"Crime Story" (at the Monica 4-Plex), which is as fast and furious as action pictures get, provides a shrewd change of pace for martial arts superstar Jackie Chan. As skilled at comedy as he is at kung fu, Chan this time plays it straight as an inspector in the Royal Hong Kong Police. His seriousness proves to be an effective foil to this exceedingly sleek movie's spectacular stunt work and its visual panache.
Inspired by a 1991 incident, the film gets under way when a real estate tycoon (Law Ka-Ying), a past kidnap victim, senses that history is about to repeat itself. Sure enough, Law and his wife (Au Yeung Pui-Shan) are nabbed as they're driving on Hong Kong's convoluted Peak Road; it's the first of the film's many action set-pieces. Soon released, Law's wife receives a ransom demand of $60 million for her husband's return. Chan is assigned to the case, partnered with a portly veteran cop (capable Kent Cheng).
Director Kirk Wong (plus an uncredited Chan) and a raft of writers and cameramen, plus crack editor Peter Cheung, combine all the details of an astute police procedural with one exciting sequence after another. There are chases galore, including one over Taipei roof tops and the rafters of a burlesque theater interspersed with contrasting images of Hong Kong's skyscraper canyons and congested back alleys. There's a terrific episode aboard a flooded ship, a classic rescue of a child from a burning tenement and a climactic scene set in a 7-Eleven on busy Waterloo Road. Movies don't get much more kinetic than "Crime Story," which is fun all the way.