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Author Topic: Hard Boiled  (Read 4325 times)
RapscallionJones
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« on: July 30, 2007, 06:28:47 PM »

I picked up the Dragon Dynasty release of this movie last week and got a chance to sit down with it for the first time in a while.  That company is blowing me away.  With few exceptions, they're becoming the Criterion Collection for fans of Asian cinema.  I'm a huge fan of Hong Kong action and heroic bloodshed movies.  This is probably my favorite of them all.

http://www.cinema-suicide.com/2007/07/30/hot-handed-god-of-cops-hard-boiled/
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« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2007, 08:38:52 PM »

I am so happy that someone is finally talking about how awesome Hard Boiled is. 

Usually when people talk about John Woo's Hong Kong days, they always bring up either "The Killer", "A Better Tomorrow", or "Bullet in The Head".  And while those are all decent films, "Hard Boiled" blows them all away, IMO. 
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Torgo
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« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2007, 10:41:40 PM »

I'm avoiding the DD DVD of Hard Boiled due to the fact that they cropped the image and then stretched it back out making everyone in the movie look like they put on 50 pounds. 

But I do agree that it's a fantastic movie.  I've always preferred it over The Killer. 
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« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2007, 11:08:10 PM »

I'm avoiding the DD DVD of Hard Boiled due to the fact that they cropped the image and then stretched it back out making everyone in the movie look like they put on 50 pounds.


Here's a few snapshots from the Dragon Dynasty release of Hard Boiled. I don't see anything drastically wrong with the transfer. The HK bootleg I had before this was horribly stretched and severely pixelated. Compared to that, this is bliss.







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« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2007, 03:40:24 AM »

I've always thought The Killer was okay but it's not a patch on Hard Boiled, it's a cracking film.
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D-Man
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« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2007, 05:27:24 AM »

The Killer is ok, but it's gotten a hell of a lot of unexplained hype over the years.  People seem to laud its action, and its emotional scenes, but to be honest, I always found "Bullet in The Head" to be more emotionally wrenching than The Killer. 

When I want to introduce a friend to the greatness of John Woo's glory days, Hard Boiled is the film I show them. 
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RapscallionJones
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« Reply #6 on: July 31, 2007, 07:00:22 PM »

The Killer is ok, but it's gotten a hell of a lot of unexplained hype over the years.  People seem to laud its action, and its emotional scenes, but to be honest, I always found "Bullet in The Head" to be more emotionally wrenching than The Killer. 

When I want to introduce a friend to the greatness of John Woo's glory days, Hard Boiled is the film I show them. 
Back when John Woo was blowing up in Hollywood, some heavy hitters like Tarantino name dropped it heavily in interviews and a lot of people went out and rented it based on that alone but the fascination ended there, no one ever thought to check out A Better Tomorrow or Hard Boiled which were also circulating at the time.  I think Bullet In The Head is probably Woo's heaviest movie and far more intense than The Killer, as well.  Unfortunately, the only way to get it was through bootlegs and expensive Tai Seng video tapes. If you were lucky enough to live in an area with a big Asian population, you could go to Chinatown and buy it or rent it, but most people I know didn't really care enough to look much deeper than what was at the local video store.

I'm still waiting for another wave of heroic bloodshed to come out of Hong Kong.  There are so many false starts.  A few years ago it looked like Johnny To was going to single handedly revive it but he was so spotty with the quality of his movies.  I have Time and Tide on the slate for tonight but I'd rather my blog not turn into Kung Fu Cult Cinema because it's tough to contend with those guys.  I think I know a lot about Asian cinema and then I drop by their forums and am quietly humbled.
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Mr_Vindictive
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« Reply #7 on: July 31, 2007, 07:53:09 PM »

I also picked up that Dragon Dynasty set of Hard Boiled.  Up until now I've had to watch the film on my Long Shong DVD copy and the Mei Ah DVD that was released a while back.

This new DD set is by far the best that Hard Boiled has looked.  It's clear, and everything is near perfect.  I ended up watching it last night, and I'm still in awe with the film.  My only problem is that it feels like three different films throughout it's runtime.  The opening fight in the restaurant doesn't feel the same as the warehouse scene which in turn doesn't feel like the last hour or so at the hospital.  Don't get me wrong, as far as action films go, it's hard to beat....it's just a little uneven in places.

I'm actually one who likes The Killer better.  I picked it up on a whim and wasn't aware that it was a Woo film upon my initial viewing.  It's a strong damn film.  The action scenes, when they occur, are fantastic and the acting is great as well.  I love the story, and Fat really pulls off his character.  It's a bit cliched by today's standards after Woo's trademarks have been used over and over, and mocked numerous times.  Overall though, I still enjoy it a bit more. 

I do highly recommend picking up Hard Boiled though.  It's an awesome film and one that's great to show an unsuspecting friend.  My favorite thing I've ever heard from one of my friends while watching the film with a friend was:

"Holy Sh*t!  Did that baby just p!ss on him and put out the flames!?!?"

Yes...yes he did.
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« Reply #8 on: July 31, 2007, 09:44:31 PM »

I actually have Bullet in The Head on Laserdisc, complete with subtitles.  It was a Christmas present from my late father a number of years back.  He never really explained how he got it, but I think he may have had a few connections for that sort of thing, being a media producer who worked for Cornell. Plus my town has an ever-growing Asian population, which probably helped. 

The Killer's not a bad film, by any means, I didn't mean to come off like that earlier.  I just like Hard Boiled better, simply because it has more action and bloodshed.  It's a shallow reason, I know, but there you go.   TeddyR

I do agree that Hard Boiled is a little uneven...but the awesomeness of the shootouts and other action sequences can usually make me forget all that. 
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Torgo
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« Reply #9 on: August 06, 2007, 10:35:06 PM »

I'm going to see if I can import the Tartan Asian Extreme edition at some point as it is still viewed as having the best picture quality of all countless Hard Boiled DVD's that have been released in the world (legally and illegally).   I don't think that Chow Yun Fat participated in the TAE edition either though.
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Mr_Vindictive
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« Reply #10 on: August 06, 2007, 10:56:15 PM »

I'm going to see if I can import the Tartan Asian Extreme edition at some point as it is still viewed as having the best picture quality of all countless Hard Boiled DVD's that have been released in the world (legally and illegally).   I don't think that Chow Yun Fat participated in the TAE edition either though.

I'd be surprised if the picture quality is better than this new Dragon Dynasty disc.  I've seen the film in many different variations and this print just absolutely blew me away.  The only problem is that there are occasionally lines in the film, but that is the film itself that is to blame, not the transfer.  I found the transfer to be extremely crisp but I wish that the soundtrack would have been reworked as it still sounds like a mono track even when watching via surround sound.

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« Reply #11 on: August 20, 2007, 04:03:57 PM »

Quote
The last guy in the teahouse to eat Tequila’s bullet was an undercover cop working against Johnny Wong.

This is quite confusing in the movie actually.  If I recall correctly, in the commentary track on the old American DVD, Woo explains that the original plot concept was heavily changed after shooting the opening scene (they had to shoot the teahouse scene right away, as it was set to be demolished).  So what you get is a guy SOMETIMES referred to as an informant (and if so, why does he shoot at cops?) and SOMETIMES referred to as an undercover (and the same question applies).  It's a plot hole, but a relatively minor one.

BTW, while I'm sure Bey Logan does a good enough job, and I love Dragon Dynasty's other release, I think I'm always gonna prefer my old American-release DVD, thanks to the very good John Woo/Terence Chang commentary.  The transfer, while a bit speckled and spotty in places, is on the whole quite good.

Quote
Usually when people talk about John Woo's Hong Kong days, they always bring up either "The Killer", "A Better Tomorrow", or "Bullet in The Head".  And while those are all decent films, "Hard Boiled" blows them all away, IMO. 

Really?  I almost never hear people bringing up Bullet in the Head, and A Better Tomorrow rarely.  The Killer and Hard-Boiled are almost certainly his most well-known Asian films in America...  You see them the most in video stores at least, and I see them discussed the most online. 

I suspect Hard-Boiled is so popular here because it is the most westernized of his Chinese films.  CYF's character is the least complex of the major Woo characters he played (even less complex than his silly character in once a Thief), and the most like an American archtype (the comparison to Dirty Harry is a good one).  Tony Leung is complex, and gives the best performance in the film (his change of facial expressions in slow motion in one sequence sums up his character, really), but his character has much in common with other undercover characters in American gangster films.  The themes of brotherhood and honor are there, but are downplayed. 

And in actually, it plays out something like a buddy cop film, albeit stretched a lot for some Hong Kong and Woo conventions.  Some have claimed Woo designed the film as a test to show Hollywood he could make their style of films, and evidently it worked.

I'm not knocking Hard-Boiled - I love the film, actually, and have seen it many times. 

BTW, my favorite Woo film on the whole is still A Better Tomorrow.  It's cheesy at times, but I love the storyline in the film, the melodrama is excellent, the soundtrack is fantastic, and the three lead performances are great.  The action is good too - just too bad Woo hadn't quite gotten it dead on yet, as he would in his next film, the inferior A Better Tomorrow 2.
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RapscallionJones
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« Reply #12 on: August 20, 2007, 10:19:45 PM »

Tony Leung is complex, and gives the best performance in the film (his change of facial expressions in slow motion in one sequence sums up his character, really)
After he kills Uncle Hoi and his crew?  I love that scene.

By the way, thanks for dropping by my site.  Looks like you checked out a bunch of my articles.  I appreciate the traffic.
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Mr_Vindictive
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« Reply #13 on: August 22, 2007, 05:34:27 PM »

I too love the scene where Leung kills Uncle Hoi.  As he turns around, in slow motion, you can see the tears in his eyes and it's a genuine scene.  It seems that scene sticks out for a lot of us.


Jim H,

A Better Tomorrow is a great film.  If I'm not mistaken, I actually picked it up a while back after your recommendation of the film on this board.  I feel that both A Better Tomorrow and A Better Tomorrow II are about equal.  The first one is a great crime drama, and Mark is a great character.  I recall being quite surprised during my first viewing since everything I had seen from Woo previously had been gunfight laden.  ABT is a big change from that type of film making with the only real gunfight being at the end of the film.

ABTII, despite being intellectually inferior to the original, is still a lot of fun since you begin to see Woo's skill at the action scenes.   I don't care for the way that they brought back Mark (Chow Yun Fat) but it's a minor complaint.  That final battle in the house....fantastic.
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« Reply #14 on: August 27, 2007, 03:20:21 PM »

Hard Boiled is a pesonal favorite. I love the over the top shoot outs, I think the Killer and Hard Boiled must have the highest bullet/body count in any movies I've seen.

I just got Steven Chow's King of Comedy on netflix, haven't watched all of it but its a parody of the over the top HK action movies.
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