Police Story 3: Supercop (otherwise known as Supercop) was the first Jackie Chan film in Hong Kong to use sync sound, which recorded the actor’s voices on set rather than having to dub over them at a later date. Jackie Chan returns to his iconic character of Chan Ka-Kui but behind the camera, Stanley Tong takes over the director’s chair from Jackie Chan and even takes over the action choreography. If you watch the American version, there are about 10 minutes cut from the original version, most notably the opening scene where in the original version, police superiors are getting briefed on about drug-related problems. In the American re-edited version, it’s just Chan driving on his motorcycle into police headquarters. Plus, the opening credit sequence is so stupid. Also, the pan and scan (fullscreen) version is absolutely worthless. Watch it in Widescreen. Watch any Jackie Chan film in Widescreen. Watch ANY film in Widescreen for that matter!
But enough of that, let’s talk about the movie itself. Chan gets an assignment that takes him from his humble home of Hong Kong into mainland China. There, he meets Inspector Yang, played by Michelle Yeoh, who tells him about their target, drug lord Chaibat. They hatch a plan to infiltrate the drug lord’s smuggling ring by destroying it from within and their best way of doing this is to get one of Chaibat’s most trusted men, Panther, out of jail and gain his trust. After successfully helping Chaibat destroy a drug lab in Thailand, the action shifts to Kuala Lumpur, Thailand to help get Chaibat’s wife out of jail. While there, they stumble upon May, Ka-Kui’s girlfriend, who blows it for Ka-Kui and Yang by accidently identifying Ka-Kui as a cop resulting in May getting kidnapped. Chan and Yang rescue May but Chan is furious when Chaibat throws her out of a helicopter, resulting in Chan seeking revenge.
The last 15 minutes of this film is astonishing. It’s the best part of the entire film. It is filled with engaging stunts, like Chan hanging from a ladder while the helicopter flies over Kuala Lumpur to Yang driving a motorcycle onto a moving train (Yeoh did the stunt herself). The fights, on the other hand, aren’t as impressive. When you compare this film to the previous two Police Story films, this one doesn’t even come close to the intensity or brutality of them. Chan is a different character in this too, being much more defensive which does relate to the plot since Chan isn’t very comfortable in his new surroundings but again, you can’t help but compare this film to the previous two.
One of the biggest disappoints in this film is the character of Panther. The entire time, all this build up is done to establish him as a character that Chan and Yang must get the trust of and you know in the back of your mind that the two cops’ cover will eventually be blown and you hope for an epic fight scene. Instead, there is no fight. It’s a real shame because it would’ve been interesting to see Yuen Wah, who played Panther, show off his martial arts talent but we don’t in this film. There is strong character development with his character but his demise is very anti-climatic.
One major thing to point out is the fact that Michelle Yeoh overshadows Chan a few times. Yeoh really gets to show her skills and is very impressive, her ballet training really coming in handy. She does a lot more with the action than Chan does and, in a way, Yeoh is the real star of the film although Chan does get to show off his usual charm. Overall, Police Story 3 is a solid film. It has a great plot, decent acting and beautiful cinematography courtesy of the various settings in the film and while the stunts are really cool to watch, the fights themselves are nowhere near as fun to watch as the first two Police Story films. Jackie Chan did enjoy having Stanley Tong direct him though as Tong has gone on to direct a few more films with Chan including Rumble in the Bronx, The Myth and the fourth entry in the Police Story series, Police Story 4: First Strike.