Hard Boiled

Hard Boiled

:"For the Frank Miller and Geof Darrow comic book, see Hard Boiled (comic). For the literary genre, see Hardboiled. For the food, see boiled eggs."

name = Hard Boiled

caption = Dragon Dynasty Region 1 DVD, released in 2007
writer = Barry Wong
John Woo
starring = Chow Yun-Fat
Tony Leung Chiu-Wai
director = John Woo
producer = Terence Chang
Linda Kuk
distributor = flagicon|Hong Kong Golden Princess Film Production Co. Ltd.
flagicon|USA The Weinstein Company (DVD)
flagicon|USA Dragon Dynasty (DVD)
flagicon|USA Rim (dubbed version)
flagicon|USA Criterion Collection (DVD)
released =
runtime = 126 min.
country = flagicon|Hong Kong Hong Kong
language = Cantonese
amg_id = 1:21553
imdb_id = 0104684
budget = $4,500,000 US (est.)
Followed by = "Stranglehold"

"Hard Boiled" (zh-tp|t=辣手神探|p=Làshǒu shéntàn; literally: "Hot-Handed God of Cops") is a 1992 Hong Kong action film directed by John Woo. It is also known as "God of Guns" (zh-tsp|t=鎗神/槍神|s=枪神|p=Qiāngshén). It was the last film Woo directed in his native Hong Kong before relocating to Hollywood. The movie begins as an apparently straightforward film about the bond between a detective and an undercover cop as they fight a triad gang. However, it develops into an over two hour action extravaganza, with a body count of 307. [http://www.moviebodycounts.com/Hard_Boiled.htm] It is structured around four major action setpieces: the opening teahouse shootout, the warehouse betrayal in the middle, the dock shootout, and the climactic thirty-minute hospital shootout.


In a teahouse in Hong Kong, a squad of police officers, led by Officer "Tequila" Yuen and his partner Benny, attempt to arrest a group of gun smugglers during a deal. Ambushed by another gang member, the police and gangsters engage in a fierce gun battle. Although the gangsters are defeated, several police officers are badly wounded, and Benny is killed. Tequila, knowing there are no witnesses, chooses to summarily execute the gangster who ambushed them to avenge Benny, rather than arrest him. This earns Tequila the wrath of his superior officer Superintendent Pang, who reveals the man was a senior member of a local triad gang and could have put all of them away with his testimony. Pang orders Tequila off the case.

Elsewhere in Hong Kong, Alan, a respected hitman working under "Uncle" Hoi, a Triad boss, meets with Johnny Wong, an opposing Triad boss, whose men were involved in the teahouse deal. Wong, looking to replace the senior man he lost there, attempts to recruit Alan. Alan is reluctant to turn against Hoi, who treats him well, but finds he has no choice when Wong conducts a raid on Hoi's arsenal and takes Alan with him. At Hoi's warehouse, Wong's men kill Hoi's workers and destroy his stock, knowing this will bring Hoi to the scene. Hoi arrives, and is taken prisoner, along with his entourage. Wong demands Alan be the one to kill him. Hoi, accepting that he is going to die, asks Alan to kill only him and spare his men. Alan, after much hesitation, finally kills Hoi, but then kills his men as well. Suddenly, smoke grenades explode and Tequila appears, determined to continue with the case against orders. Alan covers Wong's escape as Tequila fights and kills most of the gangsters, leaving Wong's second-in-command, Mad Dog, severely wounded. Having defeated the others, Tequila finds himself confronting Alan face to face in the smoke, where Tequila tries to shoot Alan, but finds he is out of bullets. Alan is free to kill Tequila, but slowly lowers his gun and walks away, smiling.

Tequila is angered to think he nearly killed an undercover cop. He confronts Pang over this, who confirms Alan's identity, but states it sometimes goes with the job, as one of the 'gangsters' Tequila killed at the teahouse was also undercover. Although he does not react, Tequila is horrified by this. Later, Tequila confronts Alan at his boat on the docks, to try to make sense of the situation, but they are suddenly attacked by the remnants of Hoi's gang, seeking revenge. They manage to kill their attackers just before Wong arrives, allowing Alan to keep his cover. Wong realises one of his men, Foxy, is an informant for the police, which is how Tequila knew about Wong's raid on Hoi's arsenal. He has him beaten by Mad Dog, and tells Alan to finish the job. Alan slips a cigarette lighter into Foxy's pocket, where he shoots him, saving his life. A badly wounded Foxy finds Tequila, and is able to inform him that Wong's own arsenal is in the nearby Maple Group Hospital. Tequila takes Foxy to the hospital for treatment, unaware that Wong owns it and is informed of their arrival. Asking to make up for his mistake, Alan goes to kill Foxy at the hospital. Wong, growing suspicious, also sends Mad Dog separately and two other men to cover Alan. At the hospital, Alan and Tequila kill the two others, then Alan confronts Tequila, demanding to know the whereabouts of Wong's arsenal, which has been his mission all along. While they are distracted, Foxy is discovered and killed by Mad Dog.

In the basement, Alan and Tequila discover Johnny Wong's arsenal. Inside, they are confronted by Mad Dog, engaging him in prolonged fight. Wong arrives and, seeing the arsenal has been compromised, locks the hospital down, taking all the patients and staff hostage. Also captured are a disguised Superintendent Pang and Officer Chang, Tequila's girlfriend, along with several undercover police. Mad Dog voices his disapproval of involving innocents, saying the fight should only be between the Triads and police, but Wong dismisses this. After fighting their way to the main lobby, Alan and Tequila liberate Pang and Chang and their squad. Pang evacuates the lobby and begins directing the fight from the outside, while Chang goes to the maternity ward to organise evacuating the babies. The rest of the squad disperse throughout the hospital to assist the fight. As Alan and Tequila continue the fight, Alan accidentally kills one of Pang's squad. He is shocked and unable to fight until Tequila reveals his own feelings of guilt about the undercover cop he killed at the teahouse. Coming to his senses, Alan finds and engages Mad Dog, while Tequila goes to assist Chang with the babies. After a long chase, Alan and Mad Dog find themselves confronting each other with a group of patients caught in the middle. They simultaneously lower their weapons and both order the patients to leave, but Wong appears and begins shooting the patients. An enraged Mad Dog tries to shoot Wong but is out of bullets, and Wong finally kills him as well. Alan escapes in the confusion. Tequila finds the last baby in the maternity unit and carries it while fighting off the last of the gangsters. Alan arrives and they are confronted by Johnny Wong, who has programmed bombs to blow up the building. Wong flees and Alan gives chase as the hospital begins exploding. Tequila escapes the hospital with the baby, barely getting out as the hospital is destroyed. Everyone assumes Wong and Alan are dead.

Suddenly, Wong appears, holding Alan at gunpoint. Calling Tequila out, he forces Tequila to humiliate himself in exchange for Alan's life. Enraged, Alan grabs the gun and in the struggle shoots himself through the stomach. This gives Tequila enough time to shoot Wong dead through the eye. Although the police are victorious, it seems Alan is dead. However, Pang and Tequila are the only ones aware that Alan has survived. As Pang burns Alan's file, Alan sails away from Hong Kong to his new life.


* Chow Yun-Fat - Inspector "Tequila" Yuen
* Tony Leung - Alan
* Teresa Mo - Teresa Chang
* Philip Chan - Supt. Pang
* Philip Kwok - Mad Dog
* Anthony Wong Chau-Sang (credited as Anthony Wong)- Johnny Wong
* Bowie Lam - Benny/Ah Lung
* Bobby Au-Yeung - Lionheart
* Ng Shui Ting - Tequila's assistant
* Kwan Hoi-Shan - Mr. Hoi
* Tung Wei - Foxy
* John Woo also participated in the movie as the man behind the bar who gives advice to Inspector "Tequila" Yuen


"Hard Boiled" opened on the same weekend as Jet Li and Tsui Hark's "Once Upon a Time in China II" and suffered for it, but still managed to be successful. "Hard Boiled" grossed $19,711,048 HKD during its Hong Kong run.

"Hard Boiled" is considered one of the best heroic bloodshed movies of all time, and perhaps the definitive example, if only for the bloodshed.Fact|date=February 2007 It increased John Woo's and Chow Yun Fat's popularity outside Hong Kong, and gained a unique cult status among genre fans worldwide.Fact|date=February 2007

In the June 22, 2007 issue of "Entertainment Weekly", this was stated as the "9th greatest action film of all time". The film was also ranked #7 on the magazine's "The Cult 25: The Essential Left-Field Movie Hits Since '83" list.cite news | last = | first = | coauthors = | title = The Cult 25: The Essential Left-Field Movie Hits Since '83" list | work = Entertainment Weekly | pages = | language = | publisher = | date = September 3, 2008 | url = http://www.ew.com/ew/gallery/0,,20221982_18,00.html | accessdate = 2008-09-04 ]


- "*****. More exciting than a dozen Die Hards." - Empire Magazine

- "John Woo's action sequences are first rate...as enchanting and graceful as a ballet!" - Esquire

- "The action sequences are among the best ever filmed." - Andy Klien, Asian film expert

- "Hold on to your seats!" - Premiere (magazine)

- "An action fan's dream!" - New York Daily News

- "...nirvana for seekers of action.." - Marc Savlov, Austin Chronicle

- "One of the best action films of all time." - James Rocchi, Netflix


The Weinstein Company owned Dragon Dynasty label, which distributes Asian action films as collector's items, released a "2-Disc Ultimate Version" of the film on 26th July 2007, along with another John Woo film, "Last Hurrah for Chivalry". The film is presented in anamorphic 1.85:1 widescreen with optional Cantonese Dolby Digital and DTS (Digital Theater System) 5.1, as well as an English 5.1 dub. The extras are a commentary by Hong Kong cinema expert Bey Logan on the first disc, as well as interviews with director John Woo and producer Terence Chang and a sneak peek at the upcoming game sequel Stranglehold (video game) on the second disc. However, on the internet criticism sparked over the release as owners of the DVD made several complaints after comparing the DVD with previous editions. One example is that the English subtitles available on the DVD are not genuine subtitles, but dubtitles made by a previous dub for the Criterion Collection version. Another complaint is that the film's original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 is cropped to 1.66:1, thus making the characters look slightly fat.

"Hard Boiled" is also available in a DVD-9 Region 0 PAL disc by United Kingdom distributor Tartan Asia Extreme featuring anamorphic presentation, 5.1 surround sound in Dolby (Cantonese and English) and DTS (Cantonese), and newly-created English subtitles. It is unedited, but only 122 minutes long due to PAL time-compression.

The current Hong Kong DVD of the movie is a DVD-9 dual-layer Region 0 NTSC version from Mei Ah Entertainment featuring featuring anamorphic presentation, 5.1 surround sound in Dolby (Cantonese and Mandarin) and DTS (Cantonese). Subtitles include Chinese (traditional and simplified), Japanese, and English. It is unedited and 128 minutes long.

There is a Taiwanese DVD that includes a cut of the film that is 5 minutes longer, and features radically different editing in the final hospital section of the film, with a few more shots of the violence ensuing making up the extra footage.

Long take

"Hard Boiled" includes a famous action sequence in a burning hospital that is a single handheld camera long take lasting 2 minutes and 42 seconds in which Chow Yun-Fat and Tony Leung alternately fight off enemies in frantically choreographed action and engage in emotional dialogue, through many corridors and rooms spanning two levels of the hospital, including an intervening elevator ride. On the Criterion DVD, an entire chapter (appropriately titled "Two minutes, forty-two seconds") is devoted to this shot.


John Woo collaborated with Midway Games on "Stranglehold", a 2007 console game sequel starring Tequila. The highest difficulty of the game is, appropriately, "Hard-Boiled".

The PlayStation 3 version of the Collector's Edition of "Stranglehold" contains the only high-definition version of the movie "Hard Boiled" currently available (as of November, 2007) as an option off the main menu. It is only watchable on the PlayStation 3, and not other Blu-ray players, and as it is played back from inside the game as opposed to the standard PS3 movie player, lacks many common playback options such as fast forwarding, rewinding, or the ability to change subtitle or language tracks during movie playback (though subtitles and language tracks are selectable from the main menu).

Cultural references

* The movie was referenced in "Infernal Affairs" (2002), not only with Tony Leung's character again playing a cop working undercover for the triads, but an obvious homage to the scene where Leung's character receives surveillance gear from his superintendent along with a birthday gift. The difference being that in "Hard Boiled" Tony Leung receives a lighter and in "Infernal Affairs" he receives a watch. Also the superintendent from "Infernal Affairs" was played by Anthony Wong Chau Sang, the main villain of "Hard Boiled".
* Though it was only referred to after its UK video release, the film "The Last Blood" directed by Wong Jing starring Andy Lau is sometimes released or referred to under the title "Hard Boiled 2: Last Blood" (despite being released earlier than "Hard Boiled").
* The title of the film (辣手神探) is part of the Chinese title for the Clint Eastwood film "Dirty Harry" (zh-cpl|c=辣手神探夺命枪|p=Làshǒu shéntàn duómìng qiāng|l=Hot-Handed God of Cops Killer Gun).
* In the video game "", the weapons training level is an exact replica of the opening teahouse shootout in this film, down to Neo wearing the same outfit as Chow Yun-Fat.
* The video game "Max Payne" contains several references to "Hard Boiled", including "Bullet Time", a slow motion mode, and many of the relentless action sequences are undeniably similar (a warehouse shootout, for example). One of the game's difficulty modes is in fact called Hard Boiled. More blatantly a password into a mafia barricade is "John Woo".
* A character in the Time Crisis video game series called Wild Dog is an obvious reference to the villain Mad Dog in Hard Boiled. Wild Dog wears an eyepatch much like Mad Dog who later wears one in the hospital scenes of the film.
* In the morgue scene when Tequila and Alan look for a secret passage into the underground part of the hospital, Alan pulls a corpse out resembling Bruce Lee, even wearing a yellow jumpsuit similar to the one Lee donned in the film "Game of Death"
* The movie is referenced in the song " Mac 10 Handle" by rapper Prodigy (of Mobb Deep) and is also shown playing on television in the music video.
*It's parodied in the anime Gintama,episode 84 and 85.
*In the Family Guy episode 206,"Death is a Bitch", inspector Tequila appears in the gunfight at the bar, diving through the air firing two guns.

ee also

* Heroic bloodshed
* Cinema of Hong Kong

External links

* [http://www.criterion.com/asp/release.asp?id=9&eid=51&section=essay Criterion Collection essay by Barbara Scharres]
* [http://www.moviebodycounts.com/Hard_Boiled.htm Movie Body Counts Site where the film is broken into sections]
* [http://dvdcompare.net/comparisons/film.php?fid=530 Comparison of different DVD versions at DVDCompare.net]


After "A Better Tomorrow" (1986) ("A god is someone who controls his destiny.") and "God of Gamblers" (1989)

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • hard-boiled — adj 1.) a hard boiled egg has been boiled until it becomes solid →↑soft boiled 2.) informal a) not showing your emotions and not influenced by your feelings = ↑tough ▪ a hard boiled marketing executive b) hard boiled film/thriller/fict …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • hard-boiled — hard boiledness, n. /hahrd boyld /, adj. 1. Cookery. (of an egg) boiled in the shell long enough for the yolk and white to solidify. 2. Informal. tough; unsentimental: a hard boiled vice squad detective. 3. marked by a direct, clear headed… …   Universalium

  • hard-boiled — adj. 1. same as {hard bitten}. Syn: hard bitten, pugnacious. [WordNet 1.5] 2. emotionally hardened; used of persons. Syn: callous, case hardened, hardened. [WordNet 1.5] 3. cooked until the yolk is solid; used of eggs; as, a breakfast of pancakes …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • hard-boiled — hard′ boiled′ adj. 1) coo (of an egg) boiled in the shell long enough for the yolk and white to solidify 2) inf unsentimental or realistic; tough: a hard boiled detective[/ex] • Etymology: 1715–25 hard′ boiled′ness, n …   From formal English to slang

  • hard-boiled — (adj.) also hardboiled, 1723 in reference to eggs, from HARD (Cf. hard) + BOILED (Cf. boiled). In transferred sense severe, tough, from 1886 …   Etymology dictionary

  • hard-boiled — hard boi·led s.m.inv. ES ingl. {{wmetafile0}} TS lett., cinem. genere poliziesco caratterizzato da una visione cinica e cruda della realtà: anche in funz. agg.inv.: romanzo, film hard boiled {{line}} {{/line}} DATA: 1962. ETIMO: ingl. hard boiled …   Dizionario italiano

  • hard-boiled — [ ,hard bɔıld ] adjective 1. ) a hard boiled egg has been cooked in boiling water until it is solid inside 2. ) INFORMAL not showing any sympathy for other people …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • hard-boiled — /ardˈbɔiled, ingl. ˈhɑːdˌbɔɪləd/ [vc. ingl., propr. «bollito (boiled, part. pass. di to boil) (fino a diventare) sodo, duro (hard)», e fig. «indurito dall esperienza»] s. m. inv. poliziesco, noir (fr.) CFR. giallo …   Sinonimi e Contrari. Terza edizione

  • hard-boiled — hard boiled; hard boiled·ness; …   English syllables

  • hard-boiled — hard bitten hard bitten hard boiled hard boiledadj. not given to sentimentality or gentleness; of people; as, a hard bitten character. Syn: pugnacious, tough. [WordNet 1.5 +PJC] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • hard-boiled — [adj] tough callous, firm, hard as nails*, hard line*, hard nosed*, hard shelled*, headstrong, inflexible, obdurate, obstinate, rough, stern, strict, unbending, unfeeling; concepts 403,542 …   New thesaurus

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