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Hard Boiled (HK 1992)

Director : John Woo
Cast : Chow-Yun Fat, Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Teresa Mo, Philip Chan, Philip Kwok, Anthony Wong Chau-Sang

A hard-boiled Hong Kong detective (Chow Yun-Fat) who lost his partner in a gunfight teams up with an undercover cop (Tony Leung) in a powerful mob to stop the mob smuggling guns and killing innocent people.

by Edward Tang

I’d find it hard to believe that anybody who has heard of Asian cinema, has yet to give Hard Boiled a go. If you haven’t, you have no idea what the hell you are missing. This film is the best action film and easily the most rewatchable of all time. I have two major things that should be fulfilled by all films, first they should entertain me and second, I should be able to watch them more than once and still enjoy it. Hard Boiled is probably the greatest example of my scale, it hits the top on both categories. This film has some of the most impressive action sequences in any of film. Woo out did himself in my opinion, after producing US movies for 12 years now, he has only come close with Face/Off, but close is probably an understatement. Hard Boiled is truly entertainment if entertainment was based on a film. Chow-Yun Fat looking super f*ckin’ awesome with toothpick in mouth and berettas in both hands, you couldn’t ask for more in a film.

John Woo must have been killed in 1992 after this film. I honestly think God came down from heaven and took him away, because even God couldn’t stop watching Hard Boiled. “That’s too awesome”, he’d say, and John Woo probably didn’t expect much from his film. Hell, 10 years ago, this film wasn’t even really known. When I saw it for the first time, it gave me an all around respect for John Woo and got me into Hong Kong Cinema (a transition that was truly worth it). That’s why I can’t hate John Woo for wasting 90 minutes of my life with that piece of shit that is named Paycheck. God I hated that film. Realism is probably thrown to the side in this film, hundreds of corpses (one of the first films I saw that had complete disregard for human life), bullets and gallons of blood. The slow motioned gun play and the classic heroic bloodshed are heartly exploited to the sight of hungry action fans alike.

The actors truly shine in this film, especially Mr. Chow-Yun Fat. The opitome of coolness is probably one of the most known images of this film. After taking out a teahouse full of assholes, two run away. Chow grabs his guns and slides down a bannister, whilst firing his guns into the two men. He always is full of charisma in his films and it sucks that here in the good ol’ USA, he is has been getting dumb roles such as Bulletproof Monk or The Corrupter. Tony Leung is great as well, his acting is damn good, and I think this was before he was the success he is today. Leung plays off Chow’s badass, to more of the cool headed guy who is tired of his double life and wants to get out. Finally, to mention Anthony Wong, who is one of my favorite actors in all of Hong Kong, he plays a pretty ruthless villian, and when you see him get torn down at the end, you cheer your ass off. One of my favorite character belonged to the eye patch guy

I must say that this film has a barely average story. It really isn’t anything surprising, but hell, I didn’t expect anything of such. Action is where it is at, and the film contains the best. My favorite scene is easily the finale at the hospital, it goes through so many different phases. The ending is one of those happy feely types, which I felt good enough. There were so many bullets flying around this film, I was actually tired of action by the end of this film. It was a rush, a film that never stopped. This film showed probably the most harsh bad guys you could ask for, Wong especially. Hostages (MOST OF THE TIME) are either safe not without a few deaths, like Ellis and Takagi (DIE HARD REFERENCE), but in Hard Boiled, I think I saw a count that labeled 250 at least, which is probably 230 people dead, who were just extras. See how fuckin’ crazy this film is? I loved the finale for some reason, you’ve got Anthony Wong coming out, talking about crazy shit, making Chow-Yun Fat slap himself. Then Tony gets himself shot, then Wong gets a bullet in the eye! That’s the way to end a film like this, a special death for the main foe. Always worth seeing for that stuff alone.

Hong Kong action cinema is usually described by this movie, rightfully so. It has all the characteristics of John Woo, it has all the gunplay you’d want, it is easily the best Woo action film of all time and remains as the must see film of the action genre. It still remains as my most rewatchable film, I’ve seen it over 50 times, and I still laugh when Chow is talking to the baby and shooting random losers, and I still get goosebumps from the warehouse shootout. Even Sweden had to ban this film because it made them realize how much this film kicked ass, and how you can barely get your work done when this motherf*cker is on.

This film has everything an action film should be, and if you haven’t seen it, go get it now!

Plot : 4/5
Acting : 4/5
Entertainment : 5/5
Overall : 5/5

Buy this movie at YesAsia – Hard Boiled

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