Jackie Chan directs himself, Sammo Hung and Yuen Biao in this period action comedy where Jackie’s disgraced coastguard kicks pirate butt in 19th century Hong Kong.
Breathlessly enjoyable. Barfights, bicycle chases, death defying stunts and an explosive finale. The plot gets a little lost, all but forgetting the piracy aspect for the first hour. But dotted between all the rumbles and slapstick are some neat bits of broad comedy: a Police Academy style training camp and password skit that rivals The Marx Brothers in its pay-offs. Hung and Chan have magical chemistry together and even though it often feels like everything including the kitchen sink has been thrown into the production no element is overused to the point where you don’t want to see more of it. The dangerous clock tower set piece is particularly memorable and you know it was done for reals as Jackie shows us it five times before we fade to black and the lights go up.
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