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Hard Boiled

Reviewed By Chris Parry
Posted 09/16/98 20:38:40

"Hollywood can't hold a bag of shit to this rollercoaster ride."
5 stars (Awesome)

If you don't know John Woo as the director of anything other than Face/Off and Broken Arrow, you'd be excused for thinking the guy's a hack.

Stylish? Sure. Action-packed? Okay. But a hack, all the same.

But what you've missed is some 25 years of Hong Kong action flicks that have brought Woo to the point where he is considered by many to be the ultimate action director.

Hard Boiled (also known as 'Hot-Handed God of Cops', 'Ruthless Super-Cop' and by it's original Cantonese title - 'Lashou Shentan') is the top of the genre. Ultra-violent, jam-packed with action and not unhumorous, it also showcases the wares of Chow Yun-Fat - one of the three biggest names of Asian action film alongside Jackie Chan and Jet Li.

The deal is this. Gangsters are smuggling guns into Hong Kong. A cop called Tequila (Yun-Fat) is involved at a raid at a teahouse where everything goes awry and his partner is shot dead. Tequila is a super cop, but his boss is a little pissy at his "maverick" ways and blames Tequila for his partner's death.

As two rival gangs battle for superiority in the underworld, they both vie for the services of a tough guy assassin, Tony, a man who Tequila is determined to hunt down, only to find later he's actually an undercover cop. Together these 'enemies' must trust each other and stop the bad guys from blowing up a hospital filled with hostages.

Hard Boiled is packed full of superb camera-work, oodles of cool, some damn fine stunts and a not too over the top storyline. The final half of the movie is one loooooong action sequence that at times makes you want to stop the film, walk out and catch your breath.

I'm no fan of action movies, a genre that Hollywood has forgotten how to do properly (if it ever really knew), but this movie kicks all ass. It's a shame that John Woo, a director who could put 99% of US directors to shame, is now wedged in the studio system of Hollywood and sure to be melded into just another one in the pack of hack, try-hard, 'treat the audience like shit' directors we're usually subjected to.

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