Thursday, July 14, 2011

365 Movies Day #107 "Hard Boiled"

"Hard Boiled" is the film that put John Woo on the map in the US. Shortly after this film he began making American films like "Hard Target" (doesn't stand up to the test of time), "Broken Arrow" (mixed reviews), "Face/Off" (In my opinion the best of his US films), "Mission Impossible 2" (the film that made Dougray Scott decline the role of Wolverine) and then total stinkers like "Windtalkers" and "Paycheck". Let's face it. Woo is just better when he is making badass HONG KONG films.

"Hard Boiled" is gritty. It was one of the first films I ever saw with such a high innocent bystander body count. The shootout in the teahouse and the one in the hospital are excellent examples. No one is safe when the bullets start flying. To quote imdb the film is about a tough-as-nails cop who teams up with an undercover agent to shut down a sinister mobster and his crew. Pretty straight forward. However, Woo handles action in this as only a master can. "Face/Off" came the closest of his US films to this kind of cool and even it fell short.

The film stars Chow Yun-Fat, who later got his American break in "The Replacement Killers" and has done so many US films since. I loved his performance in "Anna and the King". Not many people can compete with Yule Brenner for that role. And of course "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" as one of the only Asian blockbuster films in the states not featuring Bruce Lee.

Bottom line here, if John Woo just doesn't do it for you in the US with all of his doves and slow motion, then you definitely need to check out his Hong Kong cinema. If you like epic gun fights and tons of action, you won't be disappointed. Start with "Hard Boiled".


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