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…
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!
From the opening scene of the rain covered, neon lit streets of the city, superimposed over Chow Yun-Fat sweating, drinking a slammer and playing clarinet in a dark jazz club, we can see that this film matches its title perfectly. This is a Hard-Boiled police story in the grand tradition of Harry Callaghan, Popeye Doyle and Frank Bullitt. Everything is black and white, the hero does what needs to be done to save the day and the brass at City Hall don't like it they can swivel. In fact Chow Yun-Fat's character, Tequila Yuen, seems to contain every cop cliché there is: matchstick chewing renegade cop, putting himself in the mind of the killer, eating around dead bodies. That's okay…
My first impression of John Woo based on this film is that Woo’s incredibly interested in operatic nature of his characters. They assert a tough persona typically seen in many other films that follows the classical structure of the action crime genre (detective demoted after losing partner —> big shootout (in between the flirting of other people) happens—> rinse and repeat), but Hard Boiled brings a sense of elegance within the cartoonish violence that comes with it. All of its setpieces succeed because it is heavily and symbolically setup that in the film’s world of Hong Kong, firearms are illegal and that all of these resources are abundant. For instance, at the beginning, guns are hidden underneath birdcages in a…
That hospital scene ...
The climax in the Hospital: a great action scene or the greatest action scene?
Probably the most enjoyable of the John Woo gun films. The action sequences are insane. Tony Leung is a very good foil to Chow Yun Fat's generic badass honorable dual-wielding pistols cop. The climax of this movie is awesome.
What makes Hard Boiled great for me? Besides the usual action and Chow Fat and a slew of others, (Anthony Wong comes to mind) it's Tony Fucking Leung!!! Tony Leung brings this multi-layered emotional weight into the film. His performance is just flat out awesome.
Dat Jazz riff though.
35mm, Brattle Theatre
Worst (yet most amazing) hostage crisis rescue EVER.
The entire Criterion collection organized by spine number.
I don't know why I did this.
Number I've Seen: 194/776 (25%)