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|Index||237 reviews in total|
82 out of 95 people found the following review useful:
"Give the guy a gun and he's superman, give him two and he's God.", 25 August 2003
Author: Backlash007 from Kentucky
Chow Yun Fat, toothpick in mouth, a gun in each hand. That's all of the plot you need to know. Hard Boiled was my first John Woo movie and, in my opinion, his best. No other action movie comes close to this. In fact, this is THE best pure action epic ever filmed. Upon viewing it, I immediately fell in love with Woo's style and his star. It's full of the most stylized gunfights ever seen and Chow Yun Fat is the definition of cool. The full blown finale defies description. Someone once called it an action fan's wet dream. There's not much more I can say because actions speak louder than words. So go see the movie.
59 out of 66 people found the following review useful:
Brilliant, 7 April 2007
Author: Mike Keating (firstname.lastname@example.org) from London, England
"Hey!" Chow Yun Fat says, covering a baby's eyes. "X-Rated action!"
He's not wrong: Hard Boiled is a film clearly not afraid to embrace its
genre's excesses. While most modern action films (Smokin' Aces for one)
aspire to some sort of grand intelligence while providing shoot-outs
and explosions, this film is a reminder of times when action films
suffered no such pretensions.
Crowds of people are gunned down without explanation and the smallest things explode for little or no reason. The bad guys are massively exaggerated cutthroat caricatures and the good guys never miss. Scenes of Fat and Leung running down corridors are inexplicably shot in slow motion. And, for all of these reasons, it is amazing. It's fast, it's exciting, and it never lets up.
Hard Boiled is loud, exciting, and, thanks to quite terrible dubbing and a ludicrous early 90's soundtrack, often unintentionally hilarious. It is a film that places entertainment firmly ahead of plausibility and logic, and is quite frankly awesome for it.
56 out of 71 people found the following review useful:
the gunplay fanatic's dream, and that's enough, 9 April 2004
Author: red_core from Silicon Valley, CA
If you're the average IMDB reader, you probably enjoy a good action movie
every now and then, but you approach action films with a certain caution
skepticism (I can't blame you, even though I am an action junkie myself).
you're that kind of viewer, the score I would give (for you) for
is a 6.5. To you, this is a prototypical "good" action movie -- intense,
perfectly executed, original action, shown to the tune of a forgettable
occasionally insulting story.
To action junkies, this movie is an easy 9, because the only thing that really matters is that the action is superb and the other elements, if not stellar, don't detract enough from the action to really make a difference.
Splitting the difference, we get an 8/10 -- an outstanding score.
Hard-boiled is the ultimate John Woo / Chow-Yun Fat collaboration. Chow plays an uncompromising Hong-Kong cop who "works" together with an undercover cop (an EXCELLENT Tony Leung) in the triad gun-running organization. Now, when I say "works," I mean "launches thousands of bullets, slugs, and explosive projectiles into HUNDREDS of mafioso baddies." This film has a RIDICULOUS amount of gunplay. Pretty much everyone you see on screen dies at some point. Those that don't die often come perilously close to dying, before getting up and moving on as if nothing had happened. The gunmen in this film have magical powers that enable them to fire about 100 rounds from a Beretta clip without having to reload. And the top good guys seem only vaguely concerned about the loss of innocent life -- at a teahouse, or a large hospital -- except for tiny baby life, of course -- as long as they get to kill the top triad guy. And the story... well... not incoherent, but completely implausible at many points.
Realistic? NO. Is the story good? NO. Is this relevant? Not particularly. You see, one watches a John Woo movie for two things: Strong lead characters; strong lead characters shooting their way to success in surreally choreographed gunplay scenes. "But what if I don't want to watch a movie just for that?" Well, this one forces you to! If you can stand action at all, you'll be glued to the screen the entire time. Chow is a good actor, and Tony Leung is probably even better here -- they make the obligatory story sequences compelling, and when they start firing their weapons, you can't take your eyes away. Slow-motion highlights bullets, explosions, and plaster and sparks flying every which way, even as the actors and stunt men acrobatically move through the air while evading enemy fire. It's a little hard to describe how great this really is, so you just have to take my word for it. Suffice it to say that no one does gunplay like Woo, although everyone and their mother tries. (James Cameron's technique with heavy weapons and muscular guys is the other way to do gunplay, and is great in its own, more limited right.) If you're a fan of Face/Off, an American John Woo movie that actually does not suck, you know what to expect -- but multiply that by 100.
The story and realism are not good, but this makes no difference. Suspend disbelief, and go with the flow, and you're treated to prime-quality action. There ARE however, elements of this film that drag it down quite a bit. Most of them, to me, concern Woo's depictions of violence. It's obvious the man revels in blood. Several times, you see blood spurt copiously and unnaturally -- onto a wall, a desk, even a man's or baby's face. While the action is generally frantic and quick, these shots are slow, deliberate, and in-your-face. Why? To cater to our basest instincts, like a cheap slasher film. With action scenes and character acting done so well, it's embarrassing to watch such gratuitous gore added into the mix. But that's not all! The script's "good" characters are not morally corrupt: You can see them actively trying to avoid other cops or innocent bystanders. This is superficial. The characters aren't corrupt; the final script is. At least 50 innocent people, including patients at a hospital, die violently. The film doesn't display this as a horrific event, but rather as part of the scenery, cannon fodder; the film even gets pretty despicable amusement from this, particularly in one scene involving a baby (don't worry! the baby is not hurt).
Technically speaking, the movie is perfect. Aesthetically speaking, the same is true, with the exception of the music, which is extremely cheesy at times (the sax that suddenly kicks in during "emotional" moments is unbearable -- is that some kind of HK movie thing, or what?).
Such negatives are distracting. Your ability to ignore such distractions will ultimately determine if you give this a 5 or a 9. Were it a little more humane, I'd give it a 9. As it stands, I give it: 8/10.
41 out of 44 people found the following review useful:
Puts most action movies to shame., 3 December 2007
Author: del91 from Penang, Malaysia / Chicago, USA
When someone mentions, "action movie", the first thing that gets in
their minds is guns, fighting, blood, and so on. The people who they
instantly think are the likes of Schwarzenegger, Stallone, Willis, even
the hammy Seagal, Snipes and Van Damme! Not until recently, I found
myself confused about which action movie is the greatest. For me, the
ultimate action hero is Arnold Schwarzenegger, but I cannot seem to
find a perfect action movie.
Until I began checking up films of John Woo, and stumbled upon this baby...
Only a handful of action movies can compare to this, but most fail to be better. This movie IS the epitome of an action movie, it has never-ending thrill-a-minute stylish action sequences that just make your jaw drop in amazement. It has a body count that can be compared to most epic movies, and it has an excellent atmosphere to further enhance the story. The action sequences are a combination of outrageous, unreal and cool at the same time.
The story is weak, but not very. It provides the basis for the action to unfold. And boy, when it does, you'll have a blast! I mean, they took the premise of a basic cops and robbers tale and highly jazzed it up somehow to deliver this truly authentic and unique piece of movie making. This is not just a movie which action fans alone should see, this movie deserves to be sought and recognized by other highly-ranked film critics.
The director, John Woo, ups the ante on this one. After glorifying the gangsters in his "Better Tomorrow" movies and "The Killer" (which almost is as good as Hard Boiled), he decides to glorify the cops, and he does that, but with bigger elements. He doesn't show realism and humanism in this film, because he wanted to emphasize and slightly exaggerate on how big the elements can go. The criminals would kill lots of innocent people to complete their nefarious deeds, and the violence is hyper-stylized to the point where it becomes necessary to subdue the criminals using that technique. He combines unique Chinese Opera dancing techniques and dramatic shootouts to create stylistically significant and exhilarating gunfights for the eyes and ears to behold. The pace is hyper kinetic as Woo relentlessly dishes out whatever tricks he has up his sleeve, much to our delight.
Chow Yun-Fat's status as an action hero is immortalized here in his performance as super cop Tequila, who dodges bullets and shoot crooks while cooing a baby to sleep and covering his eyes from the ensuing violence. This scene also signifies the violence in Hong Kong back in the days, but highly stylized to create a superb action experience. Tony Leung is also splendid as the disillusioned undercover cop, who seeks to regain his humanity and reputation. The rest of the cast gave good performances, with kudos to Anthony Wong as the sadistic villain who will do anything to get what he wants (fully exampled during the film's climax), and Cheng Jue-Luh as one of the most badassed villains ever, Mad Dog.
The atmosphere of the movie further improves its credibility. John Woo's interests are shown through Tequila's passion of jazz and the beautiful and dark cinematography of Hong Kong, which, when combined together, gives an effect that signifies two different worlds, that is, the life of a cop and the life of a criminal. Also, the music score by Michael Gibbs is great, with a perfect melodramatic jazz score during dramatic scenes, and to pumping synthesizers, gritty and haunting scores during the majority of the action sequences. All of these add up to the amazing elements of the movie to make it even better.
Overall, I cannot think of any other action movie than this. This is THE action movie for film-goers, critics, and action junkies alike. This perfectly shot ballet of blood and bullets is an example of how great and reliable Asian movies can be, when we are finally tired of cliché elements from Hollywood. Mr. Woo, Your Midas Touch has its full effect here. This movie is one of the greatest action movies ever made. And I will stand by that decision for as long as I live.
A must see.
47 out of 61 people found the following review useful:
AWESOME, 1 August 2001
This is one of my favorite movies of all time. No movie has ever had this
level of stylishly directed action, NOT EVEN CLOSE. This movie has the 3
best action sequences in the history of cinema, PERIOD.
The story is about a cop named Tequila who, at the beginning of the film, loses his good friend and fellow cop, in a teahouse shoot-out. He goes against all orders in trying to bring down the Triad that caused his friends death. In doing so, he inadvertantly finds out that there is an undercover cop, Tony, in the Triad he is trying to bring down, and eventually teams up with him.
This isn't your standard buddy cop fair like Lethal Weapon with tons of cheesey lines, dorky action and sappy side stories. The dialogue is insightful the action is the best ever and the side stories are well thought out, if a bit abbreviated (due to lack of time to shoot John Woo admits).
Tequila is trying to deal with a failed relationship and the death of his partner, Tony is torn against blowing his cover and defending his honor and the Lieutenant insists on playing it by the book even though it isn't fair.
John Woo said he made this film in honor of the men and women of the Hong Kong police force and the good work they do. He wanted to make a movie about the good guys winning. What he has done is made one of the most pivitol action films ever made, influencing every action movie since.
43 out of 61 people found the following review useful:
The mother, father, brother, and third cousin of all action films., 12 April 2000
Author: CurtisG-3 (email@example.com) from Costa Mesa, CA
So what if Chow Yun Fat fires a hundred rounds apiece from his pistols without reloading? Who cares whether shotgun rounds explode when they impact? Hard Boiled isn't about the reality, it's about the action--which is so over-the-top that reality takes a back seat. HB is like Tequila's toothpick: It's all about the Cool.
30 out of 39 people found the following review useful:
Relentless and explosive, 10 July 2004
Author: BroadswordCallinDannyBoy from Boston, MA
An action film at heart. The story of gun smuggling is just a backing
just big enough to support the relentless action scenes.
Motorcycles exploding in mid-air, cars blowing up, shotguns, pistols, submachine guns, bombs...it's all here.
They all make for some of the best action sequences ever filmed. A good mix of the gritty and realistic with the improbable and totally fake. Though I think that the ending is bit too much. But what can you expect from Woo aside from a molotov cocktail of intense explosive action and violence?
Action and cult movie fans are advised to watch this film, however others might be turned off by it. 7/10
Rated R: intense strong violence
22 out of 25 people found the following review useful:
Truly mind-blowing action flick., 26 June 2001
Author: HumanoidOfFlesh from Chyby, Poland
Director John Woo has a powerful and explosive style that will leave you breathless after watching this extremely violent action flick.The camera is everywhere flying from place to place.And there are people everywhere.All of them firing a gun or two.I have never seen such energy before.The violence in "Hardboiled" is very brutal and well directed.The last half hour of this film,which take place in the hospital is full of inventive action sequences.Chow Yun-Fat is really good as a tough policeman and it's also very nice to see Anthony Wong("Bunman:Human Meat Pies","Dr Lamb","Bullet in the Head")-what a great performance!I like Hong Kong-action films by John Woo.Anyway, if you're tired of Hollywood's action trash,then this one is a must-see.Recommended!
20 out of 25 people found the following review useful:
Classic Hong Kong action film, 29 October 2001
Author: bob the moo
Ever since John Woo came to America he seems to have lost the ability to
crack the stylish violence up to 10. Only Face/Off has really come close to
the type of style that he displayed in Hong Kong - Hard Boiled being a
Hard Boiled sees cop "Tequila" Yuen (Chow Yun Fat) lose his partner in a violent shoot out in a tea-house and aims to bring revenge on the gangs causing chaos on the streets. During the film he come across a deadly assassin Tony (Tony Leung) who may or may not be an undercover police officer.
The film's plot is pretty good considering with several double crosses, good twists and the bonding relationship of Leung and Fat. However this is all about the action scenes and these are spectacular. Full of highly stylish violence, double handed gunplay and exciting near misses. Fat and Leung are both excellent in their roles but the stars here are the action scenes.
The only problem with this is that it is very violent and may be a turn off for some. That said if you're watching a John Woo Hong Kong film then you're probably not that bothered about a bit of stylish killing.
20 out of 25 people found the following review useful:
"Mr. Action" Delivers Again, 29 December 2000
Author: jhclues from Salem, Oregon
Master of Action John Woo delivers once again with his hard-hitting, action-packed thriller `Hard Boiled,' starring Chow Yun-Fat as a veteran cop known as `Tequila,' Hong Kong's answer to San Francisco's own `Dirty Harry.' In this one, an undercover officer infiltrates a gangland Triad dealing arms, and when a rival gang threatens to take over, Tequila joins in the melee, and once it begins the action never stops until the last of the credits have rolled off into the recesses of the darkened screen. Along the way there are tests of loyalty, mistaken identities and a staggering display of superbly choreographed violence. There's a couple of plot twists, but it's a rather straightforward story, and as usual, Woo melds it with the action with his trademark style and perfection. The action sequences are incredibly well staged and delivered, but so exceedingly violent that it passes beyond reality at times (especially during the climax) into a somewhat surreal state of being, only to be ultimately drawn back in again by the grounded core of the story. It's a fine line that Woo treads successfully time after time in an arena in which many other `action' directors have foundered. A consummate professional, Woo knows exactly what he wants and what works, and he doesn't quit until he gets it. Among the directors of the `action' genre, he is quite simply the best there has ever been. As the somewhat jaded and `hard Boiled' cop, the charismatic Chow Yun-Fat demonstrates that if Jackie Chan can team up with Chris Tucker, he most certainly could find a place at Eastwood or Gibson's side. He has the attitude and the look that make his character credible, which helps anchor Woo's art in reality, albeit a rather violent one. As with the `Dirty Harry' or `Lethal Weapon' movies, it gives the audience someone to whom they can relate and root for. And it's all buoyed with symbolism and metaphor and Woo's impeccable sense of timing and deft and sparing use of slow motion, which in his hands becomes an extremely effective tool. The supporting cast includes Tony Leung Chiu Wai (Alan),Teresa Mo (Teresa Chang), Philip Chan (Superintendent Pang), Hoi-Shan Kwan (Mr. Hui) and Philip Kwok (Mad Dog). The true brilliance of Woo's films lies in the fact that he never sacrifices story for action, but instead blends the two together to create a whole that is artistically rendered (his action sequences are something akin to visual poetry) and substantial, rather than having an action film that-- like so many others of the genre-- is hollow inside. Like his earlier film, `The Killer,' which also starred Yun-Fat, `Hard Boiled' pushes the envelope and will keep you on the edge, right along with the characters in the film, right until the very end. As with all of Woo's movies, this one is a satisfying foray into the intense, cutting edge `Action' world of one of Cinema's Master directors, and a must-see for any true film buff. I rate this one 9/10.
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