Top-notch outing from director and star Jackie Chan at the peak of his powers, offering a plot which allows Chan to create a well-acted and likable character, superb action sequences - I mean, they really are the best here I've ever seen - a memorable supporting cast, and excellent production values. The film opens with a major fast-paced shoot-out, which is followed by an amazing stunt involving a number of vehicles rolling down a hill and demolishing a shanty-town in the process; for sheer visual spectacle this takes some beating. The set-piece is followed by a chase involving a bus which has a nice pay-off. Finally the action finishes and the viewer can take a breather whilst the plot evolves.
Like most modern-day successful Chan films, the film takes the structure of having a major action event followed by some plot furthering, then of course the physical and fast-paced humour that Chan always inserts into his films. Most of the comedy here comes from Chan being given the job of Brigitte Lin's bodyguard, and the scrapes and pitfalls he falls into as he tries to win her affections. The light-hearted, good-natured humour is fun and pleasant to watch, which makes a change from the cruel and often offensive humour seen in modern cinema. Then suddenly we're back into the thick of the action, with Chan doing some amazing stuff like taking on a gang of bad guys, kicking people through car windscreens and hitting someone so hard with a car door that it flies off! Things eventually become more serious when Chan finds himself framed and is forced to take his own superior hostage to escape. Then the action moves to a shopping mall, where you better hold on to your hat because the conclusion is one of the best ever filmed. An action-packed odyssey of incredibly dangerous back-breaking stunts, physical humour, super-fast martial arts moves, and more breaking glass than you can shake a stick at. POLICE STORY definitely holds the record for "most glass broken in a film, ever" and the bone-crunching finale is the stuff that action fans' dreams are made of. The lack of special effects and the work of the stunt team add to the excitement, putting you into the thick of the action so that you really feel every blow.
Chan is, as I mentioned before, at the peak of his game and his character a real revelation. He plays a straight-forward, occasionally bumbling everyday kind of character and this is a major strength for the film, because you end up feeling closer and more in league than if he was some kind of superman a la Schwarzenegger. The supporting cast is strong and blessed with memorable performances, especially the overacting superiors and the two girls caught up in the fray, Brigitte Lin and the beautiful Maggie Cheung, who has a smaller supporting role and is a little wasted (by that I mean in terms of her role, not that she's on drugs). Once again there are memorable stunts (the famous "pole slide" being the best, quickly followed by the bus routine) and all kinds of physical movements which are delightful. A magnificent action-cum-comedy-thriller which taught Hollywood a thing or two, but which stands light years ahead of most contemporary American fare.