Supercop AKA Police Story 3 (4K UHD Review) (2024)

  • Reviewed by: Tim Salmons
  • Review Date: May 30, 2023
  • Format: 4K Ultra HD
  • Supercop AKA Police Story 3 (4K UHD Review) (1)

Supercop AKA Police Story 3 (4K UHD Review) (2)

Director

Stanley Tong

Studio(s)

Golden Harvest/Golden Way Films/Fortune Star (88 Films)

  • Film/Program Grade: A
  • Video Grade: A
  • Audio Grade: A
  • Extras Grade: A

Supercop AKA Police Story 3 (4K UHD Review) (3)

Supercop AKA Police Story 3 (4K UHD Review) (4)

Review

A string of Jackie Chan-starring action vehicles released in the US in the late 1990s, which included Rumble in the Bronx, Operation Condor, and First Strike, established him as a worldwide superstar for new generations of movie fans (long before the Rush Hour franchise). Supercop, the third entry in the Police Story series, also introduced the Western world to Michelle Yeoh (billed as Michelle Kahn), who had previously retired from acting, but returned to co-star in a film that Quentin Tarantino once described as having “the greatest stunts.” Indeed, US audiences were given a taste of what Jackie Chan and other Hong Kong actors, filmmakers, and stuntmen had been up to since the 1980s. To some degree, the previous Police Story films were known outside of Asia, of course, but Supercop arguably helped bring Jackie Chan’s and other Hong Kong action films even further into the worldwide public consciousness.

The Hong Kong police’s task to find a “supercop” who can infiltrate a drug lord’s organization (along with a tough Interpol inspector, played by Yeoh) cascades into a maelstrom of amazing action sequences featuring jaw-dropping stunts. Those who had been familiar with the previous Police Story films would certainly not find this all that surprising, but additional entries continued to up the ante. The story itself is merely a means to an end, but the only drawback is Kevin’s long-time girlfriend May (Maggie Cheung). In the previous films, she was often an ignorant foil to Kevin’s police work, interfering without realizing it, and often accusing him of keeping secrets from her and/or sleeping around. It’s always the least interesting (to put it mildly) aspect of these films, but it’s not quite as gratuitous here. It’s used as a plot device here that leads to a chaotic train versus helicopter showdown in the final minutes. And although she didn’t receive the same recognition and billing as Chan initially, Michelle Yeoh turned many heads as a force of nature as well, equal to Chan in every way. Let’s hope for bigger and better things in her future.

Director Stanley Tong would go on to make the follow-up Supercop 2 with Yeoh, as well as Rumble in the Bronx and First Strike (Police Story 4) with Chan, but there’s something special about Supercop that those other films don’t seem to capture (the lack of Michelle Yeoh notwithstanding). Though many will site a plethora of American films as some of the greatest action films ever made, Supercop is still one of the finest genre imports that’s just as breathtaking and entertaining as it was when it finally landed on US shores in 1996.

Supercop AKA Police Story 3 was shot by director of photography Ardy Lam on 35 mm film using Arriflex 35-III cameras and Technovision/Cooke lenses, finished photochemically, and presented in the aspect ratio of 2.39:1. 88 Films brings the film to Ultra HD in the US using what appears to be the same master included in Eureka’s UK boxed set of The Police Story Trilogy from 2022. Both the Hong Kong and US versions of the film are included, which are sourced from a 4K Digital Intermediate of a restoration of the original camera negative by Filmfinity, encoded and authored by David Mackenzie of Fidelity in Motion, and graded for High Dynamic Range (HDR10+ and Dolby Vision options are included). The original Hong Kong version has a running time of 96 minutes and 30 seconds, while the US Dimension Films release version has a running time of 90 minutes and 42 seconds. It’s worth noting that the Dimension Films logo is intact on the US version, unlike some previous releases of the film.

Both versions of Supercop sport a lovely, film-like presentation with a very healthy bitrate and even levels of grain, which is a tad heavy, but nonetheless true to its source. Finer details are revealed in the image, particularly in the backgrounds and shadows, as well as on costumes and skin textures. Clarity is slightly marred by the heaviness of the grain, but the image is otherwise crisp. The color palette offers a variety of hues, especially in the towns and countrysides where many swatches of color can be seen. The HDR grades enhance the palette, deepening detail in greens, reds, blues, browns, and especially blacks where shadow detail is vastly improved. The frame is stable and clean throughout with only extremely minor speckling, which is almost imperceptible. It’s a strong presentation, and likely the best the film has ever looked on home video.

There are a variety of audio options for both versions. The Hong Kong version offers Cantonese tracks in Dolby Atmos (7.1 Dolby TrueHD compatible), 2.0 mono DTS-HD Master Audio, and 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio, the latter being a home video mix, as well as an English 2.0 mono DTS-HD Master Audio option. The US version contains English 5.1 and Cantonese 2.0 mono DTS-HD Master Audio tracks. Subtitles include English and English SDH for the Hong Kong version and English SDH only for the US version. The new Atmos track is very active during action scenes for all of the various kicks and punches, but also beefs up crashes and explosions. Dialogue exchanges are very natural as well. The mono tracks maintain the film’s original soundtracks, including the alternate score by Joel McNeely for the US version (the original version’s score contains pieces of Danny Elfman’s score for Batman, which is a little jarring). All of the correct music cues and sound effects are present on each of the tracks, as well.

Supercop on 4K UHD sits in a black amaray case with double-sided artwork, a 1080p Blu-ray containing the same restoration with additional extras, and six double-sided lobby card reproductions. Alongside this is a double-sided poster and an 80-page booklet containing Meet the Cop That Can’t Be Stopped!: An Interview with John Wakefield by Matthew Edwards, Threenage Kicks: The Joy of Supercop by C.J. Lines, and set of disc credits. All of this is housed in rigid slipcase packaging. The following extras are included on each disc, all in HD:

DISC ONE (UHD)

  • Audio Commentary on the Hong Kong Version by Frank Djeng
  • Hong Kong Trailer (4:05)
  • English Trailer (2:10)
  • US Theatrical Teaser (1:39)
  • US Theatrical Trailer (1:38)
  • US TV Spots (7 in all – 2:49)
  • US Video Screener Promo (1:37)
  • Japanese Teaser (:41)
  • Guy Laroche 1984 Commercial with Jackie Chan & Michelle Yeoh (:33)

DISC TWO (BD)

  • Audio Commentary on the Hong Kong Version by Frank Djeng
  • Flying High: An Exclusive Interview with Star Jackie Chan (19:21)
  • Dancing with Death: An Interview with Leading-Lady Michelle Yeoh (23:12)
  • The Stuntmaster General: An Exclusive Interview with Director Stanley Tong (19:33)
  • The Fall Guy: An Exclusive Interview with Co-Star and Jackie Chan’s Bodyguard and Training Partner Ken Lo (21:45)
  • Stanley Tong: Police Story 3 (17:16)
  • Outtakes and Behind the Scenes (51:33)
  • Hong Kong Trailer (4:05)
  • English Trailer (2:10)
  • US Theatrical Teaser (1:39)
  • US Theatrical Trailer (1:38)
  • US TV Spots (7 in all – 2:49)
  • US Video Screener Promo (1:37)
  • Japanese Teaser (:41)
  • Guy Laroche 1984 Commercial with Jackie Chan & Michelle Yeoh (:33)

This new audio commentary with Asian film expert Frank Djeng is a nearly breathless dive into many facets of the film. He speedily covers the history of the film, as well as the cast and crew, and the film’s releases throughout the world. He only pauses briefly a couple of times, but it’s an otherwise excellent companion to the film. Next is Flying High, an interview with Jackie Chan in which he talks about his career, working with different directors, performing stunts, shooting on location, and the localization of his films. In Dancing with Death, Michelle Yeoh talks about her background in ballet and martial arts, becoming an actress, doing her own stunts, and her relationship with Jackie Chan. The Stuntmaster General interviews director Stanley Tong in which he discusses working with Jackie Chan, shooting action sequences, alternate versions of his films for the US market, and the future of Hong Kong cinema. The Fall Guy features an interview with Jackie Chan’s long-time training partner Ken Lo, who discusses his career working alongside Chan. Stanley Tong: Police Story 3 features a 2004 interview with the director about his memories of the film. Next is nearly an hour of additional Outtakes and Behind the Scenes footage, which is presented silent with music and score from the film. Last are various trailers and TV spots for the film, as well as a commercial for Guy Laroche featuring a much younger Jackie Chan and Michelle Yeoh.

It’s worth noting that several extras from previous releases of the film haven’t carried over. Not included from the Eureka 2022 UHD release are two audio commentaries: one with Frank Djeng and F.J. DeSanto, and the other with action cinema experts Mike Leeder and Arne Venema; a 2022 interview with stunt coordinator and action historian John Kreng; The Ultra Violent Jackie Chan Video Games, a 2022 interview with film historian Mike Leeder; a Police Story (1&2) Location Guide; a 2022 featurette with film historian Arne Venema; and a 2005 Cannes Film Festival interview with Stanley Tong. Not included from the 2011 Echo Bridge Home Entertainment Blu-ray is an interview with Michelle Yeoh, and missing from the 2009 Dragon Dynasty DVD is an audio commentary by Hong Kong film expert Bey Logan.

As the recent explosion of Asian cinema continues to thrive on home video around the world, Supercop is a reminder of the success of simplicity. The charms of the film’s leads and the talents of the stuntpeople are what continues to make it one of the most popular action films in its class. 88 Films’ UHD release is definitely one to own for long-time fans. Highly recommended.

- Tim Salmons

(You can follow Tim on social media at these links: Twitter and Facebook. And be sure to subscribe to his YouTube channel here.)

Tags

1992, 2160p, 4K, 4K Digital Intermediate, 4K scan of the original camera negative, 4K UHD, 4K Ultra HD, 88 Films, Allen Sit, Ardy Lam, Bill Tung, Blu-ray, Blu-ray Disc, Burt Kwouk, Cheung Ka-Fai, Dimension Films, Dolby Atmos, Dolby Vision, DTS-HD Master Audio, Edward Tang, Fortune Star, Golden Harvest, Golden Harvest Company, Golden Way Films, Golden Way Films Co Ltd, HDR, HDR10, HDR10+, High Dynamic Range, Hong Kong, Jackie Chan, Jenny Chinn, Joel McNeely, Jonathan Lee, Josephine Koo, Kelvin Wong, Ken Lo, Ken Tsang, Kenneth Tsang, Kim Maree Penn, Leonard Ho, Lit Law, Lo Lieh, Lowei Kwong, Ma Fibe, Mac Chew, Maggie Cheung, Mars, Media Asia, Michelle Yeoh, Ming-Sing Wong, Miramax, Peter Cheung, Philip Chan, Police Story 3, Police Story 3 Supercop, Police Story III, review, shot on 35 mm film, Stanley Tong, Supercop, The Digital Bits, Tim Salmons, Ultra HD, Wai Man Tam, Wai Shum, Wei-min Tan, Willie Chan, Wong Siu, Yee Lee Wai, Yee Sang Hon, Yi-Sheng Han, Yuen Wah

Supercop AKA Police Story 3 (4K UHD Review) (2024)
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