Let me start with a very personal note. I must have been around 7 or 8 years old, back at the 80’s, when the clerk of the video store in my neighborhood suggested (to my mother actually) that, instead of cartoons or Greek comedies, I should rent some of Jackie Chan’s films. Well, “Project A” (and “Drunken Master”) did it for me. I dived head on in Asian cinema and never actually emerged. Since then, I must have seen “Project A” dozens of times, and I always find time to revisit it at least once every year. In that regard, I was really happy to learn that Eureka released a 1080p presentation of the film, sourced from brand new 2K restoration. This review is based on this edition.
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Dragon Ma is a member of the coast guard in Hong Kong, whose purpose is to neutralize the pirates’ activity in the area, who have been infesting the nearby seas for quite some time. During preparations for a large expedition for this cause, the pirates succeed in detonating the majority of the coast guard’s ships, thus canceling the entire operation. Subsequently, the coast guard is dismantled and their members are forced to join the police, who were their rivals up to that point. Major Tzu is assigned the leadership of the project.
A bit later, Dragon picks up information from a former friend of his, Fey, a minor crook, concerning the treachery that aborted the expedition against the pirates, and the two of them proceed to solve the mystery in order to reinstate the coast guard.
Every action scene in “Project A” is sublime; the initial scene in the restaurant and the fight between the coast guard and the police, the one in the private club, the unrelenting chases through the streets of Hong Kong and the final battle are sequences worth watching again and again. Chan exhibited his best performance within the excellent action choreography by The Jackie Chan Stunt Team. Furthermore, the choreography, along Peter Cheung’s editing and Siu-Tin Lai and Nicholas Rivera’s music induces the film with an outstanding, non-stop rhythm, which presents and accompanies Jackie Chan’s shenanigans in the best way.
Add to that the plethora of gags, much comedy, and a splash of nonsensicality and you have the backbone of the quintessential Hong Kong action movie.
All of the “Three Brothers,” Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung (who also co-directed), and Yuen Biao star in “Project A.” The inclusion of Dick Wei, as the leader of the pirates, highlights the fact that the crème de la crème of Hong Kong action cinema is present here and the result, as expected, is great.
I do not think I need to say much more. I consider “Project A” Jackie Chan’s best movie and as I said before, the quintessential Hong Kong action movie.