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Hard Boiled (The Criterion Collection)

53 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Violence as poetry, rendered by a master-brilliant and passionate, John Woo's Hard Boiled tells the story of jaded detective "Tequila" Yuen (played with controlled fury by Chow Yun-fat). Woo's dizzying odyssey through the world of Hong Kong Triads, undercover agents, and frenzied police raids culminates unforgettably in the breathless hospital sequence. More than a cops-and-bad-guys story, Hard Boiled continually startles with its originality and dark humor.

Special Features

  • Trailers for 11 of Woo's Hong Kong films
  • A student film by John Woo
  • Guide to Hong Kong crime films
  • Notes on Hard Boiled

Product Details

  • Actors: Yun-Fat Chow, Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Teresa Mo, Philip Chan, Anthony Wong Chau-Sang
  • Directors: John Woo
  • Format: Color, Letterboxed, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Criterion
  • DVD Release Date: June 10, 1998
  • Run Time: 128 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 1559408677
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #97,114 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Hard Boiled (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Libretio on January 21, 2000
HARD-BOILED
[La Shou Shen Tan]

(Hong Kong - 1992)

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Theatrical soundtrack: Mono

John Woo's electrifying crime-thriller amounts to a great deal more than the sum of its action set-pieces. As with virtually all of his post-1986 HK films, Woo generates a tangible sense of melancholy by placing honorable, chivalrous - even lovable - characters into situations where all those precious moral virtues are constantly being challenged and devalued by the greed and cynicism of our modern age. And yet, Woo was eventually persuaded to conclude his picture on an optimistic note, with the villains routed and the good guys allowed to resume their places in the grand scheme of things. It's a daring move, given everything which precedes it, but no less effective than the all-out tragedy which Woo had originally envisaged.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 10, 1999
Audacious and red-blooded, hyperviolent and exciting, "Hard Boiled" is the tale of "Tequila" Yuen, a cop determined to take down murderous arm dealers led by Johnny Wong(Anthony Wong). But what "Tequila"(The excellent Chow-Yun Fat) doesn't know is that undercover cop Alan Tony(Tony Leung) is siding with the arm dealers to trap them as well. Hong Kong is about to become a war zone, and it's up to Tequila and Tony to save the city. Almost everything in this thriller is great. The cast is decent, but it's Fat who once again overwhelms everyone else, both physically and emotionally. Nevertheless, Leung is convincing as the cop stuck between good and bad, and stunt coordinator Phillip Kwok steals the show as a ruthless henchman. The action scenes are explosive; the best gunfights are set in a teahouse, a warehouse, and most unbelievable of all, a hospital! Director Woo has never been better with camera angles and pace. He gives true meaning to the word "thrill-seeker!" The movie's only true weakness lies in the script; you might want to watch the film again to understand some confusing plot points. Nevertheless, "Hard Boiled" is 5-star material. Once you see it, it may not be the same again. If you want to purchase the movie, buy the Criterion DVD or the Fox Lorber VHS version; other tapes contain edited sequences that may disappoint.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 18, 1999
Take the combined bodycount total of all of the Friday the 13th series, Rambo II & the entire Halloween series add them together and Hard Boiled still has more kills. Has anyone ever took the time to count? Must easily be 250+ kills in this film. Seriously though, superb gun fights (as you would expect from John Woo), excellent acting on Chow-Yun's part and a villian who will kill just about anyone but refuses to utter a single word of profanity make for a great film.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Mordecofe on July 25, 2000
Before seeing Hard Boiled, I had only seen John Woo's American work - Mission Impossible 2, Broken Arrow and Face/Off. If you've seen these movies, you've seen a glimpse of the style and grace that Woo brings to film. And let me tell you, it is a small glimpse. Hard Boiled, made in Hong Kong, eclipses all of his American work by leaps and bounds.
The plot is solid and the acting above average (I especially liked Tony Leung as the undercover cop - his acting was particularly inspired), but what make this movie such a great movie are the beautiful action sequences by Woo and Chow Yun-Fat, who delivers a better performance than in his American work as well. It's been said many times, but the sequences are absolutely poetic, and unlike M:I-2, original and inspired. This is a great movie, and for those of you who love action, is a great introduction to the master of action (again, forget his American work - there's no comparison).
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Chad Gould on October 16, 1999
Not John Woo's best film - I'd give that honor to "The Killer" myself, for a fitting combination of style and plot. The biggest problem with this one is the plot is a little on the thin side.
However, the action choreography of this film is just simply amazing. John Woo has a knack for filming an action sequence, and it shows up the best in this film.
Frankly, aside from perhaps a couple Jackie Chan films like "Police Story", I don't think any other film coming from Hong Kong has influenced American action films so much. If you look at films like "The Matrix" and then view this film, you'll definitely see where the inspiration came from.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Jared on May 27, 2003
Someone told me prior to viewing that the body count was around 500. Of course, I didn't believe him.
After watching the film, 500 doesn't look like a far off number.
Hard Boiled is another one of John Woo's greats, created in 1991. Chow Yun Fat is a hard boiled cop, and he's hot on the trail of gun smugglers. The plot REALLY leaves a lot to be desired, but that doesn't matter. What matters is nearly half of the film is composed of relentless, hyperkinetic action.
The only negotiating is done through the barrel of a gun, and it is clearly evident in the entire film. People are killed left and right, including helpless civilians. But to the true action fan, this is a dream come true. This movie is a lesson in truly great action scenes, including the last scene in a hospital, where it is nonstop action for almost half an hour.
If you liked this one, buy John Woo's 'The Killer' as well. It is in the same vein as Hard Boiled. As long as you have these two movies, they are the only action movies you'll ever need.
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Criterion Vs Dragon Dynasty
The DD disc also features a puzzling, horizontially STRETCHED image that makes Tony Leung and Chow Yun-fat (and everyone else) look about 20 pounds heavier than they actually are. In cropping the image FROM ALL FOUR SIDES (!!!!) and then stretching it back to fill the screen left and right,... Read More
Jul 19, 2007 by Brian T |  See all 13 posts
Cut?
No cuts--it's John Woo's final cut. (It's NOT the slightly longer Taiwanese version--but that's not Woo's final cut, anway). The good thing with Dragon Dynasty is the Weinsteins seemed to have turned 'a new leaf' in some aspects, offering original uncut versions, original language option, etc.
Jun 13, 2007 by Alkaline |  See all 3 posts
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