent do their thing. It’s what makes these movies special and still worth a watch (or 10). #MarsApproved
*Police Story 2 came out one year earlier than Ghostbusters II, making it correct to say Ghostbusters II took the Police Story 2 route. But I first watched Ghostbusters II in 1989 and Police Story 2 just the other day. So this fact is a footnote since my personal timeline is by far more important than when these movies were made.