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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 10%
Average: 2%
Pretty Bad: 1%
Total Crap: 4%

2 reviews, 88 user ratings

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Hard Boiled
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by Slyder

"Exhaustive but kick-ass"
5 stars

In his last film before he came to the US (and become a studio near-hack in the process), John Woo made another bid to do one better than his masterpiece The Killer. So once again, he teamed up with Chow Yun-Fat and Tony Leung Chiu-Wai (whom previously worked with Woo in Bullet in the Head) and brought out Hard Boiled, an action film in the truest sense of the word; full of guns, explosions and violence that at times overwhelms the actual story.

Bad-ass cop Geoff “Tequila” Yuen (Chow) gets burned pretty badly when a routine gun bust at a teahouse unravels into a huge gun-blazing mayhem which ends up killing the bad guys, a key bad guy and Tequila’s partner. Hell-bent on avenging his partner’s death, Tequila traces the dead gangsters to a gun-running organization run by evil boss Johnny Wong (Anthony Wong) and targets besides him Alan, one of the key gangsters in that organization, only to realize that Alan is actually Tony (Leung), an undercover cop that is dangerously hanging by a thread. The two form an uneasy alliance as they try to uncover Johnny’s gun arsenal as well as doing all they can to stay alive.

To start off, the plot is pretty much vintage John Woo, as the usual subjects of honor, loyalty and redemption are once again touched upon, only that this time a bit of a twist is played out with the character of Alan/Tony. Besides Geoff’s ruthless and violent determination being one of the focal points of the film, Tony seems to be most important character in the film, since he’s spend so much time acting like a bad guy that he doesn’t know anymore what side of the law he’s standing on. Any hack would’ve just gone through the motions with this character, but Tony Leung Chiu-Wai makes this role his own presenting him as a real conflicted human being with emotions of his own, making his character totally believable. Chow though matches Leung every step of the way with his dead-on portrayal of Tequila that draws resemblances to Clint Eastwood’s Harry Callahan.

The biggest standouts of the film is not surprisingly the action scenes, and believe me, there’s plenty to go around. As mentioned before, Woo wanted to one-up himself from his previous films in terms of action and violence and he does the job, crafting three impressive action scenes with the first one occurring in the teahouse (where Chow’s Tequila slides down the stairs firing off his guns, which is of course, a moment that will pass on to action movie hall of fame), a gun cache in what it looks like a Hong Kong container facility, and last but not least, the half-hour showdown in the hospital in which empty gun clips and shells and dead bodies pile up by the millisecond up to a point that it just becomes too overwhelming to watch. But Woo’s not done yet, as he presents us in this segment a scene where Tequila’s girlfriend Teresa (Teresa Chang) tries along with several SWAT cops to save as many newborn babies as they can, all climaxing when Tequila has to rescue a baby himself, spawning an irony about innocence in a trouble-torn world. This is probably the most original scene in the movie and possibly Woo’s finest directorial moment in this movie. To this day, I haven’t seen any other director who would’ve dared to imitate such a thing.

In the end, this film is a must for action fans anywhere. John Woo delivers in this film though at times there’s a bit too much icing on the cake. Despite this, it’s a film that like previous Woo flicks, put most of the action films released that year to shame. Too bad that when he went to America, Woo was prevented from his writing skills and given bad script after bad script (with the notable exception of Face/Off) to which he can do little and turn him into a near-hack. Though it’s been hailed as one of the best action films ever, it will also be remembered as the film that pretty much marked the end of an era. 4.5-5

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originally posted: 07/31/04 05:23:50
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User Comments

4/13/15 Trev29 hate this movie 1 stars
4/13/15 jokerass lol again 1 stars
4/13/15 jokerass lol 1 stars
2/20/15 Chris Jarmick Wild, over-the-top, innovative action from Woo at his best 4.5 5 stars
8/16/11 chris Die hard, mixed with a cop drama and one dose of Nitro Glycerin. 5 stars
7/08/09 Josie Cotton is a goddess One of the greatist action movies of all time! 5 stars
6/10/09 Janis Good movie. Say no to the dubtitles on the Dragon Dynasty DVD. 5 stars
1/08/09 Tequila If you don't give it 5 stars, you have bad taste and you should feel bad. 5 stars
8/28/08 Charles Tatum A stunner 5 stars
2/26/08 pkr there's something über-cool about this movie... 4 stars
10/05/07 Steel Plow The action NEVER stops! The ONLY "non-stop" action film. The KING of "shoot 'em up" films! 5 stars
6/11/07 al smith the best action movie ever will never be beaten 5 stars
5/25/07 Sugarfoot The pinnacle of Woo and CYF's career. Why oh why did they come to the U.S 5 stars
5/15/07 William Goss Awesome action, but man, that jazz soundtrack... 4 stars
12/13/05 cooler are you crazy.This movie kills all action movies 5 stars
12/05/05 Gene Carmean Interesting.. not great 5 stars
12/05/05 K. Sear A little too over the top for my tastes. 4 stars
11/25/05 CONSTANTINE AWESOME, SO OVER THE TOP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
10/16/05 cooler best fuckin action movie ever,puts hollywood to shame 5 stars
5/07/04 the bride Fuckin hell... 5 stars
5/05/04 dead next door oh i love these shootout.AMAZING. 5 stars
4/09/04 Daveman Unbelievably entertaining but not as good as True Colours of A Hero or The Killer. 4 stars
3/28/04 john one wouldn't know that Woo is a great director by watching his American movies 5 stars
7/03/03 Sammy ok i take back what i said because i'm an idiot 5 stars
6/22/03 InDenZ very slick, stylist action with high body count ...yeh 5 stars
6/20/03 Sammy good but not as good as The Killer 4 stars
5/29/03 nice guy eddie Super action sequences!! As long as you can put your brain on hold plotwise, you'll love it 4 stars
5/16/03 mr. Pink Could be Woo's best! The 'baby and the shootout' sceneis one of the best ever in actionfilm 5 stars
6/10/02 RUSSELL It has more on screen deaths then any other movie, god bless John Woo 5 stars
3/17/02 Jennifer A must for those with an IQ in the triple digits. Hint Hint! 5 stars
2/17/02 Clarance geez.... John ass.... a little more plot was needed for my taste 1 stars
1/29/02 Andrew Carden Other The n Yun-Fat-Chow's Performance, The Movie Is A Bland and Unexciting Movie. 3 stars
11/30/01 Rutt13 The best action I've ever seen. Woo is a god. 5 stars
11/26/01 David Horton Great Movie. Philip Kwok was Fantastic,thumbs up to you. 5 stars
10/09/01 Jon Slick, gun toting action with style to burn and humour to boot..... 5 stars
9/19/01 DeSeRt RaT UK "Give a guy a gun and he thinks he's superman, give him 2 and he thinks he's god" 5 stars
9/14/01 Jason I watched the movie again and again just to see the all the action again!! 5 stars
8/04/01 Kimble Yeah... Max Payne Movie ;-) 5 stars
7/28/01 Kelly Why have one gun when you can hold two? 5 stars
7/11/01 Boomshanka Everyone shuld see this flick. Fat is phat! 5 stars
6/26/01 Lars Pettersson Fucking great!!! Woo's next best film!!! Cool in every aspect ! 4 stars
5/07/01 Desert Eagle goooood 5 stars
1/23/01 Bruce Just amazing 5 stars
1/12/01 Skip The action/violence is SOOOO repetitive. I became numb to it, but worst of all bored. Sorry 2 stars
1/09/01 Jake With this film Woo proved he is the king of action 5 stars
1/01/01 Dan Orr Pure Madness!!! 5 stars
12/31/00 Msitrab Your head will be spinning at all the action 5 stars
12/29/00 Reverend Krule i so fuckin' love this movie 5 stars
11/23/00 Chris M. I'll never be able to watch a boring American action film again. 5 stars
9/28/00 Michael Grimm so much better than any other action film EVER!!! 5 stars
9/20/00 Jeff for flat-out action, this cannot be topped 5 stars
9/18/00 Greyjack One of the most bad-ass films ever made. 5 stars
9/14/00 PJ Matrix wishes it could have been nearly as brilliant as this Woo masterpiece, ULTRA COOL!!! 5 stars
9/14/00 Tomt Makes THe Matrix and Die Hard look like shit 5 stars
9/03/00 The Bomb 69 unbelievable!!! hollywood should bow to this shit!!! 5 stars
8/27/00 Pastor Angry Shane Z One word: Action. 5 stars
7/21/00 Aaron Best all round movie I've ever seen 5 stars
5/21/00 Cinesuerte A classic 5 stars
5/05/00 Tracy Grund Mindlessly entertaining fun! Hospital sequence rocks! B+ 4 stars
4/12/00 Power and Equality Subtitles sucked but the Movie itself is awesome 5 stars
4/09/00 Bruce An amazing action film the shootouts are just amazing 5 stars
1/09/00 unstrung hmm, not much to say except see this movie now 5 stars
1/07/00 Journeyman 'Not even his later american films can match this movie' ... thats a good one :) 5 stars
12/15/99 MPG YeahBaby!!! 5 stars
11/01/99 Weird Andy Bong Tao! 5 stars
10/09/99 Shishir Yerramilli beautiful,hypnotic,you forget that its violence 5 stars
10/06/99 Tommy Gard Subtitle translations were laughable, but great cartoon-like violence from Master Woo! 4 stars
9/25/99 Michael Grimm no one can do it better 5 stars
9/02/99 Elman shows that John Woo is the best !!! 5 stars
8/26/99 Azimat Action scenes are the GOD OF CLASSIC!!!but story could be better. 4 stars
8/01/99 Obi Wan Off Da Hook...I love John Woo....and if you don't know Woo's "BETTER" Flix...Ask somebody 5 stars
7/26/99 The Bomb 69 Hollywood needs to quit trying and just start watching Asian action flicks 5 stars
7/22/99 PhilmPhreak The best action flick, ever 5 stars
7/04/99 J-Dogg Screw the subtitles--you don't need to know what's going on to love this shit! 5 stars
5/27/99 GothamDK Woo at his best. High body count with high style! 5 stars
5/19/99 Lucas jackson this is one fucking fucking fucking great spectacular film 5 stars
4/26/99 Michael Grimm I had to rewind multiple times to understanfd completely. Unbelievable!! 5 stars
4/19/99 jimmy jam Yun-fat kicks Big fat-ass!!!! 5 stars
4/15/99 Jon Jackson Godamn it's HOT! 5 stars
3/20/99 the DUDE The greatest action movie next to Face Off GREAT-I give 9 to it 5 stars
1/26/99 donkey_dew Hard Boiled is THE BEST action movie of all time!!!!!! John Woo is a living legend!!!! 5 stars
1/23/99 Goofaloo This movie kicks all ass. Don't let the subtitles put you off, this is the greatest action. 5 stars
1/12/99 demon_shredder John Woo Kicks All Ass!!!!!!! 5 stars
12/15/98 Binky This film is fucking brilliant in every way. Jet Li is a superhero. 5 stars
10/29/98 Silent Rob What an action film SHOULD be. It actually demands thought, to follow all the turns! 5 stars
9/15/98 Johny Makes hollywood action films look like Power Rangers 5 stars
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  05-Apr-1993 (R)
  DVD: 24-Jul-2007



Directed by
  John Woo

Written by
  Barry Wong
  John Woo

  Yun-Fat Chow
  Tony Leung Chiu Wai
  Teresa mo
  Philip Chan
  Philip Kwok
  Anthony Wong

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