Jackie Chan has always used the original 'Police Story' series as a kind of safety net whenever his career hits a rough patch. The original was his response to his disastrous US cop movie 'The Protector' while the third entry was his attempt to recapture local audiences after a few high-profile failures. With his recent Hollywood outings scraping the concrete beneath the bottom of the barrel (The Tuxedo, Around the World in 80 Days, Rush Hour 2) he's gone back to Hong Kong and basics again. However, this time round he takes a few more chances, abandoning his old comic character and supporting cast (Maggie Cheung, Uncle Bill) for a comparatively darker outing as a broken-down cop drinking his way to oblivion after some thrill-seeking rich kids led by a typically OTT Daniel Wu kill his entire team. Naturally redemption is on the menu, but the stunts aren't quite as over-the-top or as plentiful as before, while the (intentional) comedy is kept to a minimum.
It's not up to the standards of his best work in the past, but it's light-years ahead of his US pictures and is a welcome return to form even if Chan's fight scenes fall short of his former glories (that said, there is a good bus sequence and an imaginative chase down the side of a building).