Reviewed by: Paul T. Andersen
If you enjoy martial arts, you’ll get a kick out of this fast-action adventure starring Jackie Chan. “Supercop” came out of the Orient, instead of Hollywood. It was filmed in mainland China, Hong Kong and Singapore. “Supercop” has some awesome stunts and great displays of martial arts expertise. As usual, Jackie Chan is a humorous, self-effacing hero who is a pleasure to watch. He has the fastest hands and feet I have ever seen. His abilities are considerable. I saw some martial arts moves here that I have never seen elsewhere. And, incredibly, Jackie Chan does ALL of his own stunts—and some of them are really dangerous. Unfortunately, “Supercop” is marred by excess violence and uneven quality.
Hong Kong policeman Kevin (Jackie Chan) is sent on a dangerous undercover mission to infiltrate a Hong Kong mafia drug lord’s operation and bring the leaders to justice. In China he meets his assigned partner, an attractive woman named Yang (Michelle Khan) who is Chief of Security for the Chinese police. Kevin fears that taking a woman on the assignment will only be a hindrance. She turns out to be very clever and an enormously skilled martial artist who is of great assistance. At an elite police training academy, Kevin is forced to display his ability in a skillful and sometimes humorous demonstration fight before the assembled students. Kevin is given a complete identity as a Chinese worker. When the gang he has infiltrated asks about the small town he is from, he is chagrined at their request that he take them there to hide out.
A humorous sequence follows as he attempts to conceal the spoof while taking them through his “hometown,” a place of which he is completely ignorant. There is action and humor aplenty in almost every scene, as the story develops—from a coal mine prison camp escape—to a suspenseful escape—a plunge down a high suspension cable—a car, truck, foot, and helicopter chase—to a great finale on a moving train.
The film is flawed by a sometimes comical lip-sync problem in the English version. However, after the first 10 or 15 minutes I forgot this as I got involved in the story. During the first half of the movie, “Supercop” loses some of its potential for suspense by failing to make clear the nature, purpose and potential-level of Kevin’s mission. But the script does keep you guessing. In the last half, there is suspense aplenty. The directing is sometimes quite good, and at other times strangely weak, almost comically so. The “moviemaking quality” would have scored lower overall, if it were not for the film’s great stunts and action sequences.
The martial arts sequences are really no more violent than any martial arts demonstration. There are, however, several shootings—close-range bloody bullet holes in bodies, a gang drowning a man in a swimming pool, the smashing of a man’s skull with a hard, heavy fruit, some bone-crunching, deadly explosions, fiery deaths, killing a policeman with a boat, etc. The villain and his partners are brutal, merciless killers—a fact that is demonstrated more than necessary. However, in its favor, there are many Hollywood movies that have a higher level of gore than “Supercop”. There is some bad language (“damn,” “hell,” “sh_t,” “ass”), but nothing worse. There is very little vulgarity overall. Jackie Chan never uses bad language. There is no sex, except that it is implied that Kevin (Chan) lives with his girlfriend.
Other than being a battle of good against evil, and being the story of a good policeman risking his life for others, “Supercop” has nothing to recommend it from a Christian point of view. The way to change the world for the better is rarely through the use of violence, but through changing people’s hearts through Christ. On the other hand, this film uses no profanity (it does not profane the name of God or of Jesus Christ), and Christianity is never ridiculed. Unlike the “Kung Fu” movies and TV series, there are no Eastern religion overtones or oriental religious philosophy in “Supercop”.
Perhaps what concerns me most as a Christian is repeated evidence that people’s lives were put in danger unnecessarily in the making of this film. The stunts go beyond what are seen in Hollywood-made films. This is a concern for Christians because peoples lives are being repeatedly put in jeopardy—for real. No movie is worth the risk of losing or maiming a human life.
All in all, “Supercop” is entertaining and exciting—IF you overlook its difficulties. It is an interesting cultural experience. Jackie Chan is a very appealing and endearing personality. You can’t help but like this guy. He is very human, vulnerable, and downright cute. The movie is generally fast-paced and interesting. There is lots of humor and many great stunts. However, in the final analysis, this is not the kind of movie talented people should be making. It tends to glorify violence and deserves its “R” rating.
Year of Release—1996