It's pretty well known that in the hanging-heist scene in "Mission: Impossible," director Brian DePalma owes much to the '60s caper film "Topkapi" and its '50s French predecessor, "Rafifi."
What even the most die-hard movie fan probably doesn't know, is that the train/helicopter scene from "Mission: Impossible" has been done before, too - and better.
Whether it was the success of Jackie Chan's first major American release, "Rumble in the Bronx," or the desire to capitalize on "Mission: Impossible," that prompted the re-release of Jackie Chan's 1992 Hong Kong action comedy, I don't know. I'm just glad it happened.
Unlike "Eraser," when Arnold Schwarzenegger supposedly is hanging out the door of a 747, Chan is not in a wind tunnel in front of a blue screen - he is dangling from a helicopter. And unlike "Mission: Impossible," that is not a miniature train and helicopter. These are stunts, not special effects.
But they sure are special.
The last 15 minutes alone of "Supercop" are worth the price of admission, a nonstop stuntfest featuring Chan's amazing athleticism and slapstick comic timing. He's Bruce Lee, Schwarzenegger and Harold Lloyd rolled into one.
"Supercop" is actually a better movie than "Rumble in the Bronx." The dubbing is better, the exotic Southeast Asian locales are much improved (Vancouver stood in for New York in "Bronx") and the plot, though it is serviceable at best, is even better. Best of all, Chan gets a pretty co-star, Michelle Khan, who can match him punch for punch.
Jackie Chan plays Kevin Chan, a Hong Kong cop who is assigned to a joint operation with the Communist Chinese to break up a Malaysian heroin ring. His partner is the lovely Chief of Security Yang (Michelle Khan). Part of a running gag about the stiffness and militarism of the mainland is that we never learn her first name. However, that's about as far as the political commentary goes.
Together they go undercover by springing a gangster named Panther (Yuen Wah) - no subtlety here - from a prison camp, and joining up with the grateful thug's gang. Of course, lots of narrow escapes, martial-arts battles and gunplay ensue before a breathless finish that should thrill even the most jaded action fan. Chan is a joy to watch. He's eager to please, and he does. He mugs for the camera, lets his character be afraid and feel pain, and, despite his prowess, comes across as a bit of an everyman. The stunts are done in long takes, leaving little doubt of their authenticity, and makes us wonder if the fear on Chan's face isn't always acting.
As always, you don't want to leave a Jackie Chan movie at the end of the story. The bloopers tacked on to the end are both hilarious and harrowing, showing just how hard this guy works, and that he really does risk life and limb for his craft.