For five years, film critic Scott Tobias compiled "The New Cult Canon" in a regular column for The A.V. Club…
As A Cop, He Has Brains, Brawn, And An Instinct To Kill
John Woo’s Hard Boiled tells the story of jaded detective “Tequila” Yuen (played with controlled fury by Chow Yun-fat). Woo’s dizzying odyssey through the world of Hong Kong Triads, undercover agents, and frenzied police raids culminates unforgettably in the breathless hospital sequence.
The Rouge Cop and the Undercover Cop up against some gangster motherfuckers in John Woo's blueprint on how to make the motherfucker of all motherfuckin' action movies. The Jazz Club. The paperboy. The fuckin' birds at the teahouse. The first time Tequila shoots 2 guns at once. Automatic fuckin' weapons. Staircase ownage. Tequila's toothpick. White as a ghost. A chat with JW. High-tech computers. The last book your fuckin' ass will ever read. Pretty-pretty-oh-so-fuckin'-pretty flowers. Never trust an icky eel. Anthony Wong's hair. Fishin'. The impossible question: Who's a badder badass motherfucker; Mad Dog from Hard Boiled or Mad Dog from The Raid? Motorcycle madness. A grand fuckin' entrance. A Zippo. Paper cranes. Fun on a boat. Fuckin' Foxy. Mad…
An absolutely ballistic, no-holds-barred, over-the-top yet purely unadulterated action extravaganza to come out from Hong Kong during the the early 90s, Hard Boiled takes action in cinema to a whole new level with its heart-pounding & jaw-dropping sequences and cements John Woo's reputation as the most influential director when it comes to action filmmaking.
The story of Hard Boiled concerns two ace cops; one is a tough-as-nails detective in his department while the other one is working as an undercover agent & has risen sharply in the underworld over the years. The plot covers their initial friction with each other followed by a mutual partnership as the two eventually team up to take down & wipe out Hong Kong's most ruthless mobster & his…
If you read the script of Hard Boiled, you'll probably get disappointed as it might sound like a complete action turd, but seeing John Woo giving life to his own screenplay is like a religious experience, it's as if Mr. God had created him specifically to create his own action movies.
This is a film that shows how good John Woo was in his own golden age - before he decided to create films only to increase his bank account -, when he was able to turn average melodramatic stories into purely 'artistic works', when his mediocre fatalist storylines did not interfere with the shootings, when the stylized violence was always at the service of the story itself.
Film #24 of Project 90
”Birthdays aren't important when you don't have a real identity.”
Action. No child play. No CGI. Pure, classic and true action. That’s what you’ll find in John Woo’s Hard Boiled. Add the glamorous look of neon lights, the craziness of Hong Kong mafia and the incredible power of jazz to the perfectly choreographed action scenes and then you’ll have a film which will push your adrenaline glands to the limits. John Woo is a master when it comes to creating poetic and aesthetically wonderful action scenes, just look at the way characters are moving around, the way camera follows them, the way bullets rip through the air, the way they ruin everything and most importantly…
Following several pictures focusing on the gangster side of crime and it's glamorisation, Hong Kong action supremo John Woo wanted Hard Boiled to be a story about cops, the other side of the fence, and sought to create a Chinese character comparable to the moody, intense yet charismatic Dirty Harry-esque characters portrayed in Hollywood by such luminaries as Clint Eastwood & Steve McQueen. He achieves that neatly in Chow Yun-Fat's indomitable Inspector 'Tequila' Yuen, creating almost instantly in him an action star who deserves to sit on a par with any number of Bullitt's or John McClane's - the tough, intense yet louche centre of an, indeed, hard boiled action spectacular which doubles as a meditation on being a lawman at…
This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Just diggin my WOO-hoo bullet spray ballet! You definitely get more BANG for your bucks with this Hardcore Thriller! I do believe the amount of ammo used in this film was enough to supply an entire army for a full-scale war!
Especially touched by the coochie coo moment with the baby! And when he said "You saved the day you little Piss-Pot I swear I was so taken aback by it you could of knocked me over with a feather! One arm cradling the baby the other shooting it out with the bad guys!
Two of my favorite stars Yun-Fat Chow and Anthony Wong were not only brilliant in this film they were so young!
A catalogue of every image, theme and move John Woo had made his own in the previous five years blow up to an extreme beyond even his usual outsized melodramatics. Written as it was been filmed (when Tony Leung amazing introduction was shot he was supposed to be an actual psychotic killer) it remain coherent and surprising emotional effective thanks to how focused Woo’s images are. The film is predicted in a motif of collateral damage, unlike The Killer there is always an innocent around ready to be shot and even our heroes can’t do nothing but occasionally hit the wrong target. A place of healing is turned into an war zone between a while inefficient government (who does more…
Such a great action film and I never noticed how great the cinematography was. I wish the transfer on my DVD was better but I really appreciated the was it was shot. John Woo should of never left China
You know what the Criterion Collection needs? More films like Hard Boiled.
The Doves is Angels
Bonkers crazy Chinese action. Like, shootout in a hospital while holding a newborn baby bonkers. All the bullets and explosions. Surprisingly good story too.
Audio commentary by director John Woo. Can't remember if this was the Criterion commentary or the Fox Lorber commentary.
Chow Yun-fat seems like a young, Asian Cary Grant in this ... although the cheesy dub might account for this.
Possibly the closest thing to Die Hard without actually being Die Hard.
Back from John Woo's diamond days before tackling the horror that is Hollywood, he was making films like this. Adrenaline fueled, gung ho, electrifying action.
More diving action than you see in an Olympic diving event and a pyrotechnic bill bigger than Kanye West's ego. This is the epitome of Asian blockbuster.
With Chow Yun Fat starring in front of the screen and John Woo working his magic behind it, there's not much that can go wrong here.
Between 1990 to 1992 Hollywood's B movie action cannon fired Passenger 57, Under Siege, Stone Cold, Double Impact and Universal Solider at its captive, unknowingly ignorant audience.
Now don't get me wrong, all of these flicks kick total ass, but when Tinsel Towns movie moguls witnessed the squib work, gun smoke, body count and all around explosive kinetic frenzy of blood soaked mayhem that Woo had created in the Hong Kong back lots they must have shit a big red brick.
Yun Fat is cool as fuck and Mad Dog is one of the greatest henchmen ever to grace the silver screen. Love it!
- Donnie Darko
- Morvern Callar
- Irma Vep
- Miami Blues
- Babe: Pig in the City
- Grand Illusion
- Seven Samurai
- The Lady Vanishes
- The 400 Blows
The entire Criterion collection organized by spine number.
I don't know why I did this.
Number I've Seen: 186/760 (24%)
- Citizen Kane
- 2001: A Space Odyssey
- Tokyo Story
- The Rules of the Game