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Wanted....Review of Hard Boiled: Criterion

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Wanted....Review of Hard Boiled: Criterion

Old 01-13-00, 01:27 PM
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just curious what people thought. never saw the flick but it appears to be a hot commodity. i did not want to miss out on it like i did The Killer (but i never saw that one either). i heard that it is going out of print but ihave quite a few around my area. is it worth the $35? will it help finance my future children thru college like The Killer & Little Shop of Horrors is for others? thanks.

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Old 01-13-00, 02:34 PM
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If you're really not sure, rent it first (but see it with friends ). It should go for a bit more in time, but I think Criterion printed more of it than The Killer, so it's doubtful that it'll reach the kind of prices The Killer is going for on eBay ($300!?!!).

Another thing: I read somewhere that someone will rerelease either The Killer or Hard Boiled soon, with a new commentary by Woo. Not sure when, or how much that'll affect eBay prices.
Old 01-13-00, 03:09 PM
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hard boiled is a classic. it was the first john woo film i'd ever seen and i was most impressed. i generally steer clear of action flicks, but this is a great DVD all around.

Old 01-13-00, 03:57 PM
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It's certainly not for everyone though. I know someone who's a DIE HARD action fan (no pun intended ). When I loaned her my extra copy of Hard Boiled[1] she returned it with a disgusted look on her face... I've found overall HK films take a little getting used to; the bad subtitles (don't get me wrong though I prefer bad subtitles to good dubbing ), cultural references and "in" jokes, and that's not even mentioning the difference in production value/quality.

To answer your questions though... I think it's worth $35 but I doubt it will "help finance my future children thru college". The way prices are now I doubt it will even buy a semesters worth of books

[1] I ended up with two the first time the rumor of it going OOP surfaced a couple of months back. I've since traded it to someone though
Old 01-13-00, 04:53 PM
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Any self-respecting action fan must see this film at least once in their lives. Incredible incredible incredible action scenes. The final action sequence lasts _45 minutes_!!!

Director John Woo (Face/Off) has never been better and I imagine never will be, at least when it comes to gun battles. There are 4 main action setpieces. 3 of them are absolutely world-beating classics, and the 4th isn't too bad either.

I can see why some people might find the movie weird, however. The non-action sequences have a slow, "artsy" and somewhat dreamy feeling to them that could be off-putting.

The picture on the Criterion DVD is rather dark and has one or two instances of bad artifacting (check out the walls in the infamous hospital tracking shot), but is otherwise quite good
Old 01-13-00, 07:39 PM
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This was like nothing else I'd ever seen the first time. I'd been amused by the stylish over-the-top gunplay in Desperado, and bought Hard Boiled sight unseen because of a chain of coincidence-recommendations off of that--and it's clear enough that this is what Rodriguez was trying, well enough but not quite there, to copy (action-wise). Popped it into the vcr and sat there, stunned, at the opening cafe shootout.

The non-action bits are, indeed, sort of "dreamy" and contemplative as mentioned, which I also enjoyed. The action and body count is intense enough that they offer a nice breather; the final sequences are nothing short of grueling. (And the 2.5 minute long single take is impressive.)

The subtitling didn't seem like a bad job at all; of course, not knowing Cantonese, it's hard to judge. Never even switched to the dub track when I got it on DVD (actually one of the first titles I picked up, a few months before getting a player--I wanted the seeds of a library in place to watch when it arrived).
Old 01-14-00, 01:45 AM
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I wasn't much of a fan of Hong Kong action type films before this.
Now I can't get enough. This movie is great.
I recommend if you love action.
Old 01-14-00, 08:42 AM
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Hard Boiled like everyone else is saying is a great movie, but the Criterion disk helped me appreciate it even more. As I listened to the commentary John Woo pointed out a tracking shot in the last action sequence that I hadn't noticed before. The main characters move down a hallway shooting the villains that pop out the whole way, get in an elevator, and then get out and do it again in one continuous shot! No multiple floors; they redressed the set while the actors where being filmed in the "elevator" for about thirty seconds and then when the doors openned they went through it again! The whole shot is just under three minutes along and it's absolutely incredible.

[This message has been edited by Joel Mathis (edited January 14, 2000).]
Old 01-19-00, 01:01 AM
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If you guys enjoyed Hard Boiled may I also recommand A Better Tomorrow 1 and 2 ( I think Anchor Bay is rereleasing them in US). Both are John Woo movies and staring Chow Yun Fat. Awesome gun fights and pretty good plot.
Old 01-19-00, 03:45 PM
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I also really liked Hard Boiled...the SECOND time I saw it. The first time I saw it, I was not very impressed, probably because I was watching it on VHS and the picture was so muddy it was hard to tell what was going on (in dark scenes) and who was who (some of the actors look very similar). However, when watching it on DVD, you can appreciate the film for itself and not be distracted by the crappy presentation. Also, I think the plot is a little clumsily laid out, so its very confusing the first time around, but on the second viewing, all sense of confusion is gone. In this day and age, the only thing I could hope for would be a (good) 5.1 remix (what can I say, I really like subwoofer-intensive gunshots and explosions).

As compared to Woo's other films, it is one of his better ones that I have seen, although I haven't seen many of his foreign films. I think The Killer and Face/Off are still better, though. I'd have to watch them again to be sure, though.

As for A Better Tomorrow, I didn't really think it was that great. In fact, I'd say it is the worst John Woo movie I have seen (not counting that horrible TV movie he did awhile back). I saw it on DVD, so in theory that's the best possible presentation of it. I heard A Better Tomorrow 2 is actually better, but I haven't gotten around to seeing it yet.

If you're a fan of John Woo, I'd definitely advise you to pick up Hard Boiled while you still can. Even if you don't like it, you can sell it and get your money back (at least). If the only reason you want it is as an investment, I'd advise spending your time doing something else.

--Apparition
Old 01-19-00, 08:18 PM
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This is a great movie.
Spoiler below
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I really like when Chow has the flour all over him and shoots the guy in the floor and when the patients at the hospital get killed.

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