Saturday, August 11, 2007

Hard Boiled (Hong Kong 1992)

While the story of an undercover cop that's in deep with the bad guys has been told many times before, Hard Boiled (辣手神探) is an as-good-as-it-gets action movie from director John Woo. The three main stars are Chow Yun-Fat as Tequila, a cop known for not following the rules; Anthony Wong as Johnny, an arms smuggler; and Tony Leung Chiu Wai as Tony, an assassin who isn't all he appears to be. Other supporting characters are Teresa Mo, as Teresa Chung, Tequila's superior officer and girlfriend; Phillip Chan as Pang, Tequila's boss; Wai Sun-Lam as Johnny's #1 guy; and even John Woo himself makes an appearance as a bartender/confidant of Tequila's.

Woo wastes no time getting the action started as Tequila loses his partner in a well-done tea house shootout, which leaves him bent on getting revenge on Johnny and his men. Johnny's competition in the arms business is Mr. Hoi; Tony's boss. Johnny arranges a raid in Mr. Hoi's arsenal and convinces Tony to kill Mr. Hoi and to come work for him. Tequila learns of the raid and shows up. It's there that he learns there is more to Tony than meets the eye. He confronts Pang, but Pang refuses to answer any of his questions. This leaves Tequila to finding Tony for himself. Tony and Tequila form an alliance in order to take Johnny down. Little Ko, an employee of Johnny's, is found to be an informant for the police and is beaten and shot by Johnny's men. He does find out where Johnny's arsenal is and tells Tequila that it's at Maple Group Hospital, where Tequila then takes him. Unfortunately, Johnny doesn't completely trust Tony yet and sends more men, including his #1, to make sure the job gets done. This is where the action really picks up and you get about 35 minutes of pure chaos with bullets are flying everywhere, explosions going off left and right, and a lot of fun!

One of the aspects of Hard Boiled that I really liked was the twist on Tony Leung's character. It wasn't until an hour into the movie that it was revealed and I felt that it added a lot to the story and made it that much better. In between the action scenes, the dialogue at times wasn't the best and the music is cheesy, however, the action scenes more than make up for these short-comings. The acting is as good as expected from Chow Yun-Fat and Anthony Wong, but it was Tony Leung's performance that especially stood out for me. He was a very cool and calculated killer when he had to be, but was obviously not at ease with it and Leung did an excellent job portraying that. With not much dialogue, Wai-Sun Lam also stood out as a fierce and brutal killer.

It's really no wonder that Hard Boiled is considered a classic in the world of Hong Kong cinema. (TheIceQueen)

No comments: