Film Reviews:


(John Woo, HK, 1992)

Guns, guns, guns!!! This film has guns aplenty, pyrotechnics and dead bodies too! It is an action packed film about two cops, Tequila and Alan. Jazz playing, match chewing Tequila is the "hardboiled" cop of the title, Alan, is working undercover within the Triad. Alan is working for the ageing Uncle Woo whose gun running operation is taken from him during the course of the film by the absolutely ruthless Johnny Wong. There is a fifth character worth mentioning, a man with a scarred face referred to only as Mad Dog, a delightfully shadowy figure who's fighting skills are the stuff of legend. The characters are perhaps rather cliché, a rebel cop with a tough boss, an old, almost respectable mobster and the up and coming bastard, but the film is all the more enjoyable for it.

The opening scenes are quite superb, they take place in a tea house full of men talking, eating dim sum and drinking tea, it is also full of caged song birds. The sounds and pictures are enchanting, they draw you in until, as a deal is struck, the whole place is suddenly ripped apart by a furious gun battle that leaves you on the edge of your seat! The action is spectacular with a lot of jumping over furniture, leaping through the air, whilst firing rapidly with a gun in each hand and culminating in the death of Tequilas partner, an incident that does not leave him. The film reaches its climax at a hospital with a battle that all but destroys the building with its intensity. This hospital seems to have more than its fair share of babies and the film nearly slides into farce when crack troops complete with balaclavas are employed to evacuate a room full of babies who are kept calm by having cotton wool put in their ears(!?), it is worth the effort to suspend disbelief. I must add that Mr Woos portrayal of women, is consistently deplorable. They are sidelined as irrational and emotional only interested in romance and babies. Oh Mr Woo! The film finishes with a showdown between Tequila and Johnny Wong, holding Alan hostage. It's a really enjoyable film, very accessible and, if you like action movies, this is one you should not miss.

Dinah Sanson