‘Hard Boiled’ is the 1992 film directed by John Woo. Screenwriters were John Woo and Barry Wong.
Tequila Yuen (Chow Yun Fat) is a detective with an attitude problem. He’s a wildcard used to doing things his way. Superintendent Pang (Philip Chan) barely has him under control. Tequila’s a good man and hardworking cop but he’s reckless.
Detective Teresa Chang (Teresa Mo) is Tequila’s long suffering girlfriend. Their on and off relationship drove her crazy. Teresa recently cleared all traces of him from her apt. The latest break-up is the source of tense between them. When she becomes infatuated with the mystery informant sending her flowers, Tequila sees red. She definitely enjoys making him jealous.
Every day for Tony aka Alan Kong Leung (Tony Leung) is a high wire act. He’s a deep undercover cop working as a mob hit man. The assignment is affecting him though he buries his emotions. One outward sign of remorse are paper cranes. They’re difficult to create. It’s a form of punishment and visual reminder of the number of people he’s killed.
Johnny Wong (Anthony Wong) is the man who brings them together. Wong is a crime boss who wants the entire city for himself. He hires Tony to take out the competition. As a show of loyalty, Wong has Tony betray his boss Mr. Hoi (Kwan Hoi-Shan). This allows Wong to take Hoi’s territory, warehouses and businesses.
Tequila declares war on Wong. He’s responsible for the rise of gangland violence. Tony sends coded messages to the police. All of which are sent to Teresa who decodes them for Pang and Tequila. When expert marksman Tony doesn’t kill him despite several chances, Tequila knows something is up.
Pang is forced to tell Tequila the truth to prevent him from killing Tony. Tequila later confronts Tony on his houseboat. They agree to team up and bring Wong down.
The good: All the two handed gunfights, machine gun action and explosions you can stand. More people died in the first action sequence than in some director’s entire film. Haven’t looked at birdcages the same way since. It’s a case of hiding objects in place sight. Did the birds get hazard pay?
Love the nods to The Killer. John Woo employed every stuntman in Hong Kong. Great stunt work and cool acting by Philip Kwok aka Mad Dog. More tricks of the trade. Slow motion. Parallel editing. Having two characters do the same thing or perform in the same manner. Then the scenes are shown back to back. Cars, motorcycles and a hospital were sacrificed. No hospital windows were spared.
The bad: The criminals killed patients in cold blood. Some stuntmen moved after they were killed.
The ugly: Will the audience ever see Chow Yun Fat, Tony Leung and Anthony Wong together again?
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