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Jackie Chan's most dramatic work casts him as a no-nonsense undercover cop on the trail of a ruthless gang of kidnappers who discovers that a respected figure in his own department may be involved with the criminals. In this film based on a true story, director Kirk Wong brings a gritty sense of realism to the action-filled police thriller while allowing plenty of opportunities for Jackie to show his stuff, notably in the bravura climax, a solo battle with the gang that culminates in a raging fire that devours a creaky apartment complex around them. Wong's sleek, hard-edged style meshes well with Jackie's acrobatic vigor, and Chan proves to be an adept and effective dramatic performer. However, fans expecting his trademark physical gags and comic interludes may be disappointed. This is a startlingly different side of the versatile Mr. Chan, and his performance helps make this grim "policier" one of the best serious Hong Kong action thrillers to date.

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newVHS Crime Story VHS (1997/Jackie Chan) $5.99