For the next Genre Grandeur – 80’s Action Movie, take a look at Kim of Tranquil Dream‘s review of Jackie Chan’s 80’s action hit, Project A (1983).
Next month’s Genre will be Holiday movies (it can be any film about any holiday). To participate, just send me your review by 23rd of December to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll post it!
Let’s see what Kim thought about Project A …
I almost wanted to give this genre grandeur and ask my boyfriend to do it. This would be his passion project. If it was up to him, it’d be Predator. However, I’m not my boyfriend (not that I dislike Predator) but I was raised differently. Different in the sense that I grew up with Studio Ghibli for animation and Hong Kong flicks were part of the action flicks I’d watch a whole lot of. I knew who Jackie Chan was when he was playing younger and crazier stunts than when he got into Hollywood. So, with that said, Jackie Chan’s highlight movie in 80s was Project A for me and thats the movie I’ll stick with this Genre Grandeur.
Director: Jackie Chan
Cast: Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung, Biao Yuen
19th century Hong Kong is part of the British colony run is surrounded by water infested by pirates. To alleviate this problem, the cops have specialized a few Navy crews to protect their waters. However, after two attempts to capture Sanpao, a ruthless pirate who always seems to get away, the Navy is disbanded and asked to join the cops on land. Dragon Ma (Jackie Chan) is part of the Navy who is disbanded, however his heart to protect doesn’t waver as he finds ways to prove that the Navy has their pros while teaming up with his best friend (and a local pickpocket or con, Fei (Sammo Hung) and the captain of the land cops, Tzu. Will their plan succeed to capture Sanpao and his pirates?
If you’ve read my review of Project A over at my blog, there may be similarities but Project A is my go-to action comedy. This was Jackie Chan at his best performing some of the most ambitious stunts that I could remember. All you have to do is wait for the end credits and watch the many hilarious bloopers from a memorable bar fight scene to a bicycle escape stunt leading to the clock tower one. All extremely crazy stunts but with Jackie Chan’s expressions, he turns it into something of a fun and laughable event.
There is no doubt that Project A is a fun action flick. Jackie Chan credits for a lot of the action movies in that decade. Not only that, he’s paired up with a much younger Sammo Hung who extremely agile and the talented martial arts actor, Biao Yuen. They are the absolute trio who can not only mix it up with adding bits of serious drama while having funny moments to balance it all out. Think about it, even in 80s action flicks from Hollywood, thats the essence of it, no? One-liners, action in form of fights and explosions: Project A has all of that as well. Plus, its a straight forward storyline: to save the city from pirates or much more, save the captured British elites from the pirates.
There’s a whole lot to love about Project A as an action flick. As much as I love the modern day action thrillers, this one always holds a place in my heart because it can get me to grab onto the edge of my seat as Jackie Chan runs around 19th century Hong Kong doing ridiculous stunts but making his funny inserts as well. The trio here delivers a lot of entertainment and that to me, is the ultimate determination of what makes a great 80s action flick. Project A is one that even if at times, lost in translation (because I watch the original Cantonese) and read the subtitles to compare, its not just words that make this funny, its the actions and expressions as well.
Thanks again to Kim for constantly choosing obscure movies for the rest of us to look out for.