1987, 101 minutes, 35mm, in Cantonese with English subtitles
Directed by: Jackie Chan
Starring: Jackie Chan, Rosamund Kwan, Maggie Cheung, Carina Lau, Bill Tung, Mars
Tuesday, June 25 @ 8:45pm (buy tickets)
A rollicking ride full of stop-on-a-dime plot twists, breath-taking stunts, whiplash action sequences, and brimming over with a great love of life, movies, and moviemaking, the strongest drug on the planet is watching Jackie Chan when he’s inspired, and PROJECT A 2 maintains a near-impossible level of inspiration from start to finish, leaping nimbly from one highlight to another, picking up steam and suspending audience disbelief as it goes along. If you haven’t seen Project A, don’t worry. PROJECT A 2 is the perfect place to start your worship of Jackie Chan.
Starting with a helpful recap of events from Project A, PROJECT A 2 picks up the story of turn-of-the-century Coast Guard member, Dragon Ma (Jackie Chan), minutes after the first movie ended. The remnants of the pirates he blew up at the end of the first film wash up onshore and vow vengeance on Dragon Ma…vengeance with their hatchets! Meanwhile, although they looked to be lost at sea at the end of the first movie, Dragon and crew have made it back to Hong Kong (although his brothers, Sammo Hung and Yuen Biao, are absent from this film, it’s a testament to the movie’s quality that you don’t miss them) and Dragon is assigned to the landlubbing police force, sent to take over the corrupt Sai Wan district run by even-more-corrupt cop, Chun (David Lam).
While he’s trying to clean up Sai Wan’s cops, Maggie Cheung, Rosamund Kwan, and Carina Lau enter stage left as a trio of comely revolutionaries in possession of one of those books of names that only appear in movies that everyone wants to get their hands on. Jackie and his buddies can’t get enough of these hottie subversives but their flirting is put on hold because the Empress Dowager desperately wants the book (of course) and she dispatches a trio of invulnerable hitmen to retrieve it. There’s a stolen necklace, the attempted arrest of the gangster, Tiger Au (played by real-life gangster-turned-actor, Chan Wai-man), double crosses, secret deals, and don’t forget the pirates.
Jackie Chan is at his inventive best in this period film. At the peak of his career he was given the time and the money he needed to make some of the world’s greatest action and comic setpieces, and PROJECT A 2 has plenty of both. The movie is peppered with high-impact falls, big scenes of brawling, and it all builds up to the finale, which features a running battle through Sai Wan with revolutionaries fighting Imperial hitmen, pirates fighting corrupt cops, and Jackie Chan fighting everyone else. It all ends with a cornered Jackie stuffing his mouth full of real (yes, real) hot peppers to turn his saliva into homemade mace. For the true connoisseur, this is pretty much the most perfect Jackie Chan movie ever made.