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: la4 shou3 shen2 tan4 (1992)

Hard Boiled (1992)

Review written by: Dragyn, 2001-02-22

"Hard Boiled" is John Woo's attempt to prove to the American movie moguls that he can make action USA-style as well as HK-style. And this movie is perfect proof; but cold, heartless, soulless proof it is. It is an action-packed movie with a 30 minute long finale with has 250+ body-count and a huge explosion, and features Chow Yun-Fat swearing a lot and running around in slo-mo with two guns blazing. What more could an action movie aficionado want? Soul, that's what. Throughout the movie, John Woo seems to be almost absent without leave. For the majority of the John Woo/Chow Yun-Fat collaborations, John woo has stood in the spotlight; he and his camera have taken centre stage, and stolen the limelight from Chow Yun-Fat and co. In "Hard Boiled", we see John Woo take a step backwards for the first time, and leave the spotlight for the action, which is the true star of this movie. Oh, and what action...the first twenty-minutes and the last half-hour of the movie are worth submission price alone, being made up solely of solid action: Chow Yun-Fat takes centre-stage, with machine guns blazing and face sneering. The middle of the movie is peppered with tense show-downs, huge explosions, armies of bad guys, and gunfights. Never before has John Woo used violence that counts for so little; it is, for the first time, violence that is completely and utterly brainless, adding nothing to character or plot development or emotional impact: it is violence that exists for the sake of violence alone. And there's nothing wrong with that, if you are prepared to turn off your brain and enjoy the mindless bloodshed. It is, however, strangely sad to note the amount of popularity "Hard Boiled" has enjoyed in America in comparison to, say, "The Killer" or "A Better Tomorrow", which both have far more emotional content. I give "Hard Boiled" 10/10 for action, and 4/10 for everything else. Sit back, grab a beer, switch off your barin, and get ready for a wild ride.







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