First Strike (1996 film)

Police Story 4: First Strike (Chinese: 警察故事4之簡單任務), also known as First Strike or Jackie Chan's First Strike, is a 1996 Hong Kong action comedy film directed and co-written by Stanley Tong, and starring Jackie Chan, Jackson Lou, Annie Wu, Bill Tung, Yuri Petrov, and Nonna Grishayeva. It is the fourth installment of the Police Story series. Chan reprises his role as "Kevin" Chan Ka-Kui (named "Jackie" in international releases), a Hong Kong police officer who works for the CIA to track down and arrest an illegal weapons dealer. Jackie realizes that things are not as simple as they appear and soon finds himself a pawn of an organization posing as Russian intelligence.[1]

First Strike
FirstStrike Poster.jpg
Hong Kong theatrical poster
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese警察故事4之簡單任務
Simplified Chinese警察故事4之简单任务
Directed byStanley Tong
Screenplay byStanley Tong
Nick Tramontane
Greg Mellott
Elliot Tong
Produced byBarbie Tung
CinematographyJingle Ma
Edited byPeter Cheung
Yau Chi-wai
Music byNathan Wang (Hong Kong cut)
J. Peter Robinson (U.S. cut)
Distributed byGolden Harvest
New Line Cinema
Warner Bros
Release date
  • 10 February 1996 (1996-02-10)
Running time
110 minutes
CountryHong Kong
Box officeUS$53 million (est.)

The film was shot partially in Hong Kong, Crimea (Ukraine), Moscow (Russia) and Brisbane in Queensland (Australia). Chinatown, Brisbane in Fortitude Valley and Underwater World on the Sunshine Coast were also used. Filming took place from August to November 1995. The film was released in Hong Kong on 10 February 1996. The original Hong Kong version was filmed in four languages: Cantonese, English, Russian, and Ukrainian. To advertise First Strike, Jackie recorded the song 怎麼會 Zenme Hui and also made a music video for it. As is typical with Chan's pictures, the US version does not feature the theme song. The North American version also dubbed all the non-English dialogue in Cantonese, Russian and Ukrainian into English.


Whilst working for the CIA, Jackie is assigned to follow leads of a nuclear smuggling case. One of the tasks the CIA gives him is simple enough: watch a woman named Natasha while on a plane from Hong Kong to Crimea and record her movements. Jackie arrives in Ukraine and the CIA, partnered with local Security Service, take over the task of following Natasha. However, the CIA operation almost falls apart when the Ukrainian Strike Force arrest Natasha. Luckily for the CIA, Jackie spots Natasha being driven away and he discreetly follows her.

During the chase in Yalta, Jackie discovers that Natasha is working with an unknown male partner, who actually called in the Strike Force to prevent Natasha from being followed. Natasha and the unknown male are also romantically involved. Jackie decides to follow the unknown male to a remote lodge in the Crimean Mountains, and informs the CIA of his location. The unknown male is apparently meeting with Russian mafia members who are interested in a nuclear bomb that is in his possession. The criminals are on high alert when they spot Jackie and agents of both the Militsiya and the CIA arriving. A gunfight ensues. During the battle, the unknown male is identified as Jackson Tsui, a Chinese-American nuclear scientist with CIA links, suspected of stealing a nuclear warhead.

Jackie finds a briefcase which contained evidence from Tsui, but as he is chased by mafia forces, Jackie loses the briefcase as he falls into frozen waters, and the mafia takes the briefcase. When he recovers in Russian military hospital, he meets Colonel Gregor Yegorov of the FSB, who explains the situation. Jackie goes with him to Moscow where he discovers he has been assigned to work with Gregor to solve a similar case involving nuclear weapons being smuggled out of Ukraine. His task is to track Tsui, who disappeared after their last encounter. He is smuggled into Brisbane, Australia by a Russian submarine.

In order to find out where Jackson is, Jackie befriends his younger sister Annie, who works at an aquarium doing shark shows. Jackie pretends to be Jackson's "sworn brother". Chan's deception is successful, and he eventually meets Uncle 7, the Tsuis' father and the local Triad boss. Uncle 7 is seriously ill and will be getting surgery soon. While meeting Uncle 7, Jackie reveals the true nature of his visit to both Uncle 7 and Annie and informs them of Jackson's criminal activities. Jackie then meets with Gregor to report his findings. He tells Gregor that if Uncle 7 dies, Jackson will surely show up. Unknown to Jackie, Jackson is hiding at the hospital and has given a nuclear warhead (disguised as a small oxygen tank) to Annie, who hides it at the aquarium.

While following Annie, Jackie gets held up by Jackson, who claims to have a deal with Gregor. He also reveals to Jackie that Gregor has secretly put audio bugs in several of the objects the FSB gave him. After realizing he has been used by Gregor for nefarious purposes, Jackie decides to return home and write a full report to both of their superiors. Two men are sent to kill him, and he is framed for the murder of Uncle 7. He attempts to clear his name by going to see Annie at the memorial hall, but he is (unsurprisingly) unwelcome, having to fight younger brother Allen Tsui and the family's bodyguards until Jackson arrives to clear Jackie's name. Jackson explains that Gregor caught him on a CIA assignment three years before, and forced him to turn into a triple agent: a CIA agent ostensibly turned by the FSB, but in reality serving Gregor's private criminal schemes.

Gregor uses the nuclear warheads to secure stakes in oil franchises in the Middle East. Jackson was trying to get money from Gregor for the warhead. Annie, Jackie, and Jackson decide to work together to find Gregor and bring him in. Uncle 7's elaborate Chinatown funeral becomes the scene for a complex shootout between the various parties, injuring Jackson as he's caught in an RPG explosion. Annie and Jackie attempt to retrieve the stolen warhead from the shark pool (so that they can return it to the police), but Gregor and his men follow them, leading to a climactic confrontation underwater. During the fight, Gregor shoots the aquarium tank and shatters the glass, which releases a great white shark into the restaurant area.

During the confusion, Gregor escapes with the warhead and kidnaps Annie to a getaway boat. Jackie saves the tourists from the shark and then pursues Gregor. While Gregor escapes in the getaway boat, Jackie finds and drives a Mitsubishi FTO display car onto the boat. The car pins Gregor, allowing Jackie to successfully retrieve the warhead and save Annie as armed police close in. Gregor and Jackson are apprehended by the Australian police and turned over to Russian authorities. The case is solved, and Jackie is thanked for his work by the FSB and returns to his work in Hong Kong.


  • Jackie Chan as Jackie / "Kevin" Chan Ka-kui
  • Jackson Lou as Jackson Tsui
  • Annie Wu as Annie Tsui
  • Bill Tung as "Uncle" Bill Wong
  • Yuriy Petrov as Col. Gregor Yegorov
  • Nonna Grishayeva as Natasha Rekshynskaya
  • Terry Woo as Uncle Seven
  • Allen Sit as Allen
  • Rocky Lai as Golden Dragon Club Member 1
  • Chan Wai-to as Golden Dragon Club Member 2
  • Chan Man-ching as Golden Dragon Club Member 3
  • Tang Chiu-yau as Golden Dragon Club Member 4
  • Alex Yip as Golden Dragon Club Member 5
  • Brett Arthur as Russian Hit Man 1
  • Mark French as Russian Hit Man 2
  • Damien Gates as Russian Hit Man 3
  • Mark Gilks as Russian Hit Man 4
  • Nathan Jones as Russian Hit Man 5 (the tall hitman who beats up and chases Jackie in his hotel room)
  • Matthew Walker Kininmonth as Russian Hit Man 6
  • John Langmead as Russian Hit Man 7
  • Steve Livingstone as Russian Hit Man 8
  • Steve Morris as Russian Hit Man 9


New Line Cinema re-edited the film, making the following changes: new opening credits sequence with Hong Kong scenery, removal of over 20 minutes of footage, new music composed by J. Peter Robinson and almost all the multi-lingual dialogue (English, Cantonese, Mandarin and Russian) dubbed into English.

All Mei Ah Entertainment releases, the Japanese Warner Home Video DVD and the Towa laserdisc are the only versions to date that contain the film uncut and without the language dubbing. The Mei Ah releases feature English subtitles.

Commercial receptionEdit

Box officeEdit

Box office performance
Market Year Gross revenue (est.) Ticket sales
Local currency US dollars
Hong Kong 1996 HK$57,518,795 $7,436,890 1,200,000 [2][3]
China 1996 ¥112,000,000 RMB $14,640,000 15,000,000 [4][5][6]
Taiwan 1996 NT$47,284,460 $1,732,032 234,956 [7][8]
Japan 1996 ¥545,000,000 $5,010,000 440,000 [9][10]
South Korea 1996 Un­known $4,220,000 739,845 [11]
North America 1997 US$15,318,863 $15,318,863 3,337,400 [12][13]
United Kingdom 1997 £224,000 $457,000 55,070 [14][15]
Germany 1997 1,860,000 $2,109,000 357,639 [14][16]
Spain 1997 €246,000 $279,000 72,272 [17][16]
Netherlands 1997 €34,000 $39,000 6,110 [14][16]
France 1997 €603,000 $684,000 113,746
1998 €765,000 $858,000 144,431
Hungary 1997 €145,000 $164,000 103,235
1999 €153,000 $163,000 84,943
Romania 1998 €49,000 $55,000 53,947
1999 €2,619 $2,791 3,742
Total US$53,168,576 21,947,336
Inflation adjusted (2021) US$98,816,196 [18]

First Strike was an enormous box office success in Hong Kong, grossing HK$57,518,795 during its theatrical run.[2] It remains Jackie Chan's highest-grossing film in Hong Kong and the third highest-grossing domestic film in Hong Kong film history.

In China, it grossed ¥112 million RMB at the box office.[4] In Taiwan, it grossed NT$47,284,460.[7] In Japan, it earned ¥545 million at the box office.[9] In South Korea, it grossed US$4.22 million.[11] In Europe, the film sold 72,272 tickets in Spain[17] and 922,863 in other EU countries.[14]

The film was released on 10 January 1997 in 1,344 North American theatres, grossing US$5,778,933 ($4,299 per screen) in its opening weekend. Its total North American box office gross was $15,318,863.[12] Adjusted for inflation in 2021, the film grossed the equivalent of US$32,401,297 in North America[19] and US$98,816,196 worldwide.[18]

Home mediaEdit

In the United States, the home video release grossed US$13,830,000 (equivalent to $23,000,000 in 2021) in video rental revenue during 1997. It was the seventh highest-grossing New Line rental video that year.[20] This adds up to US$60,548,863 (equivalent to US$122,161,488 adjusted for inflation in 2021) in combined revenue from the box office and US video rentals by 1997.

In the United Kingdom, the film was watched by 2.2 million viewers on television in 2004, making it the year's second most-watched foreign-language film on television (below Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon). The original Police Story drew 1.2 million UK viewers the same year, adding up to a combined 3.4 million UK viewership for both Police Story films in 2004.[21]

Critical receptionEdit

The version of the film released in North American cinemas by New Line was met with an overall positive critical response. Mike LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle gave the film an enthusiastic review:

One of the pleasures of being alive at this period of history is Jackie Chan. There are other pleasures, of course, and other movie pleasures, too. But few things in film today are as reliable as a Jackie Chan movie. Even if the picture is weak, Chan is never disappointing. Watching him in Jackie Chan's First Strike, a brand-new effort opening today, there's no doubt that this is a lovable original and a great popular artist. So this time Chan swims with sharks. He climbs from balcony to balcony on the top floor of a tall hotel building. He even -- get this -- drops 100 feet from a helicopter into a frozen lake, just as the helicopter explodes.[22]

Roger Ebert reviewed the film in January 1997 and rated it three out of four stars in Lancaster New Era newspaper. He noted that "Chan is said to be the world's top action star" outside of the United States, and that what "makes him popular is not just his stunts (he is famous for doing them all himself) but his attitude" and reactions to them. He said "Jackie Chan is an acquired taste" and the film lacks "the polish of big-budget Hollywood extravaganzas" while the dubbed dialogue "sounds like cartoon captions," but that "Chan himself is a graceful and skilled physical actor, immensely likable, and there's a kind of Boy Scout innocence in the action that's refreshing after all the doom-mongering, blood-soaked Hollywood action movies."[23]

Arlington Heights Daily Herald newspaper rated it two-and-a-half out of four stars, calling it a "homage to James Bond, spiced up with elaborate fight pieces choreographed to show off Chan's incredible comic battle style."[24]

It currently has a 57% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with a 6.1/10 average rating from 23 reviewers and 6.8/10 rating from 7 top critics.[25]

Awards and nominationsEdit


  1. ^ "First Strike,' Jackie Chan's Out". Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved 2 November 2010.
  2. ^ a b "First Strike (1996)". Hong Kong Movie DataBase. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
  3. ^ "UIS Statistics". UNESCO Institute for Statistics. UNESCO. Retrieved 3 May 2019.
  4. ^ a b "【ジャッキーチェン興行成績】 第9回:中国での興行収入". KungFu Tube (in Japanese). 16 August 2010. Retrieved 29 November 2018.
  5. ^ "Beijing Review". Beijing Review. Vol. 52. 2009. p. 23. Retrieved 29 April 2022. But in 1995, Hong Kong superstar Jackie Chan's Rumble in the Bronx lit up movie screens during the Spring Festival, taking in 110 million yuan ($16.11 million). The following year, Jackie's other kungfu film, First Strike, took away about 100 million yuan ($14.64 million) from the Chinese mainland's audience during Spring Festival.
  6. ^ Daily Report: China, Issues 79-87. Foreign Broadcast Information Service. 1995. p. 58. Audiences pay five ($0.59) to 10 yuan ($1.19) to see a Chinese movie.
  7. ^ a b "1996 Taiwan Box Office". National Chengchi University. 19 February 2001. Archived from the original on 19 February 2001. Retrieved 30 November 2018.
  8. ^ "Historical currency converter with official exchange rates (TWD)". March 1996. Retrieved 22 June 2020.
  9. ^ a b "【ジャッキーチェン興行成績】 第12回:日本での興行収入". KungFu Tube (in Japanese). 2012. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
  10. ^ "Statistics of Film Industry in Japan". Eiren. Motion Picture Producers Association of Japan (MPPAJ). Retrieved 30 April 2022.
  11. ^ a b "【ジャッキーチェン興行成績】 第10回:韓国での興行収入". KungFu Tube (in Japanese). 5 September 2010. Retrieved 7 December 2018.
  12. ^ a b First Strike at Box Office Mojo
  13. ^ "Первый удар — дата выхода в России и других странах" [First Strike - Release dates in Russia and other countries]. Kinopoisk (in Russian). Retrieved 29 April 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  14. ^ a b c d "Jing cha gu shi iv: jian dan ren wu". Lumiere. Retrieved 11 November 2021.
  15. ^ "UK cinema ticket prices". Terra Media. Retrieved 16 July 2020.
  16. ^ a b c "Cinema market". Cinema, TV and radio in the EU: Statistics on audiovisual services (Data 1980-2002). Europa (2003 ed.). Office for Official Publications of the European Communities. 2003. pp. 31–64 (61). ISBN 92-894-5709-0. ISSN 1725-4515. Retrieved 23 May 2020.
  17. ^ a b Soyer, Renaud (4 February 2014). "Jackie Chan Box Office". Box Office Story (in French). Retrieved 1 July 2020.
  18. ^ a b "Jing cha gu shi IV: Jian dan ren wu (First Strike) (1997) - Receipts". JP's Box-Office (in French). Retrieved 19 April 2022.
  19. ^ "Jing cha gu shi IV: Jian dan ren wu (First Strike) (1997) - United States". JP's Box-Office (in French). Retrieved 19 April 2022.
  20. ^ "VidTrac's Top 100 Renting Video Titles for 1997". Video Software Dealers Association (VSDA). Archived from the original on 13 June 1998. Retrieved 9 November 2021.
  21. ^ "UK Film Council Statistical Yearbook: Annual Review 2004/05" (PDF). UK Film Council. p. 74. Retrieved 21 April 2022 – via British Film Institute.
  22. ^ Lasalle, Mick (10 January 1997). "Chan Keeps It Thrilling". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2 November 2010.
  23. ^ Ebert, Roger (9 January 1997). "Jackie Chan 'strikes' again". Lancaster New Era. p. 52. Retrieved 18 April 2022 – via
  24. ^ "Movie Guide". Arlington Heights Daily Herald. 25 January 1997. p. 7 (Section 5). Retrieved 19 April 2022 – via
  25. ^ "Jackie Chan's First Strike". Rotten Tomatoes.

External linksEdit