In our continuing series of 47 films to see before you are murdered in your dreams we present John Woo’s bullet ballet Hard Boiled.
The Killer is amazing. But perhaps Hard Boiled has it. I don’t know why and I might change my mind again, but watch both of them and Bullet in the Head and the Better Tomorrow films. Those are the films that make John Woo’s claim to film making glory. Of his US efforts, Hard Target is actually a semi-decent actioner. Broken Arrow has moments of wit. Face/Off adds Cage. But all of this is damning with feint praise compared to exhilerating lunacy of his Hong Kong period.
Hard Boiled stars Chow Yun-fat as Inspector “Tequila” Yuen, a clarinet playing toothpick chewing bad ass. Tony Leung is the unlikely named Alan, an undercover cop who’s been in too long with Johnny Wong, and his Triad pals. There’s a shoot out in a tea house, a shoot out in a warehouse and finally a shoot out in a hospital which just goes on and on, scaling every crazier heights of violence. None of it makes much sense and the occasional attempts at emotional depth have a cheesy quality to enjoy.
It’s the action you want. And that is exactly what is delivered. Chow Yun-fat is magnetic. And, as he says to a baby he rescues from the bullet strewn maternity war, ‘x-rated action’.