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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on August 20, 2013
This review is for the Criterion Collection.
There was a time when everything was starting to bore me, action movies included. So when I first downloaded this movie, I was just expecting a dull, average action movie. So before going to bed, I decided to watch this movie at 1 in the morning.
Boy, was I in for a surprise! This movie was everything I was looking for, and more! It's violent, imaginative, entertaining as hell, and just downright AWESOME.
The plot: After a cat-and-mouse rivalry between them as they slowly start to realize they're fighting for the same goal, Inspector Tequila eventually teams up with undercover cop Tony to take down the gunrunning triads led by Johnny Wong, which leads to one of THE MOST MEMORABLE showdowns in a hospital--probably the longest final shootout ever filmed (a whole forty or so minutes!). The shootouts themselves are definitely among the best ever put to the big screen. This movie got me into John Woo. It's also worth owning for the shootouts alone (which take up most of the movie).
This set contains dub tracks in English and Cantonese, although I watch the English dub because it seems to add to the list of enjoyable things about this movie. It also includes trailers for every John Woo film ever made, a student film by John Woo (no English subtitles for that, though), and more! The quality of the picture and sound is good and the characters (the ones that are meant to be likeable) are likeable enough for you to care about their plight.
Overall, ***** out of *****
"Give a man a gun and he's Superman. Give him two and he's God!"
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on July 15, 2015
Average audio quality, but shoddy picture quality; sharpness is incredibly low and scenes feel like they have the brightness messed up. Black levels are inconsistent. From what I've heard this IS the definitive version on home video, so if you're looking for that then I still say pick this up. Just don't expect anything around reference quality.
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on July 13, 2007
I haven't actually seen the dragon dynasty version of this movie, I was lucky enough to discover a video store with a criterion copy of this movie, So I cant actually attest to the video quality of this one. But as for the movie itself?



Game over... whatever you thought you knew about awesome action scenes? Nope sorry, just doesn't compare.

Now I will admit the movie does slow down a little in the middle, but hang in there, the climatic hospital shoot out scene is more than worth it...
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on June 21, 2004
While not quite as tightly plotted or emotionally compelling as John Woo and Chow Yun-Fat's magnum opus "The Killer," "Hard Boiled" is still sure to please fans of that movie. Much of what made "The Killer" such a great film is to be found here: flawed heroes, murky allegiances, and ambiguous morals are once again the order of the day in this tale of cops and criminals living on the edge. At the same time, "Hard Boiled" manages to ratchet up the violence even further from its "sister" film, resulting in the most prolonged and intense action scenes I've ever witnessed, all filmed in Woo's signature frenetic style. A tea house, a warehouse, and ultimately a hospital all become battlegrounds in all-out war as the cops face an enemy that makes the Mafia look like a group of middle-school bullies.
Once again, Chow takes the lead in the protagonist's role, this time portraying relentless Hong Kong inspector "Tequila" Yuen. In true Woo-hero fashion, Tequila can shelter a baby with one arm while shooting up a small army of bad guys with the other. Joining him in his fight against the triads is Tony (Tony Leung) an undercover cop who's spent so much time working among gangsters that the line between the right side of the law and the wrong one is becoming blurred. However, Tony looks like a choirboy compared to the cartoonishly villanous Johnny Wong, an up-and-coming Triad boss who would probably kill his own mother if she got in his way. Johnny also has himself an extremely menacing sidekick in the form of a glowering, nameless enforcer who spends much of the film with a patch on one eye and still manages to give Tequila and Tony a few runs for their money.
It all comes to a head in the climactic showdown in the hospital-turned-arsenal, with the scene gradually evolving from tense standoff to full-scale shootout as the lives of hundreds of hostages hang in the balance. As most of Hong Kong's police force provides support, the two detectives lead the way against Johnny, his cycloptic colleague, and dozens of other gun-wielding menaces. And did I mention they have to make sure no harm comes to the adorable newborn babies in the nearby maternity ward? Yeah, Tony and Tequila sure have their work cut out for them as they fly through the air and unleash zillions of bullets, but it makes for some scintillating watching.
On the whole, "Hard Boiled" is definitely an engaging experience that's more than worth the money I shelled out for it. Much like "The Killer," this movie manages to pack much more psychological depth than the typical Hollywood shoot-'em-up with its portrayals of compromised heroes in harrowing circumstances. And of course, it goes without saying that Woo is nearly unparelelled when it comes to putting together action set pieces. Woo has made some moderately entertaining movies here in the States, but he hasn't managed to reach the level of his twin Hong Kong masterpieces. So check them out, if you dare.
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on January 11, 2004
"Give a man a gun and he is a hero. Give him two and he is God"

Nothing can quite prepare you for the amount of bullets that are used in this film - all done to an impeccable action style that has still not been beat. If there was ever a Guinness Book of Records for the "Most bullets shot in a film" John Woo's Hard Boiled would be first place for a very long time. It is a terrible shame that this director has only been toned-down by Hollywood. There is not a hope that he would be allowed to do what he has done here with Hong Kong actors to the Hollywood cream of the crop. It seems that it is okay to have a Hong Kong Asian to shoot the hell out of everything but this same action when applied to Western culture would only shock and shame. The same can be said for the star of Hard Boiled - Chow Yun-Fat (Crouch Tiger, Hidden Dragon) who since moving to the West has fired less bullets in all his Hollywood films put together than he does in the first five minutes of this film. Does that really matter? In many ways - Yes it does. Unlike THEIR Hollywood films the gun violence here is not gratuitous. It is artistic and warrented. No one can come away from this film to say that have seen unjustified and unnecessary amounts of actions. It is all integral to the style and plot of this movie. Yes, innocent people do get mowed down in a hail of hot lead and yes the violence is bloody, but is that not what gun violence is? Here you see exactly what guns do to people. Forget Michael Moore's "Bowling for Columbine" - The true message of gun control is right here! The plot is even about the dangers of gun smuggling!
One thing for sure is that there is more gratuitous gun violence in most Hollywood productions than there is here. Here we have a hard boiled cop who is assigned to tracking down gun smugglers. He is a hard boiled cop because he knows how to use his guns. His superiors are using him to fight fire with fire. The action gets going from the word go as the hard boiled cop busts a gun dealing operation. His buddy cops and innocent people get killed in the process. He then goes to extract some revenge and put the big gun runners out of business - only problem is there are literally thousands of them he must cut down. Cue unrelenting battle sequences from start to finish all done in excellent style and slow-mo. You have not seen anything like Hard Boiled before, nor will you again. The ending in the hospital is like DIE HARD with ten thousand times more suspense.
Hard Boiled is also a wonderfully acted movie with excellent first rate action direction. The story is also coherent and good, especially for an Asian production. This is every action fans wet dream. Believe me if you have not seen Hard Boiled then it is about time that you did.
Majestic Filmmaking, not to mention John Woo's greatest film. This is the stuff of Legend with an action hero to root for.
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on October 20, 2003
This is one hell of an action movie, but I think its alittle overdone at times, the bloodless deaths in the shootouts kinda let me down but these shootouts put almost any action movie to shame. The plot Kinda went goes this, Chow yun fat (Cop) is avenging his friends death/investigating a smuggling operation, where he finds a deep insider/undercover cop (Tony Leung,the same one from bullet in the head). Thats it, besides Tequila (Chow) pissing off his superior, but from there on in its all gunfights and violence. Here you'll find Anothey Wong in a solid role as the main bad guy (he hated the role though). Chow is intensely stylish as usual, the best part is in the tea house shootout is when he slides down the rail with a toothpick in his mouth while gunning down numours bad guys. Tony Leung is actually better then Chow acting wise in his role as the undercover cop. John Woo did a pretty fine job for one of his last HK films that he directed. Even though he could have done a bit better this movie is still a great action film for you and your friends to sit back and enjoy the ride. But there is only one version available right now and its the media asia release with no special features.
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on June 25, 2002
I've been watching Hong Kong films for several years now, but til now it was mostly kung-fu oriented films. On a whim, I picked up "Hard Boiled" with Chow Yun Fat after seeing him in Crouching Tiger and taking a liking to him. I'm a big fan of explosive action films and this one is just that. If you're a fan of a lot of action, violence and explosions and want to see it stunningly choreographed, then this movie might just be for you. There is plenty of it and it is all done very well. John Woo is an excellent director and proves his skills in this film as far as the high octane action goes. My favorite scene is near the beginning when Tequila (Chow Yun Fat) is getting shot at and he slides across a table filled with flour. Excellent!
However, there was a few things I didn't like about the movie: I think the story was a little weak and a little hard to follow at times. (Keep in mind that I watched the English dub version, so the story could have lost a lot in the translation [I hate subtitles])
The dvd: The dvd is not very good. The picture is very grainy and has a lot of artifacting and scratches. The sound is low and slightly muffled. For a Hong Kong movie I guess it's not that bad, but looking at it alone, it's not very good. There are several extras to wet your whistle with though and that's always a plus.
All in all, a very enjoyable shoot'em up blood fest with the body count higher that Snoop Dogg in Columbia. 3.5 stars.
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on June 4, 2002
I had seen all of John Woo's US films (MI:2, Face Off, Broken Arrow and so on) and I needed something new to tide me over. What I chose was what must have been one of the greatest action movies I have ever seen! John Woo shows off his true skills in this excellent Hong Kong shoot'em up with of course the great performance with the legenndary Chow Yun-Fat, playing the role of rogue cop Tequila. In just one minute I was completely blown away! I couldn't keep my self from drooling while just staring in astonishment! The whole movie was everything I could ever hope for in an action flick. Endless gunfights, great choreography and Chow Yun-Fat just being one bad ..., one man army! Tequila shoots it out with Triads magnificently wheather in a restaurant, warehouse and even a hospital. This movie really shines though in it's high-octane finale in the huge hospital. Tequila and his buddy Tony (Tony Leung Chiu Wai) cleaning house side by side with Tequila mowing guys down with my personal favorite pump-action shotgun. There's also a great scene involving a human wall of hostages used by the baddies that Tequila and Tony save brilliantly! After watching it once I went right back to the beginning just to see it again because it was just so damn good! If your looking for something to just blow you right on your [rear] with classic hardcore action except no substitutes, Hard Boiled is a rare gem.
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on January 28, 2002
As viewers of this type of film, you are part of a huge and wonderful cult. The film is ultra-bloody, violent and active. It is what you'd expect from John Woo, a serious action film without the budget he later had for FACE/OFF and MISSION IMPOSSIBLE 2. Now, if you are not a big fan of these action movies, then this film will be an aggravating, mindless two hours of your life. You'll gripe that in the films world, a gun clip lasts a hundred shots before it ever needs to be changed, Every major artery can be severed and still not do someone in, and the villainous crew of seven will suddenly number in the hundreds by the end of the film.
A Chinese film, many of the subtitles are inaccurate, even as far as calling a main charcter Alan for the first half an hour and then he becomes Tony for the rest of the film (Tony is the actors real name).
But still, these films are brought here for the art of violence that John Woo does so well. The DVD has a pretty gruesome transfer and the mono soundtrack leaves a lot to be desired.
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on November 13, 2001
Explosive action and adrinlene pumping rush in John Woo's High uptain final farewell film with spectacular endless gunfights and herionic-bloodshed witch was inspired by the creators of Desporado, Last Man Standing and The Matrix.
A die-hard hong Kong cop Tequila (Chow-Yun-Fat)take on arms deals that then explodes into a bloody shoot-out at a teahouse with his partner getting brutaly gunned-down by a gun totting hitman sent by the arms mafia leader Johnny Wong a mob kingpin who will kill anyone who gets in his way. Tequila later encounters a undercover cop (Tony Leung)doing deeds for johnny wong and bond together to take down wong arms operation in a local hospital.
HARD BOILED is a wildly outragous,bloody and ultra-violent film wich doesn't let up the plot line in the film. The gunfights in the teahouse, the gun garage, and the hospital turn out to a one-film-trilogy which Chow Yun Fat himself is a one man die-hard.
Jonn Woo delivers spectacular action and suspenses in his highly uptain film witch ending sequences in the hospitl is just like the bloody shoot-out from the action packed A Better Tommorow II witch is woo's best film ever. The dvd version of HARD BOILED has a better video transfer the the vhs does so perchus the dvd for better tansfers.
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