Hard Boiled (Hong Kong, 1992)

hard_boiled_posterDirected by: John Woo. This is a pretty amazing movie. I was only vaguely aware of John Woo as a legendary Hong Kong action director, and I’d seen Face Off, but that was a long time ago. From the first moment you see Chow Yun-Fat as this ultimate expression of the jaded rebel cop, sweat pouring off him, shaking up a sloppy tequila and ginger, downing it, and lifting up a clarinet to his lips to rip on some mime jazz, I was hooked. I won’t lie—there were parts of this movie that seemed kind of cheesy, and thwarted my attempts to take it seriously (like the above image). On the other hand, I had the cheesy English dubs on instead of the usual subtitles, which increases the cheesiness by a factor of 10 instantly. But, to be fair, it’s all there. Yes, it’s a genre-defining movie, bearing more than one or two resemblances to the later Infernal Affairs (and by extension, The Departed), and high water marks for the modern action film as we know it today, but ALSO, it’s got some pretty overwrought acting, a pretty awful romantic subplot with the female lead, and a pretty colour-by-numbers storyline. Bad guy wants to do bad things, the cops are walking on a razor’s edge, etc etc. One good thing you can do is ignore that hilarious movie poster I found (above) and watch the Dragon Dynasty DVD version with the commentary by Hong Kong film expert Bey Logan, a Brit who really does a good job illustrating the film’s impact and its context within Hong Kong film in general. But really, just go see this movie. It’s got blood, guns, more blood, explosions, more blood, and a young Tony Leung. What more do you want?

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2 responses to “Hard Boiled (Hong Kong, 1992)

  1. Pingback: Kill Zone: SPL (Hong Kong/China, 2005) | Offhand Reviews·

  2. Pingback: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Taiwan/China/Hong Kong/USA, 2000) | Offhand Reviews·

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