It's bookended by audacious stunts, the first a wild car chase down a steep hill through the homes and makeshift buildings of a squatter’s village followed by Chan on foot chasing down and hanging off of a speeding bus. The finale is ten minutes of glorious mayhem, as Chan tracks the villains to a shopping mall and proceeds to shatter every glass surface in the building before making a still mind-boggling leap onto a metal poll and sliding down three stories through myriad electric lights.
It's one of the great 1980s action films. It’s also one of the _most_ 1980s action films. . . . But—as is the case with most memorable comedies, as well as most memorable thrillers—the excellence of “Police Story” has nothing to do with what kind of movie it is, and everything to do with how it’s executed. Like most of Chan’s signature films, this one is driven by his ingenuity as an athlete, stunt choreographer, and director.
Though ostensibly sub-Hitchcockian wrong-man mysteries, with a liberal serving of cop-drama clichés rounding out the narrative framework, the films are better enjoyed as purely cinematic catalogues of set pieces and sight gags, spectacles of breathless physical excess. Like many of the most compelling martial-arts movies, the Police Story films more closely resembles a dance picture than any kind of action blockbuster.