Crime Story

Reviewed by YTSL

If nothing else, this Kirk Wong directed effort -- whose “inspired by a real life case” story centers on the tracking down of a kidnapped property magnate (portrayed by Law Kar Ying) and the five individuals (including ones played by Wan Fat, Chung Fat and Ken Lo) who planned plus committed this crime -- is considered by quite a few folks to be the (Hong Kong) film starring Jackie Chan that is the least like what people think “a Jackie Chan movie” ought to be.  But what exactly does this mean?  From what I’ve gleaned from such as the HKMDB and, it would seem to pertain to the crime drama -- in which the Big Nosed One essays a dedicated detective Inspector named Eddie Chan -- being one of his most serious, intense and bloody star vehicles.  Additionally, there’s the matter of the expectly masochistic and hard to kill character that he brings to life in this dark work being far less “cute and cuddly” as well as being more likely to use a gun -- and, in the process, have fewer opportunities to show off his martial artistic abilities -- than others he has played in his multi-decade career.

Jackie Chan and Kent Cheng
Perhaps because I would not place myself in the ranks of the prolific actor-director-producer’s most ardent fans, I really don’t have a problem with the humor-free persona plus (young) girlfriend-less role that Jackie Chan was provided with in CRIME STORY.  Instead, this (re)viewer has to admit to her very much welcoming the now middle-aged action god’s having a part in the Leonard Ho production that is vastly disparate in nature from the cringe worthy (sounding) ones that he -- who is in real danger of degenerating into a Hollywood joke plus hick as well as a pale imitation of his Hong Kong self -- is slated to have in the undoubtedly better pay-check providing -- but still (and probably less action packed too)! -- “The Tuxedo” (whose lame looking trailer I’ve had the misfortune to see twice already in theatres), “The Bell Boy” and “Around the World in 80 Days” (in which the Jade Theatre’s Big Brother has been marked down to play a man-servant).
Jackie and Law Kar Ying
Okay.  Enough anti-Jackie in Hollywood ranting (at least for now…), and back to describing the kind of eventful film that signals its meaning business by featuring a violently enacted enough practice abduction along with fierce gun battle that raged in hardly deserted streets and related urban areas inside its first ten minutes or thereabouts.  Before too long, the tautly paced plus capably edited CRIME STORY also provides evidence -- in the form of a meant-to-shock sex scene in a mainly glass-walled elevator (between the rotund Kent Cheng’s crooked cop character and his club hostess girlfriend (Christine Ng)) as well as a tense discussion between an increasingly stroppy Inspector Eddie Chan and a cool psychologist assigned to evaluate the arguably overly-driven individual’s mental health -- of this effort (whose lead role had reportedly been initially offered to Jet Li) possessing a more generally mature nature than many of those with which Jackie Chan has come to be popularly associated.
Something else that occurs early in the 1993 offering -- that has Blackie Ko making a brief appearance as a Taiwanese police captain -- is Inspector Chan getting told that “You can’t stand the sight of shooting and killing”.  While there is some truth to this assessment of CRIME STORY’s heroic protagonist, what really seems to get his goat are those recalcitrant thugs who think nothing of endangering, hurting or killing (even relatively) innocent people (including members of the Royal Hong Kong Police force).  Consequently, he is the kind of fellow who goes about upholding the law and righting wrongs with a seemingly tireless plus single-minded doggedness that puts most others of his colleagues to shame -- to the extent that even those who were apt to have bitter feelings of their having gotten way too little for their sacrifices eventually repent upon being privy to and/or the direct beneficiary of the good Inspector’s exemplary actions.
Standing in stark contrast to this admirable personality are CRIME STORY’s two other significant characters.  Unbeknownst to his cop superiors and colleagues, the veteran underling named Hung who Inspector Chan gets assigned to help him crack the movie’s main case actually is someone involved with perpetuating -- if not being the actual mastermind behind -- the crime that he was hoping would make him (and his four collaborators) extremely wealthy at the expense of an individual on whom many people wished ill.  Among other things, the kidnap victim was characterized by his men as “heartless” as well as “a notorious miser”.  In the married man’s favor though is his having done enough to make his wife really love him and consequently be willing to do pretty much everything that was demanded of her -- including deliver a staggering US$60 million ransom -- in order to ensure that he -- whose name of Wong Yat Fei looks to be exactly like that of “Shaolin Soccer”’s HKFA Best Supporting winner! -- would be safely released by his captors.
Christine Ng and Kent
Still, what truly proves to be Mr. Wong’s saving grace is not so much his caring spouse but the policeman who had been unable to prevent the building tycoon’s kidnapping (but then went about trying with a vengeance to make up for his earlier failure).  Jackie Chan devotees ought to be happy (to know) that in the process of doing this, his character has an often acrobatic fight up in a building’s not particularly solidly constructed rafters, another short -- but still sweet to witness -- largely empty-handed duel in a police station office plus spends some exciting moments in the danger-filled bowels of a boat that is not exactly in tip top condition.  Even if they may not end up liking this offering as much as others, they still should feel gratified for their hero that his CRIME STORY work got the man his -- thus far, and maybe for all time -- one and only Golden Horse Best Actor prize.
Ken Lo and Chung Fat

My rating for the film: 8.