The films of John Woo have had an incalculable effect on modern action cinema. Many of the tropes Woo utilised in his seminal run of ’80s classics have been assimilated wholesale into the celluloid lexicon, from two-handed gunplay to an addiction to slo-mo, but no-one does it quite like the master himself.
Enlisting two of his favourite leading men, The Killer’s Chow Yun-Fat and Bullet in the Head’s Tony Leung, Woo’s self-proclaimed riff on the Dirty Harry series is an epic love letter to law enforcement – and cops don’t come cooler than Inspector ‘Tequila’ Yuen (Chow), a jazz loving, clarinet-playing badass who joins forces with a troubled undercover agent (Leung) to bring down a sadistic mobster. Hard-Boiledwas John Woo’s farewell to his native Hong Kong prior to an extended Hollywood sojourn, and remains the most audacious of his ‘bullet ballets’ to date – the numerous face-offs, culminating in a hospital shootout, are simply astonishing (Notes by Derek O’Connor.)
Showing as part of a Bang for your Buck: Action Movies 101 season throughout May.