‘Police Story 2013’, one of the most beloved Jackie’s franchises, hits the reset button. Let me explain: this brand new installment is in fact, literally, brand new; new characters, new tone… This film has little to do with the Jackie Chan Standard we’ve all come to love. Maybe age is a little more than just a number and we must wave off the crazed, life endangering stunts era. Mourn as you need to, but don’t despair, as Jackie, at least, is classy enough not to pull any “Norris” (FYI: using a stunt double with a low-pulled, broad-brimmed hat to do your spinning back-kicks). None that I could catch, anyway.

In this movie, Jackie hits concrete bottom.
In ‘Police Story 2013’, Jackie hits concrete bottom.

In ‘Police Story 2013’ Jackie plays Zhong Wen, a veteran and uncompromising mainland cop with the weight of the world on his shoulders. Doing the right thing often puts you in the wrong place, but even with everything else falling apart around him, Wen carries on guided by an unwavering morality and sense of duty. In this sense, he is a classic hero; like Superman or 007, Wen barely evolves or changes in any way, and ends the story as rightfully stubborn as he begins. It’s not that the character is single-stroked, but neither a stroke is erased nor is it added by any event. All conflict is forced from the outside, a straight-forward “man vs. fate” tale that could pass for an 80’s movie.

Are you sure that ideas are bulletproof?
Are you sure that ideas are bulletproof?

And not only so in the writing department, but almost in every other aspect of the film: cold neon light, a bigger-than-life villain’s bunker-like lair, a even-bigger-than-fiction villain himself (played by Ye Liu)… I mean, the bad guy even has his own branded objects, just like James Bond’s villains of yore (the logo: a spider, no less). I can’t say if it’s deliberated, but almost every frame of ‘Police Story 2013′ brought me a sense of nostalgia of simpler times in action cinema, where heroes’ flaws could be found in their abilities, but not in their character.

Sometimes, to get them behind bars, you have to first remove them from in front of bars...
Sometimes, to get them behind bars, you have to fight them off from in front of bars…

The story of ‘Police Story 2013’ revolves around a hostage situation with regular flashbacks that allow for outdoor action scenes to be shown and, less importantly, the reconstruction of the bad guy’s motivation. The first part could be summed up as a ‘Die Hard’ scenario, with a sort of ‘Jackie McClane’ creeping between pipes and beams and informing the police force outside, but then the story jumps over several filmic references that I won’t spoil for you (well… just one: there’s even a ‘Rashomon‘!). All of this running parallel to a personal story-line of redemption and reunion, of course, in this case facilitated by Miao, Wen’s estranged daughter (played by Tian Jing). Sometimes, it takes a kidnapping for a police officer’s family member to realize that their father/husband/whatever is not a bad lad, after all. Ask Holly Gennaro.

‘Police Story 2013”s parental guide 101: red hair equals red flag. Unless you’re Scottish.

All in all, even with its “homage” overcrowding, ‘Police Story 2013’ is a fairly interesting movie, with an earnest Jackie Chan willing and able to uphold a thriller almost on his own, filling every shot with a veteran’s confidence even so far away from his comfort zone (in principle), as there’s not a lot of fighting, and no comedy at all. He doesn’t go out of his way with crowd-pleasing gimmicks, the tone of the film stays on route every second, and the movie end up claiming a space of its own successfully. And that’s more than you can (or should) expect of any movie. Also… nostalgia gets me, even if it’s involuntary.





  1. I agree – this was kinda let down by the plot – the masterplan was poor .. (felt a bit rushed) – but the film did have some truly excellent moments – the fight in the cage was very well put together – felt ‘real’.

    very impressed by the acting from chan too. Overall the film was good although New Police story slightly better …

  2. you guys must be crazy.
    This was a great movie!

    yea the story had been done before in a korean movie called A Million.
    I love everything about this movie, the pacing, director shots and editing, they were so fast paced and got to the point. Everything was intense.

    The best thing about the movie is the MMA, i LOVE the damn MMA:)
    The plot twist was fine by me, if you had seen A Million 2009 korean movie, this shouldn’t be a new thing.

    This actually puts a new light to Jackie Chan in my eyes. I used to like him way back, but lately I disliked his movies, his last worthy movie I liked was Rob-B-Hood. And then I heard the relationship with him and his son and that further made me dislike him:/

    But after seeing this movie, i wish he makes more serious movies like this.

  3. Let me start of by saying that i am a big Jackie fan, and have been for more then 25 years already, and i really like his acting in this movie, although his best acting performance imho was in Shinjuku Incident.
    But as a police story movie, this movie for me was a bit of a let down. I would expect (more) fights and stunts from Jackie, otherwise dont make a connection with the police story franchise, people will expect other things then what this movie has to offer


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