Wednesday, November 18, 2009

From My Netflix Queue: Hard Boiled (1992)

I'm no Asian action movie scholar. Before I had watched "Hard Boiled," my only exposure to Asian action movies were John Woo's American output, so I might not understand the traditional tropes of Asian action cinema, least of all Woo's.

What I like is how he uses familiar, old tropes, such as the rogue cop who doesn't play by the rules and the chief who wants to stop him, and from there ups the ante. People always talk about how amazing the end hospital battle is, particularly the two and a half minute shot which follows two cops through two floors, fighting on an elevator. To summarize the end, Woo spends half an hour in a slow build inside the hospital until the final release which ends with Chow Yun Fat fighting off bad guys all the while holding an infant. The whole "rescuing the babies" bit is another example of Woo upping the ante from an old trope. Although they abandoned it, I also like how Chow Yun Fat was named Tequila and played clarinet at a jazz club, which was run by an uncredited John Woo.

A good time, and I can certainly see why Chow Yun Fat was such a huge action star.

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