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Jackie Chan takes on a more serious persona than usual in "Crime Story," which may be a reflection of his getting older (he was 39 when the film was shot). And he didn't write or direct this time, working instead as an actor for hire.

But this is not to say that the Hong Kong action superstar appears to be getting tired. In fact, he's still quite tireless, doing many of his own stunts, despite his character being more sober. And "Crime Story" is no less a stunt-driven, wild-eyed action picture than his earlier efforts. It's just that he's looking more like Clint Eastwood and less like Buster Kea-ton.Apparently based on a true story - but loosely, as this is an exaggerated Hong Kong action-thriller, after all - the plot centers on detective Eddie Chan (Chan), of the police department's serious crimes division, and his efforts in a kidnapping case.

During the first part of the film, Chan tries in vain to prevent the kidnapping, while the bulk of the picture has him attempting to find and rescue the kidnap victim, a millionaire being held for a $60 million ransom. Meanwhile, he's saddled with a veteran partner who, unbeknown to Chan, is actually the head of the kidnapping ring. (This isn't giving anything away, as it is revealed early on.)

But, as you might expect, plot is secondary to harrowing escapes, crazy car chases, tension-filled cliffhangers and some amazing stunt work, much of it shot in a way that reveals Chan is indeed hanging upside down or being tossed around or kicking the bad guys with his unique kung fu moves.

"Crime Story's" four main eye-popping set-pieces are a car chase that follows the kidnapping, a battle with bad guys in a Taiwan warehouse, a fight between the two cop partners in the bowels of a seafaring freighter and the climactic race against time when a building - and subsequently an entire city block - explodes into flames.

Though not as stylistic or slick as John Woo ("Hard-Boiled," "The Killer"), director Kirk Wong shows a real flair for down-and-dirty action, and the stunts here are unparalleled.

What's more, "Crime Story" proves that even as he gets older and eschews his clown persona, Jackie Chan is an action star to reckon with. Fans will not be disappointed.

The film is not rated but would doubtless get an R for violence, profanity, vulgarity and a sex scene.