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Hard Boiled (2-Disc Ultimate Edition)
DVD disk
8 years ago By: Mathew Plale
Hard Boiled (2-Disc Ultimate Edition) order
Director:
John Woo

Actors:
Yun-Fat Chow
Tony Leung Chiu Wai
Kwok Choi

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
With the revenge of his partner on the force and jazz stage fresh on his mind, Tequila (Chow Yun-Fat) jumps in the middle of a war between two gangs of gun smugglers.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
“Give a guy a gun and he’s Superman. Give him two and he’s God.” That sums up both John Woo’s Hard Boiled and its immortal hero Tequila (Chow Yun-Fat). Chow Yun-Fat is graceful as the angel of death gliding down the staircase firing vengeance-filled bullets into the chests of his partner’s killers…and anyone who gets in the line. He is Astaire with ammo, Rogers with revolvers.

Hard Boiled is a feast for action-pervs, iced with the Woo trademarks you either love or hate: from the overabundance of slow-mo to the visual stimulant of raining blood. Woo doesn’t tell the most intriguing of stories, but the selling point lies in the showcase of non-stop carnage, which Hard Boiled wears like a badge of honor.

The most famous scene is the Maple Group Hospital sequence, a stunning cornucopia of violence and bloodshed strung together through manic choreography. Piled with newborns, surgeons, hostages, and baddies, the building is covered with bullets and bodies until it explodes into a towering inferno. The shining moment in the dark half-hour is the two minutes and 42 seconds single shot, a stellar accomplishment with the handheld camera.

A special mention to the film’s body count should be noted. According to website www.moviebodycounts.com, Hard Boiled frantically dishes out 307 bodies (third highest in cinema history) with 146 in the hospital sequence alone (which is three less than the entirety of Woo’s most famous work, The Killer). Chow Yun-Fat holds the highest kill count in the film with 77—as a character notes, “The man who holds the gun wins.”

The film is essential, holding an invincible legacy amongst current and upcoming action directors. Movies like Michael Mann’s Heat and the Wachowski’s The Matrix owe their success and superb shootouts to Woo’s film.

John Woo’s Hard Boiled is a rare film; thin plot (and Lionel Ritchie renditions) aside, it’s the thick action that deserves recognition. Home to some of the most well-choreographed action sequences ever shot, Hard Boiled basks in its blitz, firing enough bullets to make The Wild Bunch look like a duel.
THE EXTRAS
Feature Length Audio Commentary by Hong Kong Cinema Expert Bey Logan: Logan is energetic, never slowing down for a breath. He gives a barrel-full of tidbits, spouting them out at rapid-fire pace. Worth a listen, though Woo enthusiasts may skip around.

A Baptism of Fire: A Featurette with Iconic Director John Woo (38:20): This lengthy sit-down with Woo is an insightful look into his influences, fondness for his actors, and stories of production. A must-watch.

Interview Gallery: There are three here: first up is Producer Terence Chang (24:57), followed by Co-Star Philip Chan (15:56) and Leading Villain Kwok Choi (25:03). Watching the trio in a row is a bit exhausting, but if spaced out, can be a joy to watch.

The Location Guide (8:49) takes us on an informative tour of Hong Kong to feature locales from the action-packed film. From the teahouse (now a mall) and library to the harbor and infamous hospital (now a Coca-Cola factory), it’s interesting to see what the buildings look like 15 years later.

Trailers and a Making of ‘Stranglehold’ round out this two-discer.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Alright you blood-thirsty guys aged 15-35, go buy this movie right now! Hard Boiled is the Asian action movie that never offers a dull moment. And with great features on top, this Two-Disc Ultimate Edition is a must-own.
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