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   Now in our eleventh calendar year
    PCR #532  (Vol. 11, No. 23)  This edition is for the week of May 31--June 6, 2010.

Still up: Summer Movie Preview
"Splice"  by Mike Smith
Forgotten Horrors: Island of Terror  by ED Tucker
More May Albums!  by Terence Nuzum
Summer 2010 Book Preview  by Lisa Scherer
John Woo’s "Hard Boiled" (1992)  by Jason Fetters
I’m Back!!!! .... Super Bowl In The Meadowlands? .... Officially Blind .... Favre Watch .... Can’t Keep Big Ben In The Pants .... Storm Season .... Cleveland, Say Goodbye! .... by Chris Munger
R.i.p. Little Man .... Movie Notes .... Passing On .... .... .... .... .... .... Mike's Record Shelf by Mike Smith

John Woo’s "Hard Boiled" (1992)

Hard Boiled is the quintessential Hong Kong action movie that raised the bar so high that no other action movie has bettered.

Chow Yun -Fat is the essence of cool that Steve McQueen could only hint at. Yun-Fat plays Inspector “Tequila” Yuen, a tough cop that would even scare off Dirty Harry.

In the beginning of Hard Boiled, Tequila is playing the sax in a jazz band to show his artistic side. Next you see him at a Chinese Tea House engaging in a beautiful gun battle dripping with blood to let you know he is truly a bad ass. This is where John Woo’s action direction really shines in his long complicated gunfights that make you just want to pick up a gun and join in. The bullets tear straight into the innocent and crooked alike. After Tequila’s partner is killed off, he goes ballistic.

Tony Leung, a highly successive actor who is considered the best actor in Hong Kong sheds his usual romantic type to play Alan. Alan is an undercover cop who gets in close to the Triad bosses. I always picture him trying to smooth talk the ladies but in Hard Boiled Leung is not afraid to stick a gun in someone’s face and pop anyone in the face with it.

The super sexy Teresa Mo plays Tequila’s girlfriend and it is interesting to learn about Tequila through the verbal banter between the two. Teresa can be loving and shows her motherly side as she helps rescue babies in the hospital scene but don’t let that fool you, she is also perfectly capable of holding a gun and firing off a few rounds when the need arises. The arguments between Tequila and Teresa create some of Hard Boiled’s great lines and show a soft side of Tequila. That helps to make him a real character. Yes, he can blow away Triad members, yell at his boss, and joke around with his fellow cops but he truly does love his lady and he is not some obnoxious silent type obsessed with avenging his deceased partner. That would have weaken his character and caused Hard Boiled to be yet another generic action genre movie. John Woo would never let that happen.

The best part of the movie is the climax at the hospital where Tequila and Alan team up to protect their friend Foxy who gets killed off by Mad Dog. This is where the action level gets kicked up a few notches as Tequila and Alan battle Mad Dog in an area underneath the hospital. Also, the main villain, Johnny Wong, the Triad’s main boss appears to further frustrated Tequila and Alan.

Hard Boiled has everything going for it for John Woo fans including Woo’s bit part as the bartender in a Jazz bar that gives Tequila advice. That just adds another layer of coolness.

Although, Hard Boiled was not as successful as John Woo’s other films, the movie was still a big hit in Hong Kong. When Hard Boiled was screened at the 1992 Toronto International Film Festival, it became even more successful with Western audiences. Hard Boiled should be on everyone’s short top ten list of greatest action movies of all time. If you haven’t seen it yet then you are missing out, go buy it and watch it today.

"The Asian Aperture" is ©2010 by Jason Fetters. Webpage design and all graphics herein (except where otherwise noted) are creations of Nolan B. Canova. All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2010 by Nolan B. Canova.