What Makes Jackie Chan One of a Kind

Inside Criterion / Sneak Peeks — May 6, 2019

With Police Story (1985) and Police Story 2 (1988), two anarchic, awe-inspiring action-comedies he directed, stunt-choreographed, and starred in, Jackie Chan bulldozed his way to movie immortality. The films’ intrepid, inventive stunt work might be what most catches the eye (and drops the jaw), but Chan’s inimitable screen presence—a career-defining combination of qualities he first perfected in Police Story and its immediate sequel—is a no less important part of their appeal. In the above excerpt from a supplement on our new dual Police Story edition, one of today’s foremost action-comedy directors, Edgar Wright (Baby Driver), pays tribute to Chan’s irresistible embodiment of Hong Kong cop Ka-kui. Superhuman in his fearless acrobatics and tireless athleticism, this iconic hero nonetheless also fights from a defensive posture, and displays the comic haplessness and rumpled good looks of a wholly disarming everyman. As Wright observes here, Chan’s buoyant expressiveness stood in stark contrast to the stoicism of not only his predecessors, chief among them Bruce Lee, but also Sylvester Stallone, Clint Eastwood, and Arnold Schwarzenegger, to name three of his fellow global action stars of the eighties.