8-9 Hard Boiled and The Killer

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
Post Reply
Message
Author
Martha
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 8:53 pm
Location: all up in thurr

8-9 Hard Boiled and The Killer

#1 Post by Martha » Sat Feb 12, 2005 8:48 pm

The Killer

[img]http://criterion_production.s3.amazonaws.com/release_images/1592/8_killers_w100.jpg[/img]

Hong Kong's preeminent director John Woo transforms genres from both the East and the West to create this explosive and masterful action film. Featuring Hong Kong's greatest star, Chow Yun-fat, as a killer with a conscience, the film is an exquisite dissection of morals in a corrupt society, highlighted with slow-motion sequences of brilliantly choreographed gun battles on the streets of Hong Kong.

Special Features

- Exclusive film-to-tape transfer approved by director John Woo
- Commentary by John Woo and production executive Terence Chang
- Deleted Scenes
- The theatrical trailer
- Optional English subtitles

Criterionforum.org user rating averages



Hard Boiled

[img]http://criterion_production.s3.amazonaws.com/release_images/203/9_box_348x490_w100.jpg[/img]

Violence as poetry, rendered by a master--brilliant and passionate, John Woo's Hard Boiled tells the story of jaded detective "Tequila" Yuen (played with controlled fury by Chow Yun-fat). Woo's dizzying odyssey through the world of Hong Kong Triads, undercover agents, and frenzied police raids culminates unforgettably in the breathless hospital sequence. More than a cops-and-bad-guys story, Hard Boiled continually startles with its originality and dark humor.

Special Features

- Optimal image quality: dual-layer edition
- Audio commentary by John Woo, producer Terence Chang, filmmaker Roger Avary, and critic Dave Kehr
- Trailers for 11 of Woo's Hong Kong films
- A student film by Woo
- Optional English subtitles and dubbed track
- Guide to Hong Kong crime films
- Notes on Hard Boiled

Criterionforum.org user rating averages


User avatar
Taketori Washizu
Joined: Fri Jun 03, 2005 10:32 am

Hard Boiled

#2 Post by Taketori Washizu » Fri Jun 03, 2005 10:54 am

Criterion needs to re-release Hard Boiled with The Killer since the Fox Lorber edition is also out of print, and the films are currently unavailable in Region 1 !

User avatar
Fletch F. Fletch
Big fan of the former president
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 3:54 pm
Location: Provo, Utah

Hard Boiled

#3 Post by Fletch F. Fletch » Fri Jun 03, 2005 12:49 pm

Taketori Washizu wrote:Criterion needs to re-release Hard Boiled with The Killer since the Fox Lorber edition is also out of print, and the films are currently unavailable in Region 1 !
If memory serves Miramax/Buena Vista owns the Region 1 rights now. Who knows when they'll release 'em.

User avatar
Taketori Washizu
Joined: Fri Jun 03, 2005 10:32 am

#4 Post by Taketori Washizu » Fri Jun 03, 2005 11:37 pm

Fletch F. Fletch wrote:If memory serves Miramax/Buena Vista owns the Region 1 rights now. Who knows when they'll release 'em.
That doesn't sound encouraging.

User avatar
Highway 61
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 4:40 pm

The Killer

#5 Post by Highway 61 » Wed Sep 28, 2005 9:47 pm

Did those Wellspring John Woo releases just recently go out of print? Or did they lose the rights ages ago to some other company?

User avatar
dx23
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 8:52 pm
Location: Puerto Rico

The Killer

#6 Post by dx23 » Wed Sep 28, 2005 10:17 pm

Did those Wellspring John Woo releases just recently go out of print? Or did they lose the rights ages ago to some other company?
If I remember correctly, Buena Vista owns now most of John Woo films and they have been sitting on it for several years now.

User avatar
Alain3000
Joined: Sat Nov 13, 2004 8:21 pm
Location: MA

The Killer

#7 Post by Alain3000 » Wed Sep 28, 2005 11:07 pm

Haven't The Killer and Hard-Boiled and Bullet in the Head not been released by BV on DVD because John Woo didn't want them released in any version but his prefered cuts?

User avatar
cdnchris
Site Admin
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 2:45 pm
Location: Washington
Contact:

Hard Boiled

#8 Post by cdnchris » Sat Jan 14, 2006 1:18 pm

Hard Boiled has grown on me a bit. I was never really a big fan of it. The action sequence at the end got a little tedious after 5 hours (what felt like it, anyways) of shooting and there were just too many times where I would be shaking my head and rolling my eyes. I could always suspend disbelief with Woo's films but this one pushed me. I definitely preferred The Killer and even A Better Tomorrow (and A Better Tomorrow 2 for that matter.)

But I watched it again not too long ago and found that I enjoyed it a lot more. Leung and Chow Yun-fat are a pretty cool team, and the action sequences are definitely more impressive than what is offered today. I'm finding the action movies so dull nowadays, maybe because of the dependence on CGI. The scenes in this one are far more exciting. I still think the end went on FAR too long, but I was more forgiving this go around.

I probably like it more only because I'm comparing it to the action movies offered in the past few years. There's just not the same amount of imagination being put into them, even Woo's are suffering from this. There all so by the numbers. I watched Commando for the first time in years as well and it was scary how much that movie seemed like a breath of fresh air.

This DVD is pretty cool, though. The sound and video are questionable, BUT the supplements are great. I haven't listened to it in years but remember the commentary being excellent and got a kick out of all of the trailers. I debated on picking this one up for a while after it was released but am glad I did pick it up.

User avatar
Fletch F. Fletch
Big fan of the former president
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 3:54 pm
Location: Provo, Utah

Hard Boiled

#9 Post by Fletch F. Fletch » Tue Jan 17, 2006 10:46 am

Taketori Washizu wrote:
Fletch F. Fletch wrote:If memory serves Miramax/Buena Vista owns the Region 1 rights now. Who knows when they'll release 'em.
That doesn't sound encouraging.
I know a lot people prefer The Killer over Hard Boiled but I feel that the two films complement each other well. While the former is John Woo's loving homage to Le Samourai and is probably richer thematically speaking (and character-wise), I like the latter a little more, if only because it is such an unabashed, balls-to-the-wall action film. Looking back, it is also Woo's last great movie (Face/Off has its moments but let's face it, much of the action is recycled from his Hong Kong period). You've got a great match up between Tony Leung and Chow Yun-Fat (Danny Lee is fine in The Killer but he just does not compare to someone of Leung's ability). Anthony Wong is great as the psychotic criminal mastermind...

I watched this movie again recently after quite some time and am still impressed by the action sequences in this movie. And I'd still rank 'em higher than anything that's come since. It just goes to show what you can still do without CGI. The teahouse gun battle that opens the film is so well done and beautifully choreographed right down to that iconic image of Chow Yun-Fat sliding down the railing with both guns blasting. Or the warehouse shoot-out with Chow jumping over a sliding motorcycle while still firing his shotgun. And, of course, the amazing showdown at the hospital that somehow manages to top everything that came before it (like that long take where Chow Yun-Fat and Tony Leung go through the hospital wiping out the bad guys). Great stuff.
cdnchris wrote:But I watched it again not too long ago and found that I enjoyed it a lot more. Leung and Chow Yun-fat are a pretty cool team, and the action sequences are definitely more impressive than what is offered today. I'm finding the action movies so dull nowadays, maybe because of the dependence on CGI. The scenes in this one are far more exciting. I still think the end went on FAR too long, but I was more forgiving this go around.
Really? That's interesting. I never felt that it went on too long but I can see how some may feel that way. To me, the action sequences are integral to the movie and are actually a part of the narrative. Plus, I think Woo felt that he had to somehow top everything that came before and an approx. 30 minute showdown was the way to go.
I probably like it more only because I'm comparing it to the action movies offered in the past few years. There's just not the same amount of imagination being put into them, even Woo's are suffering from this. There all so by the numbers. I watched Commando for the first time in years as well and it was scary how much that movie seemed like a breath of fresh air.
It's funny that you mention this. I just picked up the spiffy 2-DVD SE of Predator and it has aged pretty well -- even all that classic, cheesy action dialogue -- but John McTiernan builds the suspense well and I always remember it for being the only Schwarzenegger film where I thought he might actually get killed/met his match and, really, if you think about it, he spends the movie getting his ass kicked by the Predator.
This DVD is pretty cool, though. The sound and video are questionable, BUT the supplements are great. I haven't listened to it in years but remember the commentary being excellent and got a kick out of all of the trailers. I debated on picking this one up for a while after it was released but am glad I did pick it up.
Esp. considering how rare it is. Yeah, this is a nice DVD with the highlight being the commentary track.

Guest

Hard Boiled

#10 Post by Guest » Tue Jan 17, 2006 11:14 am

Fletch F. Fletch wrote: And, of course, the amazing showdown at the hospital that somehow manages to top everything that came before it (like that long take where Chow Yun-Fat and Tony Leung go through the hospital wiping out the bad guys). Great stuff.
The hospital scene is Woo at his truest. The traditional narration is suspended and the action and its stylization is allowed to tell the rest of the story. The term poetry in motion truely applies here.

User avatar
LightBulbFilm
Joined: Wed Nov 16, 2005 5:11 pm
Location: Florida
Contact:

Hard Boiled

#11 Post by LightBulbFilm » Tue Jan 17, 2006 11:44 am

Didn't fox Lorber recently change some how? Or change their name or something... Cause now it's Koch Lorber, I believe... Maybe this meaqns re-releases of this and The Killer and possibly a long awaited Criterion Z release?

User avatar
Andre Jurieu
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 3:38 pm
Location: Back in Milan (Ind.)

Hard Boiled

#12 Post by Andre Jurieu » Tue Jan 17, 2006 11:54 am

Fox Lorber became Wellspring (which is now being bought by the Weinsteins?). Koch Lorber is another separate company, which is owned in part by the guy who started Fox Lorber.

Anonymous

#13 Post by Anonymous » Tue Jan 17, 2006 12:11 pm

LightBulbFilm wrote:Didn't fox Lorber recently change some how? Or change their name or something... Cause now it's Koch Lorber, I believe... Maybe this meaqns re-releases of this and The Killer and possibly a long awaited Criterion Z release?

I believe Buena Vista has the rights to this and The Killer now along with the rest of Woo's hong kong films.

User avatar
LightBulbFilm
Joined: Wed Nov 16, 2005 5:11 pm
Location: Florida
Contact:

#14 Post by LightBulbFilm » Tue Jan 17, 2006 1:10 pm

smw356 wrote:I believe Buena Vista has the rights to this and The Killer now along with the rest of Woo's hong kong films.
Well, Buena Vista allows their rights to be distributed by Criterion... Why doesn't Criterion try and re-release these bad boys?

Guest

Hard Boiled

#15 Post by Guest » Thu Apr 20, 2006 5:05 pm

I think I found an easter egg on the Hard Boiled disc. The problem is, I can't figure out how to get to it on a normal DVD player. The only way I know how to get to it is to put the disc in the computer and open up the files there (I use DVD shrink). One of the files on the disc (title 1 in the extras section) looks like another student film starring John Woo. It is 4 minutes, 40 seconds long and shows him doing some chores. I searched the internet and couldn't find any record of this existing.. does anyone know what it is or how to get to it from the menu?

Cinesimilitude
Joined: Tue Jul 09, 2013 12:43 am

Hard Boiled

#16 Post by Cinesimilitude » Thu Apr 20, 2006 6:23 pm

This is similar to the Seven Samurai ReIssue hidden VOB file (the restoration demo), which is not accessible by menu, because Criterion lost the rights to it, I think.

the hard boiled one is VTS_01_01.VOB, and using a dvd authoring tool I have, I couldnt find any hidden buttons on all the hard boiled pages to lead you to it.
Last edited by Guest on Thu Apr 20, 2006 6:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Faux Hulot
Jack Of All Tirades
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 11:57 am
Location: Location, Location

Hard Boiled

#17 Post by Faux Hulot » Thu Apr 20, 2006 6:26 pm

Son of a gun... never heard of that one. Good eye! I couldn't find a menu option for it either (hidden or otherwise), but here's how I was able to view it on my TV. On your computer, open the DVD as a folder, and go into the folder named VIDEO_TS. Copy the file entitled VTS_01_1.VOB to your hard drive. Simply burn to a regular CDR, and voila! It should play back fine on your desktop player. The deleted "restoration demo" from the Seven Samurai disc can be retrieved in the same manner.

This must've been dropped from the final cut fairly late in the production process, but you have to wonder why it wasn't deleted altogether. Sure would like to know what happened.

Cinesimilitude
Joined: Tue Jul 09, 2013 12:43 am

Hard Boiled

#18 Post by Cinesimilitude » Thu Apr 20, 2006 6:46 pm

I bet there are more hidden VOBs just waiting to be discovered, and not only on criterion dvds... but I have neither the time nor patience to go looking through my entire collection.

User avatar
Matt
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 12:58 pm

#19 Post by Matt » Tue Jul 25, 2006 5:29 pm

It took some digging to find this out, but it looks like Hard Boiled and The Killer will be two of the titles released through The Weinstein Company's DVD venture with Tarantino, Dragon Dynasty.

Cinesimilitude
Joined: Tue Jul 09, 2013 12:43 am

Killer and Hard Boiled

#20 Post by Cinesimilitude » Tue Jul 25, 2006 5:34 pm

And Weinstein Co. support HD-DVD, which gets me really excited for an HD release of Killer and Hard Boiled.

User avatar
Buttery Jeb
Just in it for the game.
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 10:55 pm

#21 Post by Buttery Jeb » Wed Jul 26, 2006 12:28 am

...and "Bullet In the Head," which the Weinsteins have been sitting on for just as long a time.

-BJ

JHunter
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 7:47 pm
Location: Philly

#22 Post by JHunter » Wed Jul 26, 2006 2:53 am

Taking a look at the first Dragon Dynasty release, it seems like Bey Logan is turning the line into Hong Kong Legends: USA. Other than the ridiculous renaming of "Sha Po Lang" to "Kill Zone", it appears to be a fantastic edition. This bodes well for their future releases.

Here are the specs for SPL

User avatar
Tribe
The Bastard Spawn of Hank Williams
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 7:59 pm
Location: Toledo, Ohio
Contact:

The Killer laserdisc essay

#23 Post by Tribe » Sat Sep 23, 2006 3:53 pm

Anyone aware of any site on-line where I might be able to find the text of the original essay that accompanied The Killer release? The Criterion site doesn't have it .

Tribe

User avatar
souvenir
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 12:20 pm

Liner notes for Criterion Collection laserdisc of The Killer

#24 Post by souvenir » Sat Sep 23, 2006 4:23 pm

Liner notes for the Criterion Collection laserdisc of The Killer:
David Chute wrote:The Killer is one of the most passionate and exhilarating gangster movies ever made. Written and directed by Hong Kong filmmaker John Woo, the film is the propulsive account of a super-cool Hong Kong hitman's final assignment, after he seals his own fate with an unexpected spasm of remorse. Borrowing inspiration from doom-laden French crime movies like Jean-Pierre Melville's Le Samourai and ancient Chinese chronicles of patriotic assassins, the film is a passionate cinematic upheaval. To some aesthetic puritans, John Woo's crime movies pile on a bit too much of everything: they are too violent, too melodramatic, altogether too emotionally unself-conscious. But in fact, Woo's gangster films are fascinating precisely because they are such multifaceted hybrids. They refract familiar Western pop cultural elements through an Eastern lens, and the most debased conventions come back looking fresh, reimagined, "made strange."

While The Killer is aggressively violent, there is an undercurrent of pure sensuous enjoyment in the images of death by gunfire, as scores of perforated mobsters expire in languorous slow motion. "Life's cheap," a cop in the movie suggests. "It only takes one bullet." But in practice, it always takes about a dozen geysering bullet hits to kill anybody here, as grim Triads in mirrored shades and duster overcoats blaze away with high-tech weaponry.

Despite his sanguinary reputation, John Woo wasn't born as a filmmaker with a 9mm Beretta in his hand. Throughout the 1970s and early 1980s he was an increasingly frustrated comedy director. In 1986 his first gunplay film, the disarmingly romantic and heartfelt A Better Tomorrow, became the biggest box-office hit in Hong Kong movie history, and its gifted leading man, Chow Yun-fat, became Hong Kong's top box-office attraction. Over the next few years, hundreds of Better Tomorrow carbon copies were cranked out, mob movies with English titles like Brotherhood, Born Brothers, Sworn Brothers, and even Flaming Brothers.

The Killer appeared in 1989, summing up, and topping, the entire gangster-gunplay cycle. The plot is ripeness itself: A warbling torch singer named Jenny (Sally Yeh) is accidentally blinded during a slaying in a night club, and Chow's character, a world-weary ace assassin (he is renamed "John" in the English subtitles) drags himself out of retirement to take on a final assignment so that he can buy her a new set of corneas.

The blinded singer and the killer develop a wan affection for each other, but the most intense relationship by far is the brotherhood that develops between The Killer and the idealistic cop (Danny Lee) who has sworn to bring him down. Although a relatively conventional strong-and-silent action hero, Lee brings an unusual depth of feeling to the role. Empathizing with John's yearning for a better life, the upright policeman recognizes himself in The Killer. When the cop elects to set his worldly duty aside temporarily to stand shoulder to shoulder with his new soul brother against the armies of the night, John can only shake his head over the irony of it all: "The only person who really knows me turns out to be a cop!"

Many of the outsized gestures in Woo's films, the unrestrained bold strokes of emotion and melodrama, are a tough sell to fans of American-style action films, which nowadays are as coolly brutal as possible. But if Sam Peckinpah's most characteristic sequences are blood ballets, then surely Woo's are Chinese blood operas. The interludes of rapturous slaughter are like arias, releasing the tension that has been accumulating in the "recitative" passages of dialog. John Woo takes violence out of the realm of shock and spectacle and turns it back into a tragically self-defeating human activity, committed by fully fleshed out characters for reasons that make sense -- at least to them.

John Woo's clearest explication of his tough-minded world view may be his harrowing epic of the Vietnam war, Bullet in the Head. But even his early swordplay picture, Last Hurrah for Chivalry, is set in a corrupt medieval Chinese milieu in which absolutely everything has a price tag. "But I paid 1,000 taels of gold for her!" gasps a rich landlord, after being skewered by his demure new bride, a former prostitute. "Yes," sneers his enemy, "but I paid her 2,000 taels for killing you. Once a whore, always a whore."

The Killer is about two men who become friends because they both want to stop being whores, to live lives that don't constantly grate against their sensibilities and their values. While the movie suggests that this may not be possible anymore, at least not for these two, the attempt itself is portrayed with great respect. Finally, in the world according to John Woo, everyone you meet is potentially either your assassin or your best friend -- if not both. (David Chute)

Inside Cover:

It is possible that the Hong Kong gangster-gunplay film cycle would never have taken off at all, especially with the Hong Kong audience, had it not been for Chow Yun-fat. Chow embodies John Woo's romantic conception of heroism with so much flair that he has become an icon, worshiped by sullen young Hong Kong males who copy his clothes, his shades, and his mannerisms.

Chow Yun-fat is an incongruous object of adoration becuase he's a populist entertainer, not a self-styled pop aristocrat like many American stars. In interviews he stresses the modesty of his birth in an island village, his impoverished childhood, his early blue collar employment as a cab driver and hotel porter, and supporting his widowed mother and four siblings. At 17, in 1973, Chow won a spot in the free show biz training program offered by a Hong Kong television network. After a few years spent playing smaller roles, he became an idol in TV serials like Hotel and Shanghai Bund. His feature caree perked along in second gear until 1986, when A Better Tomorrow kicked him into the stratosphere.

All the really irreplaceable movie star personae, like the greatest emblematic characters in novels, are just a bit more vividly individual than the rest of us. They are sometimes called "axioms of the cinema" because they can not be defined by comparision; they are th basis of comparison. This is a fancy way of saying that the breadth of Chow's appeal has no exact equivalent in this country. No American movie star has ever been equally popular as a clown, a lover, and a fighter, all at th same time -- and sometimes all in the same movie.

At 38, Chow Yun-fat has made literally hundreds of films, 12 in 1988 alone. He seems to have tried every kind of role at least once. He pranced around in drag in the hambone sex farce Eighth Happiness, fired a rocket launcher at a giant flying jungle skeleton in the gross-out horror show The Seventh Curse, and pined handsomely in the love-and-reincarnation melodrama Dream Lovers. He has also turned in delicate, naturalistic portarayals in some of Hong Kong's rare art movies: Ann Hui's The Story of Woo Viet, Mabel Chueng's An Autumn's Tale, Stanley Kwan's Love Unto Waste, and Alex Law's Now You See Love, Now You Don't.

The John Woo gunplay films, as exemplified by The Killer, gain much of their power form the grounded emotional reality Chow Yun-fat confers upon their heroes. Even in his most stylized roles, this wonderful actor gives us a sense of a complete man and a lifetime of experience. His soulfulness adds a fine grain of detail to the broadest gestures of melodrama and slapstick farce.(DC)

User avatar
Tribe
The Bastard Spawn of Hank Williams
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 7:59 pm
Location: Toledo, Ohio
Contact:

The Killer

#25 Post by Tribe » Sat Sep 23, 2006 4:41 pm

souvenir wrote:Liner notes for the Criterion Collection laserdisc of The Killer
Thanks much.

Post Reply