Release: 25th July 2016
Format: BR / DVD / DGTL
Police Captain Zhong Wen (Chan) knows all about sacrifice. He s always been too busy chasing bad guys to be a father to his daughter, Miao. Tonight however, he s seeing her for the first time in years, and meeting her fiance, club owner, Wu Jiang (Liu Ye, Curse of the Golden Flower). But, Wu has a dark side, and a secret score to settle with his soon-to-be father in law, and plans to take Zhong, Miao and the whole club hostage.
It took almost 3 years for Police Story: Lockdown (or Police Story 2013 as it is also known) to reach British shores. Could this be because Jackie Chan’s star has dimmed? Or maybe because of some international rights issue? No. The reason that Lockdown was on lockdown has to be because no one really wants to or needs to see this bumbling mess of a movie.
Ding Sheng’s heinous puzzle box is thrust before our eyes with little to no set-up. Chan’s Zong is found wondering some sort of gentrified Christmas land looking as lost as the audience. We then see a creepy dancing Santa, meet an effeminate barkeep and then witness 70 minutes of endless monologues and convoluted plotting. Imagine if Agatha Christie took a blow to the head and then decided to adapt a J.B. Priestly play into a sequel for The Raid – mid concussion – and you’d be somewhere in the ballpark of just how brittle and awful Lockdown is in execution.
Chan has tried to step away from making kick and giggle cinema for a while. While Lockdown still offers the former is a smattering of fulfilling moments, the latter is well and truly absent. Lockdown is nowhere near smart enough to earn its drama stripes, and it definitely isn’t emotionally satisfying enough to excuse its plot. Instead, the action scenes feel like viewing bait to keep audiences hooked, in the hope that they might at least catch a glimpse of that oft imitated but never beaten Jackie Chan showmanship. This kind of arrives in an impromptu cage fight, but Sheng’s obsession with slow motion makes the moment feel like Jackass 3-D without the pranks.
There is no doubt that Chan can do serious, but no more so than his American contemporaries (just pick any of The Expendables) It is understandable that he wants to ease up on the physicality of fighting anything with a pulse, but to justify doing so, he needs to pick better roles in more coherent films. Ye Liu is the only one on payroll who seems to offer any realism or spark to the plot. While Tian Jing alternates between stropping and crying.
With little to no connection to the Police Story series, barring its star and director, Police Story: Lockdown seems like a shameless attempt to subvert a rich legacy of films, and exploit it to what may well be the point of demise.
Film Grade: D-
Some oddly framed Interviews offer up a bit of insight into the film and its production, including Chan’s barnet hangups, while the Making Of is more of a wordless sizzle reel.
Special Features Grade: D
Lockdown may be aiming for a very different realm to the likes of the current IP Man series. But when your script is worthy of a terrible Bruce Willis movie, maybe it’d be better to focus on making a different project altogether.