Retro-Movie of the Month: HARD BOILED (1992)
Hard Boiled is directed by legendary Hong Kong action director John Woo (The Killer) and starring Chow Yun Fat (Crouching Tiger Green Dragon, Replacement Killers). The 1992 film is John Woo’s last adventure in Hong Kong Cinema before he made the voyage overseas into America
Hard Boiled is directed by legendary Hong Kong action director John Woo (The Killer) and starring Chow Yun Fat (Crouching Tiger Green Dragon, Replacement Killers). The 1992 film is John Woo’s last adventure in Hong Kong Cinema before he made the voyage overseas into America to begin a hit or miss , sometimes bland, run in Hollywood with films like the Replacement Killers, Face Off, Broken Arrow and then directing more serious films like the war film Windtalkers.
The film starts off racing with an over the top gunfight in a seedy club between Hong Kong Police and illegal arms dealers that involves multiple spent shells flying across the screen, dual-wielding pistol body slides down staircases and friggin’ cigarette butts. After all it is a John Woo film.
John Woo started production on this film as a response to negative critiques of his previous films like The Killer and A Better Tomorrow glamorizing criminal and gangster lifestyles. This time Woo intentionally made a film that would glamorize the police instead. The main protagonist of Det. Tequila was inspired by Dirty Harry and Steve McQueen’s character in BULLIT. Tequila is a cynical, saxophone playing take no nonsense shoot first ask questions later type of anti-hero. Originally Tequila was written to be investigating a series of child murders committed by a serial killer poisoning baby formula and food. However, they changed the plot to appeal to more foreign audiences (the U.S.). Now Tequila is working closely with an undercover cop posing as a Triad member to take down a ruthless gang boss played by Anthony Wong (Young & Dangerous, Infernal Affairs, IP Man: Final Fight).
The runtime is about two hours and thirty eight minutes. My review is simple – It’s good, it’s a classic.
It is a perfect movie night feature to snuggle in front of with your favorite pillow, a cold blanket, an icy beer and a lukewarm partner. Over two hours of cigarette smoking, pigeon feathered, slow chilled, jazz infused crime thriller showcasing one of Chow Yun Fat’s best performances and a reminder of how great and influential Hong Kong Action cinema and Hong Kong Action cinema more specifically was for just a short couple of decades. Good times, long ago, back in the days.
Stay fresh. Stay sleazy. Stay cool and keep that finger of the rewind button.