“Police Story: Lockdown” was released on DVD and Blu-ray from Well Go USA yesterday.
Detective Zhong Wen (Jackie Chan) hasn’t been the same since his wife died five years ago. His daughter Miao Miao (Jing Tian) has completely severed ties with her father. Zhong discovers that Miao has been hanging around a nightclub called Wu Bar and is dating its owner, Wu Jiang (Liu Ye). Zhong attempts to reconcile with Miao, but is suddenly knocked out and tied up. When he comes to Zhong along with every other customer in the bar is being held hostage by Wu.
Wu demands that a prisoner currently still serving his time behind bars named Wei Xiaofu (Zhou Xiaoou) be brought to his doorstep. The events that occurred five years ago unite everyone at Wu Bar in ways only Wu is able to comprehend and he’s not revealing his secret until his demands are met. Zhong has to revisit the past if he wants to protect the future.
There have been two “Police Story” films since “Supercop” back in 1992 that have served as reboots to the franchise; 2004’s “New Police Story” and 2013’s “Police Story: Lockdown” (this was actually released in China nearly two years ago). Next to “Little Big Soldier” and his brief appearance in “Shaolin,” “New Police Story” is the only action film Chan has done in the past decade that could actually be considered great. Chan should have kept it that way because “Lockdown” is so mediocre that it leaves a noticeable blemish on what is otherwise a really fantastic franchise.
“Lockdown” could be haphazardly thrown into the same category as the other dramas that Chan has done over the past five years or so like “Shinjuku Incident” or “1911.” The film shows potential, but never capitalizes on it. “Lockdown” has more pressure though since it has four films that came before it to live up to. The heaviest factor bogging the film down is its pace. “Lockdown” is a race against time whether it’s Wu being a stickler for the time restraints involved with his deadly puzzle or Zhong fighting and doing everything he can to save the civilians inside. Everything should be traveling at a breakneck pace, but the film devotes too much time to elongated and intricate conversations that are nothing more than lifeless and tedious.
The action crime thriller begins with the shocking imagery of Chan putting a gun to his head and pulling the trigger. The opening credits are all blurry shots of chain link fences coming into focus and symbolizing that everything in the film is connected. The fluorescent lighting, its harsh glow, and vivid colors give the film some amazing cityscape and nightlife imagery. Chan’s intense cage fight with Pizhong (Liu Hailong) is the film’s highlight. Its use of slow-motion is captivating as is Chan’s brief use of MMA holds. He must have picked it up from Donnie Yen.
Zhong Wen negotiates for a living, but is seriously the absolute worst at it and is not a very heroic person yet is always trying to play the hero. Jing Tian’s forced crying will get on your last nerve and so will the fact that it seems like Jackie Chan is purposely avoiding a decent fight sequence these days. It makes sense now that the Chinese superstar is in his 60s, but it is all the more disappointing when it feels like Chan is blatantly teasing that he’s still capable of the breathtaking sequences fans love him for.
“Police Story: Lockdown” would be semi-decent if it didn’t have an entire martial arts phenomenon in its back pocket, but even then it’s still lackluster at best. This and “Chinese Zodiac” both feel like Jackie Chan’s last ditch effort at something worthwhile before he lowers his fists for good. What Chan should be focusing on is versatility. This is his chance to do something fresh, new, and exciting. What if he played a villain for once or decided to portray something other than a cop trying to escape his problems through the bottom of a dirty whiskey glass?
This is predictable crime thriller fluff that you’ve come to expect from a deteriorating legend. “Police Story: Lockdown” isn’t entirely awful, but it dilutes what was otherwise a nearly flawless and action packed franchise. Let’s hope this is the coup de grace to the “Police Story” films.