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The Film
Hard Boiled

Its Origin
Hong Kong

Running Time
128 mins

Genre(s)
Gunplay
Triad-Cop

Director(s)
John Woo

Stars
Chow Yun Fat
Tony Leung Chiu Wai
Anthony Wong
Teresa Mo

DVD Distributor
Mei Ah

DVD Origin
Hong Kong

Region Code
All

DVD Format
NTSC

Audio Tracks
Cantonese DD 5.1, DTS, DD 2.0
Mandarin DD 5.1


Subtitles
Chinese, English

Screen Format
Anamorphic Widescreen

Special Info
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Film rating:

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Hard Boiled


Film Review

There are very few people who are into Hong Kong cinema, or even just modern gun fighting action films, who have not heard of and seen John Woo's Hard Boiled. If ever there was a film that deserved a big in depth review, this is it. While I still absolutely loved the film, I'm not going to give it that review, as they have been done to death - in far more detail and depth than I could manage - on many other sites.

Chow Yun Fat and John Woo... together. When those two are involved in the same film you are almost certain of a quality result. The both seem to know what the other is looking for, and their style and personalities (as far as the finished product goes) seem to compliment each other, delivering the best you can possibly get. I believe this is, to date, the highlight of their collaborative work. Others would say it is The Killer, as it has lots of violent gunplay and possibly a better story, but I say "Pah!!!" to that! I'm in it for nothing but the unadulterated, pure, violent action.

Anyway, what story there is here goes something like this: Inspector Yuen (Chow Yun Fat) swears to sweep out the gangsters and sometimes breaks the rules in his furious drive to see justice done. An undercover cop Tony (Leung Chiu Wai) has the same mission to fight an uphill war against the triads. He painstakingly plays notorious games in order to show faith to the underworld. Finally the two cops, both dedicated to the same ends but have different working styles, have to join forces in their ultimate battle against their maniac enemies.

Now the action... I'm not going to do a summary of all the different action scenes in the film, as that is pointless, as writing and words could never adequately describe the frenetic gunplay and action that you see on the screen. What I will say though is that in most action films there is mild action throughout, with some set pieces being slightly larger in scale than others and then there is the one big action sequence, which is the main action highlight of the film. This is not the case with Hard Boiled. Every one of the many big action set pieces is of as large a scale in quality and action as most other films' main event. Guns are fired incessantly, people are killed left, right and centre all the time (don't even try to keep track of the body count, you'll run out of fingers way too quickly), explosion bombard the sense, lights flash and people dive around trying to keep themselves alive. And throughout it all one thing is a certainty - Chow Yun Fat looks damn cool doing it!

It is not often that you can say Tony Leung Chiu Wai is upstaged in a film, but he certainly is here. Granted drama is most probably his forte, but action appears to Chow Yun Fat's. He is fearless in taking on tens or hundreds of bad guy drones, and the cool and charisma that oozes from him while he does it is enviable! The amount of bad guy drones that are killed in the film does make me question some elements, though. Just how big is the bad guy's organisation that he can seemingly have limitless drones to help him out? After all the massacres that take place early on in the film, why would any of the bad guy drones stay? I know, loyalty and honour among thieves and all that, but still, I'd certainly put my life as a higher priority!

Anyway, Hard Boiled is the bullet ballet, gunplay fans' wet dream of a film. You simply will not see more gun fighting violence, with action choreography as good as this any time soon.

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All review content copyrighted © (2003-2009) Kris Wojciechowski

Hard Boiled
Fist Of Legend
2000 AD