The Big Picture

  • Michelle Yeoh’s motorcycle jump in
    Supercop
    is a must-watch, showcasing her courage and dedication to performing her own stunts.
  • The dangerous and thrilling stunt required Yeoh to learn how to ride a bike from scratch before executing it flawlessly.
  • Yeoh’s performance in
    Supercop
    solidifies her status as an action movie icon, stealing the spotlight with her incredible physicality and skill.



When it comes to action cinema, there is almost nothing cooler than a great motorcycle stunt. The team behind Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning essentially built their entire marketing campaign around a major one where Tom Cruise, in spectacular fashion, raced a bike off a cliff into a free fall. It was impressive, and beautifully captured in the movie. However, before Michelle Yeoh won hearts world over with Everything Everywhere All At Once, she stole the show with an even greater, more daring motorcycle stunt in the 1992 film Police Story 3: Supercop, or as it was known in the U.S., Supercop.


Supercop is the third installment in Jackie Chan‘s Police Story franchise, following Chan’s Hong Kong action hero Ka-Kui on a thrilling criminal bust where he is partnered up with a Chinese Interpol superintendent portrayed by Yeoh, Jessica Yang. The two cops have met their match with each other, as they both display expert martial arts abilities and a tendency to find themselves in increasingly deadly situations. The movie was a crossover success in Hong Kong and America, following Chan’s breakout into the US market with Rumble in the Bronx, and led to a spin-off sequel following Yeoh in the lead role. Among its chief admirers is renowned filmmaker Quentin Tarantino, who claimed Supercop featured “the greatest stunts ever filmed in any movie.”

police story 3 supercop

Police Story 3: Supercop

A Hong Kong detective teams up with his female Red Chinese counterpart to stop a Chinese drug czar.

Release Date
July 4, 1992

Director
Stanley Tong

Runtime
1h 36m



Michelle Yeoh Stole the Spotlight in ‘Supercop’

Supercop is full of jaw-dropping action, but the most impressive moment has got to be the motorcycle jump. While you might expect that with any Jackie Chan movie, it is actually Yeoh who takes on the most daring, spectacular stunts in Supercop. The above Tarantino quote continues, “look no further than Michelle Yeoh jumping a motorcycle onto a speeding train…” and that really is all you need to know about why this movie is absolutely essential viewing. Racing toward the film’s climax, Ka-Kui is battling criminals on top of a speeding train, and Yang needs to get there quickly. Riding a motorcycle on a hill parallel to the train’s path, she realizes the only way to do it is to ramp the bike onto the roof of a train car.

While Yang pulls the jump off flawlessly in the reality of Supercop, where action movie logic prevails, Yeoh had a harder time in the real world. Not only is it an incredibly dangerous, difficult task to do, but Yeoh has since explained that she did not even know how to ride a bike prior to filming this movie. She learned for the sole purpose of doing this incredible stunt, and the payoff is phenomenal.


‘Police Story 3: Supercop’ Spotlights Michelle Yeoh’s Dedication and Physicality

However, she did not pull it off in one go. The end credits of Supercop played over a montage of behind-the-scenes’ footage, including a portion dedicated to Yeoh’s multiple missed attempts, each of which is death-defying and thrilling to watch. The sheer dedication and courage that goes into the craft is why stuntwork deserves to be celebrated, and why it is impressive when a star like Yeoh steps up to the challenge when she could easily opt out of doing so for her own safety.

The crazy thing about Yeoh’s Supercop performance is that she does not even consider the motorcycle jump to be the most memorably dangerous stunt. That honor goes to the one where she has to leap from the roof of a large truck onto the hood of a car, while both are traveling at fairly fast speeds. The stunt is arguably just as impressive, and one of many that Yeoh pulls off with spectacular grace and physicality in this film.


Related

How ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’ Subverts the Action Movie Climax

Don’t make me fight you. I’m really good.

Yeoh spoke in a behind-the-scenes feature about how Chan, being the confident and fairly cocky lead, would make statements about women needing to stay out of action movies. This was recounted in a light tone, so it does not seem there is any bad blood between the two as she laughed it off, explaining that he excluded her from that generalization. Whether Chan had respect for what Yeoh was doing in this film or not – and by all accounts, it seems he does, Yeoh readily proves herself as one of the greatest action heroes to grace the screen, even upstaging him in his own franchise. Her performance as Yang is the highlight of Supercop, one that went over well enough to lead to her own spinoff, Supercop 2, and a key role to point at in the lasting legacy of Yeoh as an action star.


The ‘Supercop’ Motorcycle Jump Sits Atop a Long List of Great Bike Stunts

Motorcycle stunts have been in movies for about as long as they’ve existed, with iconic ones ranging to 100 years ago in films like Buster Keaton‘s Sherlock Jr., and the most recent one to join this pantheon has certainly been Ethan Hunt’s daring dive off a cliff into a free fall onto a moving train in Mission: Impossible– Dead Reckoning Part One film. This time has given us great stunts, like Jean-Claude Van Damme standing on top of a moving motorcycle while shooting down bad guys in John Woo‘s Hard Target, another Yeoh entry with her and Pierce Brosnan handcuffed together while crashing one through a roof in Die Another Day, or the fantastic The Matrix: Reloaded highway sequence.


Yet the Supercop jump prevails over all due to its simplicity, sheer boldness, and the fact that everything you see on screen is 100 percent real. There is something to be said, and appreciated, about how many of these stunts can be made safer in modern times, but Yeoh proves there is something undeniably magical about watching a real-life movie star pull off a move like that on the big screen without any CGI and nothing but sheer skill and luck keeping her safe. Tom Cruise will surely end up catapulting himself into space to outdo his last Mission eventually, but it seems improbable that anyone will ever upstage the legendary fixture in action movie royalty, who is Michelle Yeoh. For more of Yeoh defying the laws of physics, her Academy Award-winning movie, Everything Everywhere All At Once is now on Netflix.

Supercop is available to rent or buy on Apple TV+ in the U.S.

Watch on Apple TV+

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