Hard Boiled (1992)
The Most Action-Packed Film of Alltime.
Action movies are awesome. I love them, a lot of other people love them. With the recent hullabaloo about Fury Road, I was having a bit of a retrospective about "best action movies" I've ever scene with a pal, and after a moment of revving up my remember-er, amongst the slew of things that came to mind there was one scene that happened to pop into my mind. That scene is contained within this movie, and became a bit famous after it's release for being one giant, continual take. Turn on the stove, it's time to get boiled.
Here we have a story of cops. Crime has gotten out of hand, and cops seem to be on the lower level of success. Undoubtedly, some of this may be contributed to communication issues between the normal officers and the undercover officers, but we can get into that later. Our main man Tequila and his partner are on a bust at a tea house - a bust that quickly goes out of control. A massive gunfight erupts, and casualties are happening all over the place as we quickly find out that the criminals certainly don't give two hoots about civilian life. The crooks end up going down, but the last one takes out Tequila's partner. Filled full of rage, he ends up taking down the final crook, only to find out from his captain that it was an undercover cop. This starts a bit of a vendetta for Tequila that keeps him on the case of finding the arms dealer responsible for this bad turn of events through the rest of the movie.
In the criminal world, a seeming up and comer finds himself with a hard choice to make. A potential new job comes up, but unfortunately it ends up putting him on the other side of the gun of his old boss. Although he respects the boss, he doesn't have any real choice in the switching sides ordeal, and it's made even more rough when Tequila shows up and starts killing gangsters. As he covers for his new boss's escape, him and another gangster who should probably have a "named" status try and fend off Tequila with some dynamic gunfire. Of course, the turn on his old boss nets even more negative effects outside of his conscience when a hit squad shows up at his boat and tries to take him out.
Of course, things aren't as simple as they would original seem, as Tequila finds out that this up-and-comer is actually an undercover cop himself. He's actually there to get some info from him at his boat when the hit comes in, but manages to escape being noticed by the arms dealer and his gang when they show up. The big draw on their mutual quest at this point is to find where the arms dealer is actually keeping all of his guns - something a local informant knows. The baddies find out that he's most likely an informant, and decide to take him out of the picture - thanks to the undercover cop however he barely survives the ordeal. Tequila takes him to the hospital, and finds out the guns are actually stored in that very spot - the hospital. What ensues is a dramatic series of gun battles as the two cops try and take down the crooks and save the hospital.
Plot here is solid enough, particularly for a cop flick. Its got the twists and turns (which partially I probably just ruined for you in that plot breakdown, but people want it in these so sorry for that). Its got the massive number of guns and actions. Actors do a pleasant job, although the dub isn't always the best as far as syncing goes - something that doesn't really bother me too much, although people aren't always as forgiving as me. Characters also have a nice amount of character to them, if that makes sense - how they act and mannerisms and the likes.
Action scenes here are wonderful. John Woo can make some splendid action, and it really shows here. From diving through the air whilst firing one or two guns, to over-dramatic shotgun explosions, to sparks and over-dramatic squib usages. At one point, there's actually a scene that was done in one take that runs it's course over 2 minutes and 43 seconds long, including the set being changed out and explosives re-set in the mere 20 or so seconds in which the two main characters are conversing in an elevator. It's amazingly done - even if at times things can be a bit goofy (such as slow-mo during the two swapping sides of the hallway) - and it's probably one of the main reasons this movie is one of the best action movies around.
The thing about John Woo is that he gets pretty artsy at times, and it's not always stuff that I actually think into. It's a side effect of watching movies for enjoyment - most of the time I shut my brain into standby so I can just enjoy whatever candy is fed to my eyes and ears. That being said, you get the sense that there are a lot of little topics that someone could dig down into - such as the emphasis on the baby rescue in the middle of this hospital-wide gunfight. The thing about a good action flick is that it really doesn't require that depth-of-thought, but when it is in fact there, and the characters are more than just muscly stand-ins to spew one-liners, it can be more readily appreciated by a wider audience and talked about in more terms than onomatopoeia.
I feel that this is one that everyone should try and pick up for at least a rental. If your an action fan, or a cop movie fan, then you may even want to buy it - but I always feel a movie should be seen before you full-out buy it, as one person's taste doesn't apply to everyone. If nothing else, it's a classic, and if nothing else the final act is just an absolute blast to watch.