Police Story 4: First Strike (HK 1996)

Rating: ***
Director: Stanley Tong
Cast: Jackie Chan, Bill Tung, cameo by Ken Lo

This movie wants to be a James Bond film so bad that Jackie even says "I feel like I'm James Bond except without the beautiful women" at one point in the film. (and speaking of beautiful women, Maggie Cheung did not reprise her role for this film) A lot like "Supercop" (1992) in that the action pieces are more important than the martial arts brawling, but there are a couple of outstanding fights - one in particular where Jackie is forced to use a ladder to defend himself. Amazing! (it also looks like Jean Claude Van Damme may have borrowed the stilt fight idea for his film, "The Quest" (1996) ) The final showdown in the aquarium is unbelievable as he fights off thugs underwater with big nasty sharks swimming all around them. Of course, some of the sharks were fake, but most of them WERE REAL! (or at least EXTREMELY convincing) Beautiful photography and scenery add a lot to the film. Overall, an exciting and enjoyable film - much better than his last two efforts ("Rumble In The Bronx" (1995) and "Thunderbolt" (1995) ).

The U.S. release is definitely palatable, but it trims down the shark sequences (the ones with the real sharks) and unfortunately leaves out a couple of extremely funny bits.