Project A II (1987)

Directed by
Jackie doing what Jackie does
Reviewed by Simon on 2022-12-17

Apparently Jackie Chan declined to appear in big bro Sammo Hung's Eastern Condors, and instead made a sequel to Project A without Sammo or Yuen Biao. Rude!

Project A II is essentially Period Police Story hybridised with Peking Opera Blues, and something of a precursor to the Once Upon A Time In China films. This time around Jackie is transferred from the coast guard to lead a police precinct, finding that the officer in the seat before him had been more interested in helping himself than the local people.

It's a lavish production, full of ambitious spectacle in which Jackie naturally takes centre stage, with his athleticism, charisma and perfectionism all at peak levels.

The absence of the other two dragons is definitely felt. Without the chemistry Jackie, Sammo and Biao have together - and perhaps more importantly, anything to take the focus off Jackie for a while - the film doesn't feel quite as exciting.

The script is definitely a stronger focus this time round, and it's clear that Jackie had things he wanted to say. The plot mixes themes of patriotism, corruption and revolution with crowd-pleasing gags, stunts and fights. It crams a lot in and keeps it moving at a breakneck pace - apart from one scene where it smashes into a wall.

It's hard to point to any specific problems otherwise, but overall it perhaps feels a little formulaic - Jackie had his persona and his style nailed down and he doesn't take any big risks with it here. There is plenty of action, but nothing quite as fresh or memorable as the bicycle scene or the clock tower from the first film.

Still, Jackie Chan doing Jackie Chan things in his prime is hardly something to be sniffed at, and the film is a solid example of what made him, and Hong Kong, so special in those days.