Hard Boiled (1992)

hard boiled poster 1992 movie
8.5 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 9/10

Insane ending gunfight


Movie Info

Movie Name: Hard Boiled

Studio: Movie Studio

Genre(s): Action/Adventure

Release Date(s): Movie Release Date

MPAA Rating: Movie Rating

hard boiled chow yun fat flour gunfight

This is not what I meant by “ghosting” you…

Inspector “Tequila” Yuen Ho-yan (Chow Yun-fat) finds himself seeking vengeance when his partner Benny (Bowie Lam) is killed in a shootout with Triad gunrunners.  Tequila discovers that another officer named Alan (Tony Leung Chiu Wai) is working undercover in the Triads, and Tequila’s interference could blow the whole operation.  Tequila and Alan both want to stop Johnny Wong (Anthony Wong) and his thug Mad Dog (Philip Kwok), but do they have the nerve and guts to take it all the way?

Directed by John Woo, Hard Boiled (辣手神探 or Lat sau san taamis) is a Hong Kong police action thriller.  The movie was Woo’s last Hong Kong film and was released to mostly positive reviews.  The Criterion Collection released a remastered version of the film (Criterion #9) which has since gone out of print.

Hard Boiled was one of those movies you picked up after you saw one of Woo’s American films like Hard Target or Face/Off.  When compared to most of his American work, Hard Boiled shines high above…but it doesn’t reach the level of The Killer.

hard boiled tequila alan vs mad dog philip kwok chow yun fat tony leung chiu wai

Put the Mad Dog down!

Hard Boiled is honestly pretty insane.  The movie takes too long to get to the ending sequence, but once it does, it doesn’t stop.  The layout of the plot (two cops taking two routes to the same goal) isn’t revolutionary, but the movie’s turn to an extremely violent and insane gunfight for almost the entire second half of the film is where Woo excels.  Woo’s later films almost feel like parodies of his earlier films, but films like this are Woo at his best.

Chow Yun-fat and Tony Leung Chiu-Wai are a good team.  Alan is the guy who can’t do it by the books but wants to and Tequila doesn’t want to do it by the books but has to…it a nice dycotomy.  Teresa Mo is a little out of her league as the romantic interest of Tequila but I do like Philip Chan as the boss caught in the middle.  Philip Kwok is a scene stealer as Mad Dog and Anthony Wong is a pretty good villain in his cockiness and slickness.

hard boiled baby gunfight chow yun fat

So you point the gun at their head and pull the trigger about 20 times

The movie is really all about the visuals and the insane gunfights.  The fight at the beginning of the film feels over the top, but it is nothing compared to the hospital fight.  It does suffer from the “invincible syndrome” in that Tequila and Alan are apparently the only ones who can shoot guns and if they get hit, it hurts a lot, but they can keep going.

Hard Boiled has better action sequences than The Killer, but The Killer has a solid story with more developed characters.  Both movies are worth seeking out and the action and the skill and style of Woo’s fights make them necessary action viewing (and yes, if you can’t handle the subtitles, the film is generally dubbed).  It is amazing to me how much Woo went downhill in America, and I don’t know if it is because he wasn’t allowed to make films like he wanted to or if it was these movies were so intense that he was spent.  Check out Hard Boiled AND The Killer for a great double feature.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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