Hard Boiled John Woo

Hard Boiled John Woo

The re-release of this legendary Hong Kong "heroic bloodshed” action film is bolstered, however unknowingly, by the recent arrival of Hot Fuzz. You see, while Point Break and Bad Boys II get all the "credit” in that unquestionably great film, if you see a guy diving through mid-air in slow-motion, guns blazing in both hands, it’s not because of Bay or the Wachowskis or whoever, it’s because of one man: John Woo. Well, maybe two — add Chow Yun Fat, Woo’s angel of death. And nobody does it better. Sure, Woo hasn’t had the greatest run in North America (Paycheck? Yikes!) but as a Hong Kong action pioneer, he’s legend, creating such masterpieces as The Killer, A Better Tomorrow (particularity two) and, of course, Hard Boiled. His last Hong Kong kill-crazy rampage before his coming to America, Hard Boiled is a classic of carnage that influenced the Infernal Affairs series and, by extension, Scorsese’s recent masterwork, The Departed. A relatively straightforward tale — Fat’s "hard boiled” Tequila is a cop trying to take down the Triads, while Tony Leung’s Allan is an undercover operative attempting the same feat — Hard Boiled excels in its hyper-stylised gunplay, absurd body count and Woo’s willingness to risk the lives of his leads. Although Woo initially pitched it as a more realistic cop film, he can’t help himself from trying to top his earlier work, which leads to the excessive body count and over the top (to understate it) hospital shootout at the end of the film. As well, there’s a two-and-a-half-minute-plus long single take of carnage and bonding that’s a must-see. The extras on this double-disc set are impressive, featuring an in-depth interview with Woo, as well as an incredibly detailed and informative commentary from Hong Kong cinema expert Bey Logan. True, the meal is light on (Chow Yun) Fat, but it’s still a filling one. (Alliance Atlantis)