Thursday, June 25, 2009

Ready, Aim, Shoot

Hard Boiled(1992)
Directed By John Woo

Tony Leung And Chow Yun Fat, have enormous on screen charisma, in John Woo's, Hong Kong bullet ballet.
There's the typical action movie elements are hard nosed cop who plays by his own rules, and undercover cop in over his head, both weighed down by the weight of killing the wrong people( how many action films never mention friendly fire?).Essentially though this movie is a series of extravagant gun fights, with John Woo, learning how to perfect his jump through a plate glass window whilst firing two guns technique, with which he would later become famous and which I would learn in many a disasterous boyhood water gun fight, is not actually that effective(no windows were harmed).
Ive always thought action films were best when they kept the drama in the action sequences, and out of the mouths of the often not so talented action stars(who aren't necessarily actors).
Hard Boiled is a pure kind of action film, limited story, enormous, brutal, shoot outs, and impossible acrobatics.
Unhampered by a "serious" tone, Hard Boiled, can be enjoyed for the stylized excesses it offers, unlike a film like "The Killer", which though just as wild, tries too hard for intensity, drama, and pathos, that just isn't there.
Watching this, youre reminded of how enjoyable Leung has been in his Wong Kar Wai films, and how criminally underused Cho Yun Fat has been since his American debut.

In American action films, Fat is just a regular hard boiled cop, usually surrounded by the mystique of being the asian martial artist, here he is a determined, but likeable, super-cop, who has trouble with his girlfriend, and would rather be playing the saxaphone.
In the grimy world of Americrime, Fat is a man lost at sea, but in the ultravoilent and ultra-choreographed world of John Woo, he's right in his element.
The characters often use English phrases, so if your watching and you hear a "yes,mam" or "that's your ass!" your not going crazy, Globalization's deep fool...
As a buddy cop team up movie it works, and as a Gonzo series of action sequences it works doubly so.

The climactic hospital siege, is one of the most intense and insane spectacles ever recorded.
I have this on vhs, but Ive been wondering a small detail (if anyone has dvd w commentary) about whether or not there really are miniature alters in the modern police station in Hong Kong, no reason why, I just think it's neat.

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