Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Now 33 films deep into their Dragon Dynasty DVD label, the Weinsteins have been doing a lot to repent for their earlier sins in the Hong Kong action business, when they would routinely scoop up major titles, sometimes bury them for years at a time, then release them in heavily edited and redubbed versions. With the casual- HK-fan market saturated, they've altered their priorities and are reaching for the hardcore-fan market by returning to the original language and discs chockablock with nerdy special features. Though the new Dragon Dynasty edition of Supercop (a.k.a. Police Story 3) keeps the shorter theatrical cut, it's a special pleasure just to hear stars Jackie Chan and Michelle Yeoh banter in Cantonese; it's a little like seeing It's A Wonderful Life in black and white again after the colorization fad ended.


As for the movie itself, it's easily one of the strongest Jackie Chan vehicles released in the States after the success of Rumble In The Bronx opened up the floodgates. Though produced a few years before Rumble—and with the same director, Stanley Tong—Supercop features bigger and better setpieces, none of the awkward fish-out-of-water shtick, and Yeoh as a co-star who arguably upstages the star. The former Miss Malaysia more than compensates for her lack of martial-arts expertise with her lifelong commitment to ballet, which seems more useful to fight choreography anyway. Kung-fu novices tend to look like puppets controlled by the wires (or John Saxon in Enter The Dragon), but Yeoh's lean, flexible frame gives her the fluid grace of a seasoned fighter, and her plucky charisma is an added bonus.

More a Southeast Asian James Bond film than a traditional Chan action-comedy, Supercop zips mismatched-buddy team Chan and Yeoh through China, Thailand, Cambodia, and Kuala Lumpur as they try to thwart vicious drug-runners. As usual, the plot is too convoluted and secondary to sort out with any clarity, but it basically involves Hong Kong "supercop" Chan and Red Chinese official Yeoh pretending to be siblings and going undercover with a murderous drug czar (Ken Tsang) to sabotage his operation from the inside. The need to maintain cover and protect their adversary leads to some queasy situations—and some funny ones, too, like a fight where Chan beats back a group of local cops while also holding Tsang in check. But Supercop is less memorable for its fights than for its hair-raising stunts, including a staggering climactic sequence that has Chan hanging off a rope ladder under a helicopter swirling around Kuala Lumpur, and Yeoh jumping a motorcycle onto the roof of a moving train. And as ever, the outtakes confirm that CGI wasn't an option.

Key features: Another in a long line of informed, infectiously enthusiastic commentaries by Hong Kong expert Bey Logan on disc one. The second disc includes surprisingly in-depth interviews with Chan, Yeoh, Tong, and Chan's bodyguard, training partner, and co-star Ken Lo.