Hard Boiled (1992)
Reviewed by: Arshadnm6 on 2005-04-10
Summary: Ultra Action, Death Defying Stunts and Super Choreography!!!
Chow Yun Fat and Tony Leung Chiu-Wai star in this ultra action-packed movie, with little emphasis on plot and plenty of emphasis on bullet-dodging galore. This is one of John Woo’s most renowned movies that he directed shortly after hitching a ride to Hollywood.

Chow Yun Fat stars ‘Tequila’, a Hard-Boiled Renegade Cop, whose sole duty is to catch the evil and notorious ‘Anthony Wong’, after his partner is killed in an extravagant shoot-out in a Chinese Tea House. The action-sequence alone in the Tea House is set at such a huge scale and very few movies in the present day can actually boast with such a display of chaos and dynamical camera-work. Later on his quest to arrest the illegal arms smuggler ‘Anthony Wong’, he meets up with triad assassin ‘Tony’ (Tony Leung) and at first mistakes him to be in collusion with ‘Anthony Wong’. Further into the movie ‘Tequila’ discovers that ‘Tony’ is in fact an undercover cop, surprisingly working for his Captain ‘Phillip Chan’ (whom you might recognize in previous movies, such as ‘The Tigers’ and ‘Winners and Sinners’). Finally they meet in a hospital for a climatic showdown that is not only breath taking, but has been set at such a grand scale, that no other HK movie has surpassed in many years. The last action sequence alone takes over at least 50% of the movie.

‘Philip Kwok’ (also action-directed this movie, as well as the French critically acclaimed ‘Brotherhood of the Wolf’ and Michelle Yeoh’s ‘The Touch’) also stars in this extravaganza as ‘Mad Dog’, a Loyal Triad Hitman, whose loyalty to ones Boss is more important than anything else, but also has notify-able principles, i.e. will not harm innocent people. The relationship between Philip Kwok and Anthony Wong is not fully explored, which doesn’t allow you to understand why Philip is so loyal to Anthony Wong, neither do we get any background history on either of their characters. What makes hard boiled a level above all the rest of the movies is efficiency to derive an excellent simplistic plot and have enough characters to accompany it, that at times character development and background history will be unnecessary.

Teresa Mo also stars in this movie as Tequila’s Girlfriend / Superior Officer whom really doesn’t get much screen-time apart from the occasional side actor / female lead role every now and again. This movie is really full of male testosterone, and John Woo proves once again that he is the rightful king of ‘Insane Blazing Two Gun Ultra Action’ with no-holds bared when it comes to law and enforcement. In one scene, Anthony Wong hilariously instructs his legion of triads to open fire on the surrounding (perhaps overwhelming, very carefully said) police force and automatically all his Triads pick up their M16, Automatic Rifles and Double-Barrel Guns and open fire at the police without even a single triad showing any resistance or remorse.

Overall this movie cannot get enough respect, yet the movie has some minute yet evident defects. One includes a basic plot, where no twists or double crosses occur and you can actually forget any romance between Chow Yun Fat and Teresa Mo (besides the fact you’d be quite brainless to look for any romance in a John Woo film) and character development is literally out of the roof. This is one movie that you will agree is quite unforgettable and deserves to be in the top 100 of the all time best HK Movies.

Overall Rating: 9.3/10
Reviewer Score: 9