Project A (1983) is a great movie, that has Jackie Chan’s charming sense of humour – as well as his eye for action – written all over it. He wrote it, directed it and starred in it and also performs one of his most spectacular stunts in it – the famous fall from the clocktower.
The title of the film seems to be deliberately vage and perhaps chosen to tone down the kung fu/martial art fighting that Jackie had become so famous for. This is an action comedy rather than a pure kung fu film, and a terrific one as such!
The movie takes place in 19th century Hong Kong, where pirates rule the waters and make the sea unsafe for everyone. The marine is given money to fight these pirates, but the pirates themselves have many contacts (which means bribed officials) in the government, and seek to thwart the Coast Guard’s efforts to eliminate them.
Marine police officer Dragon Ma (Jackie Chan) is determined to put a stop to the pirates. If he succeeds? Well, this is Jackie Chan we’re talking about so… yes. But of course he has to go through some highly memorable fights and even greater stunts to do it…
Project A is not only an excellent display of hilarious and well coordinated fights, and well coordinated stunts – with its superb slapstick comedy it is also a fantastic tribute to the old silent movies, signed Harold Lloyd and Buster Keaton. In fact, the very clocktower stunt is inspired by Lloyd’s fantastic Safety Last from 1923.
Action is no less than great (as expected), including a hilarious bicycle chase. Jackie Chan is showing off his irresistible charm in every scene. in the much appreciated company of his eminent “dragon brothers” Sammo Hung and Biao Yuen. If you haven’t seen this masterpiece yet you should!