Directed by John Woo
Written by Barry Wong
Cinematography by:Wang Wing-Heng
Music by Michael Gibbs
Cast: Chow Yun-Fat, Tony Leung, Teresa Mo, Philip Chan, Cheung Jue-Luh, Anthony Wong, Bowie Lam, & Y.Yonemura
1992/128 mins/Color/Dolby Digital Surround
1.85:1 anamorphic/Cantonese/Honh Kong/NTSC Region 1
Review from Dragon Dynasty DVD/ Weinstein Company
During a bloody shoot-out at a restaurant, Tequila’s (Chow Yun-Fat) partner gets gunned down. He is determined to stop the gun smugglers responsible for his death. A cop (Tony Leung) that is undercover inside the syndicate, itself, teams up with to bring them down.
John Woo’s classic is, quite simply put, the best action film ever made. The film is exhilarating and action packed. It moves at a break neck pace and has some of the most amazing action set pieces ever put on celluloid. No action film can even touch (in fact the only other movie, of it’s kind, to even come close, is another Woo film, THE KILLER). It puts brain-dead shoot-em ups and limp-dick PG-13 action movies from Hollywood to shame. Shame that Woo’s career in the US, would never reach the heights of this film and lead to crap like MI2, although in all fairness FACE/ OFF is a pretty good fucking movie.
The ultra-violence in the film is over-the-top and pulse pounding. The movie features what might be the most amazing body-count in history. Bodies are riddled with bullets, squibs shoot blood like Sam Peckinpah’s wet dream come true, heads shots, throat slashing, immolation, body crushing, blood spraying, and splattering, fill the screen; yet all is done with magnificent style and class. And, in so doing, Woo makes an art of the carnage on screen.
The acting is excellent. Chow Yun-Fat is simplay ass kicking and utterly amazing. Leung manages to hold his own and be a equally kick-ass hero. Kwok Coi is one of the most memorable and coolest villains, and not just in Asian cinema. The rest of the cast rounds it all out quite nicely.
HARD BOILED shoots its way to DVD courtesy of Dragon Dynasty, and is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1, in anamorphic widescreen. There is very, very minor artifacting; as most of the film looks very good. The fleshtones are very nice and the day scenes look beautiful. The sound is fucking killer. Your room will sound like a warzone, when you put this fucker on! The film is in its original Cantonese language (although you could hear the dubbed version, but why would you wanna do that?). The subtitles, though, come directly from the American dub (why?!).
In the extras department, disc one comes with commentary by Hong Kong Cinema expert Bey Logan. He gives some really good facts throughout it. He is very knowledgeable in Cantonese and Chinese culture. It is a dry but never boring discussion that even manages to introduce a drinking you guys might wanna try out next you watch this masterpiece!
Disc one also has trailers for THE SHAW BROTHER’S COLLECTION, ABOVE THE LAW (no not the Seagal flick!), POLICE SYORY 2, and THE INFERNAL AFFAIRS TRILOGY.
Moving on to disc two we get even more cool extras. “A Baptism of Fire: A Featurette with Iconic Director John Woo” is a good interview with Mr. Woo. He has some very cool stories about characters and certain action scenes. “Partner in Crime: An Interview with Producer Terence Chang” reveals some good origins and facts about the shooting of the film. “Art Imitates Life: An Interview with Phillip Chan” is my favorite interview, as it is very entertaining. And, we learn that Chan used to be a cop in real life! “Mad Dog Bites Again: An Interview with Leading Villain Kwok Choi” is a laid back talk, as he reveals how he got his role, talks about his character, and most of the film’s amazing stunt work. I wish we would have gotten interviews with the rest of the cast, especially Fat and Leung, but what we get is really nice.
“Hard Boiled Location Guide” has an Asian chick showing us where some of the scenes were shot. Some cool facts are revealed, here. Finally, “Making of Stranglehold” is a piece about the video game sequel, and it looks pretty cool. The trailers on this disc are the film’s own Hong Kong Theatrical Trailer and the US Promotional one, for this DVD.
The DVD comes in a regular sized keep case that holds both discs. It has a cardboard, reflective, slip cover. The movie has cool, active menus and is broken up into sixteen chapters. There is no inlet card mentioning the chapters, just an add for the STRANGLEHOLD video-game and a limited time coupon for any other Dragon Dynasty title.
This Film Features:
Review by Giovanni Deldio. All Right Reserved. 2007. ©