This movie is about the local Coast Guard and their duty to protect their ships from being raided by Pirates. Dragon Ma (Jackie Chan) is celebrating in a bar with the other coast guards, when an ongoing feud between them and the local police breaks out into a bar fight, where Dragon upsets Hung Tin-tsu (played by Yuen Biao), who is the police captain’s nephew.
When two ships are destroyed before a mission, the coast guard are all released from duty and become police men. Funnily enough, Dragon finds himself under the command of Hung Tin-Tsu. Dragon and the other policemen are then sent to find a man at a local club. After being prevented from making the arrest, despite knowing exactly where Chiang (the man they’re after) is, Dragon quits the force in frustration and forcefully brings Chiang out for the police to arrest.
After leaving the scene Dragon has a run in with an old friend turned thief named Fei (Sammo Hung). Fei tells Dragon of a policemen selling rifles illegally, supplying them to San Po – the head of the pirates. The two then decide to take the guns and catch the traitor. After discovering this whole scenario is a untrue, the whole operation goes wrong and Fei blames Dragon, which forces him to run from the police as a fugitive.
Off shore the Rear Admiral approaches on his ship, when it is overtaken by Pirates lead by San Po. San Po and his pirates kidnap the crew, and eventually Jackie sneaks into the old headquarters and convinces the Colonel to let him stage an operation to rescue the hostages.
Yeah Pirates! Jackie Chan at the time was always looking to do something different, but kept the titles rather elusive (‘Project A’ doesn’t exactly make you think of Pirates) to avoid copycat films from being produced.
This idea I thought was a good one, you don’t see many Kung Fu – Pirate movies, and this sets up for some interesting fight scenes. Despite the theme, a lot of the action and story is told on land with Dragon’s problems on the run from the police, with most of the humor being told through the Coast Guard/Police Men rivalry.
As usual, Jackie Chan likes a lot of humor in his movies, especially when you have him side by side with Sammo Hung and Yuen Biao.
The bar fight at the beginning of the movie was quite funny, especially with one character getting Spaghetti pushed onto his face. As he constantly tries to find the person who did it and get revenge, he constantly finds himself planting his own face into the Spaghetti carries.
Most of the humor is saved for the beginning of the film, with a bit more present during the final final action sequence.
The Stunt work and Martial Arts
The stunt work and action of this movie is pretty good, not as good as most other Jackie Chan films (in my opinion).
Technically everything is there, but the excitement wasn’t as high as in other films. Jackie is still performing some incredible and risky stunts like the fall from the clock tower (in which he lands head first after a 60 ft drop!). I think these life threatening stunts really separate Jackie from the rest.
Some of the action was crafty, the bicycle jousting I thought was funny and well done. Jackie Chan, Yuen Biao and Sammo Hung’s characters really show their stuff toward the end of the movie, when fighting San Po – this scene was pretty cool to watch and ended pretty funny – with San Po being rolled into a rug with Sammo, and then being blown up with a grenade (after removing Sammo). What a way to go out!
Would I recommend it?
It’s not bad, but it’s not fantastic. It is worth the watch however, but at this point there are many better Jackie Chan films out there (as well as Yuen Biao and Sammo). A must see for fans of Jackie Chan, and if you like family friendly humor.
Find it on Blu-Ray
On DVD –
Region 1 (US & Canada)
Jackie Chan’s Project A on DVD
Region 2 (UK, Europe, etc)
Project A Platinum Edition DVD