Jackie Chan returns for the sixth time in his iconic Police Story franchise with another standalone entry in the action-packed series. Following a botched attempt to reconnect with his estranged daughter, Detective Zhong Wen (Chan) is taken hostage by his daughter’s new boyfriend and his criminal friends as part of a grand plan to extract revenge on the decorated detective.
The story boils down to a simple hostage crisis thriller that Hollywood churns out by the dozen, but Chan’s relentless energy (and at the age of 62 is seriously impressive) keeps the movie on track with a solid dramatic performance. Action movie stars aren’t usually allowed to age gracefully, but Chan proves to be the exception as he’s been slowing down in the insane stunts department for the last decade. Chan is used here for dramatic effect, and while he’s given some light action, he’s sidelined for significant portions of the story. That said, when Chan is on screen he’s as endearing as ever, and it’s great to see him given the chance to stretch his acting legs.
As a lifelong fan of Jackie Chan, I grew up watching the likes of Project A, The Drunken Master, My Lucky Stars and of course, The Armour of God. While I enjoyed a couple of his Hollywood movies, there was something lacking, and it always felt that Chan’s talents were being squandered on second rate material. Sure, Shanghai Noon was fun, even Rush Hour has its moments, but by the time Rush Hour 3 rolled off the production line, Chan seemed bored by what Hollywood was offering. The upside is, Chan finally found the time to reprise his Armour of God character again for the excellent Chinese Zodiac. Even though I dearly miss the fluid tomfoolery of Chan’s beautifully choreographed fight scenes, it’s refreshing to see a man of his years allowed to be a man of his years on screen.
Chan returns to live-action Hollywood movies later this year alongside Johnny Knoxville for Renny Harlin’s Skiptrace, The recent first trailer felt like a throwback to the 90s buddy flicks, and it had the out of touch dated jokes to go with it. Chan also teams up with Pierce Brosnan for Martin Campbell’s (Goldeneye) The Foreigner and he’s part of the ensemble voice cast of The Lego Ninjago Movie.
After the disappointing part reboot New Police Story, Lockdown is a return to form even though the lighter tone has been replaced something far grittier. The first two movies in the Police Story series remain the best and Lockdown is far from classic Jackie Chan, but it’s an entertaining reminder that he’s got plenty of gas left in the tank.