Directed by John Woo
Well, what to write about the king of action movies?
When I first watched this, I was blown away by it.
This kind of action you didn`t get to see outside of Hong Kong, only those „exploding huts“ movies made in the Phillipines come close to it, sometimes, but not at this level of excellency, and only in jungle enviroments.
John Woo kind of did his own version of that with „ Heroes shed no tears“.
So, this was the last movie John Woo did in Hong Kong, before he left for America.
Supposedly, cuz Hard-Boiled didn`t meet expectations at the box office.
By then, John Woo got noticed and promoted by the likes of Quentin Tarantino and others.
But back to Hard-Boiled.
After great success with his earlier movies, starting with „ A better Tomorrow“-(box office 35 million HKD in Hong Kong alone), this was the climax of the „Heroic Bloodshed“ movies.
While I rank some of his other films higher, this is the top of the mountain in regards to over the top action. With a bodycount of over 300, you get the idea why.
Mobsters are smuggling guns into Hong Kong. The police orchestrate a raid at a teahouse where an ace detective loses his partner. Meanwhile, the two main gun smugglers are having a war over territory, and a young new gun is enlisted to wipe out informants and overcome barriers to growth. The detective, acting from inside sources, gets closer to the ring leaders and eventually must work with the inside man directly. (written bye Ed Sutton)
Chow-Yun Fat is Tequila, the toughest cop in all Hong Kong. Tony-Tony Leug Chiu Wai ( or Alan in the english dub) is an undercover cop, who tries to nail the gunsmugglers from the inside. They both get in each others way first, but end up working together in the end.
I love Chow Yun Fat and Tony Leung since I`ve seen this, and watched a great amount of their work since then.
What appealed to me, was not only the action in general, but the overall different experience with Hong Kong action movies.
They are over the top, very silly at one point and cold-blooded the next.
It is a totally different universe. The stunts in these Hong Kong movies are insane, you couldn`t do stuff like that in Hollywood, the insurance companies would give you the finger!
The actors are no primadonnas, as in Hollywood, they just do it.
Also, they never had budgets like in Hollywood. Hard-Boiled was the most expensive HK film at that point, with a budget of estimated 4, 5 million $.
The hospital scenes towards the end are insane, with great camera work. A ballet of violence , like only John Woo can deliever. The editing, use of slow-motion and camera work is ecellent.. I also loved Face/Off and MI-2, so smooth.
While his HK films appeared a bit crude compared to Hollywood style filmmaking, Face/ OFF and MI-2 are perfect, when it comes to editing and use of music.
After all, the possibilities in HK where limited by low budgets.
With some of his films made in the US, he was able to perfect that style.
I can only recommend, not only to see this film, but everything of his between 1986 to 2002.
I still haven`t seen RED CLIFF (2008), but only cuz i`m not into costume films that much.
But i`m sure it`s excellent. If, at one point, you`re tired of your average Hollywood movie, go try some HK action.
Hard-Boiled is a must see, pure action mayhem. And Chow Yun Fat is my number one HK actor, check out his work, he did everything from comedy to drama to action, everything worth seeing.