This and 'The Killer' were the two breakout films that got John Woo noticed in Hollywood and its not hard to see why. In an era of action films ruled by Schwarzenegger, Stallone and Van Damme, it was John Woo who breathed new life into the genre with his own brand of coolness.
'Hard Boiled' is, on paper, a conventional thriller about a reckless Hong Kong cop who is out for revenge against a gun-smuggling ring. Along the way, he encounters an undercover cop already on the case who he eventually partners up with. Although the story is pretty ordinary, lacking the emotional drama of 'The Killer', the action is non-stop and represents Woo at the top of his game.
Once again, Woo delivers awesome shootouts and insane stuntwork in a relentlessly entertaining action flick. In fact, you can break the film down into a series of set-pieces which include a eyepopping shootout at a teahouse and a bloodsoaked 40 minute finale inside a hospital. The standout moment of the film is a one-take action sequence that follows the two men through the hospital and is nothing short of amazing.
Chow Yun Fat returns as the hard-boiled cop and Tony Leung is his undercover ally. Both men exert coolness throughout the film and their scenes together are always entertaining. 'The Killer' is may have a better storyline but as far as action goes, you can't get any better than 'Hard Boiled'.