Hard Boiled (1992) 辣手神探

And if you get killed, who’ll make yours?

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.

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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.


There’s soooo many meaningless violent deaths in this movie. Starting with the teahouse, over to the warehouse and culminating in the hospital, where many babies are saved.

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!

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Is there anybody out there who actually enjoyed Paycheck and Face Off? Is there?

A/N: Please click the following link to find out how you can help thousands of people who lost their homes in the Balkan floods (May, 2014). Thank you!


7 thoughts on “Hard Boiled (1992) 辣手神探

  1. Face Off! Talk about guilty pleasures! It is the delicious blend of Cage’s lunacy and Travolta’s overacting: it’s perfect! Also that unbelievably creepy hand motion, you know the one where you slide your hand down someone’s face because it means you like them and not that you are, in fact, a rapist using every muscle in his body to fight back his grim urges. That is a gesture absolutely gorgeous in its horrible awkwardness.


    1. I wish I could just like your comment. I hate the fact that I cannot reduce communication to simply clicking the little raised thumb. This way I have to acknowledge your awesomeness with words and that’s harder that clicking the dumb thumb. I’m glad there’s at least one person who finds pleasure in Face Off, as guilty as it might be. Frankly I’m sick of all the judging looks I get as I walk down the street.


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