First you’ll see Chow Yun-Fat deftly using a clarinet. Not to beat the crap out of some bad guy, but to produce Jazz music. Then you’ll see a bunch of guys exchanging very significant and ominous looks, until Chow Yun-Fat (aka Tequila) decides to beat up a guy with a teapot before reaching for a gun. Then ensues a staggering amount of slow-mo and the death of some 200 extras. Unfortunately, Tequila’s partner gets shot (several billion times), which leads to a classic, not-at-all-dramatic John Woo moment.
Tony Leung and Anthony Wong Chau-Sang are not the only similarities Hard Boiled has with Infernal Affairs (2002). For example, there’s a scene which is copy-pasted from Hard-boiled. Maybe it’s homage, I don’t know. However, John Woo being John Woo, he has a special knack for all things dramatic so any comparison is far-fetched. He is, after all the drama king. So when you get to the warehouse scene you can draw parallels only to other John Woo movies, because the number of flying-dying people and unnecessary explosions (no live doves in this one, people!) are unprecedented.
The greatest fault I found in Hard Boiled is editing. It’s really horribly done. The hospital sequence of the movie almost gave me an epileptic seizure. There were so many cut-paste moments, that I, however briefly, considered a career in editing. Ctrl+x, Ctrl+v. Job done.
Now, about all that jazz (not talking about Bob Fosse here). It’s weird. It is. I get the intention, hard boiled goes with jazz. Jazz and Woo? Not a very good combo. Believe it or not, jazz has problem being stealth enough in this movie. Most of the time I was too aware of the music, just as I was too aware of the editing. You’re not supposed to see that stuff. You’re supposed to feel it as an intricate part of the movie, enhancing the experience. But I guess, as all things John Woo, it’s over the top.
Anyway, I love John Woo. I do. Especially when in tandem with Chow Yun-Fat. I think I’m one of two or three people who actually like Face-Off. I do. I also enjoyed Paycheck starring Ben Affleck – BEN AFFLECK!
Is there anybody out there who actually enjoyed Paycheck and Face Off? Is there?
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