Project A Part 2
AKA: Project A II
Director: Jackie Chan
Stars: Jackie Chan, Lam Ching-Ying, Maggie Cheung, Rosamund Kwan, Carina Lau
Jackie Chan returns as Dragon Ma, who is now working as a cop in one of Hong Kong's toughest districts. After bringing down a notorious crime boss, Dragon finds out that the department's top cop (Lam) is corrupt and tries to set things straight. Complicating matters are a group of revolutionaries (Kwan, Lau and Cheung) and the Mainland hitmen after them -- not to mention a group of pirates who are after Dragon for killing their former leader.
The first Project A was great and so is its' sequel. Though I missed having the "three brothers" (Chan, Sammo Hung and Yuen Biao) together as they were in the first movie, Chan makes up for the loss of martial artists by upping the ante in the stunt department. One particularly inventive sequence has Chan in a restaurant, fighting off a group of pirates while being handcuffed to another man. The emphasis in the scene is not on fisticuffs, rather on how Chan can put various items in the restaurant to use, such as using a coat rack to hang one of the pirates on. Even though this film is almost 15 years old, it's sequences like this that make it still seem fresh today.
The comedy is also done very well. Instead of the usual broad Chan slapstick, the comedic bits in Project A Part 2 are heavily derived from classic Hollywood comedians such as the Marx Brothers. It's quite a refreshing change from the usual pratfalls and pies/noodles/whatever in the face jokes present in most Chan movies. Don't get me wrong -- there's the usual sight gags and whatnot, it's just that you won't have to see them overused every two seconds like in some other Chan movies.
Project A Part 2 isn't perfect, however. The plot is really convoluted (especially for a Jackie Chan movie) and there is a huge lag in the middle. I also found Chan's lengthy Once Upon a Time in China-style speeches to be too heavy-handed to work in the film. The subtitles on the version I saw were particularly poor -- besides Chan, most of the characters were referred to by their real names (Maggie Cheung's character is named "Maggie," etc.). But these are really minor quibbles. Project A Part 2 is one of Chan's best films and should be sought out by any fan.
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This DVD is available for purchase at www.hkflix.com