While looking over at something to watch as the night wore on I came across a film that I still consider to this day one of the best action films ever made. People may try and guess that I’m looking at a Michael Bay flick (wrong). Maybe it’s a John McTiernan classic 80′s actioner (wrong again). Or maybe it’s one of those Luc Besson Euro-action flicks which became such the rage amongst the hipster cineaste during the 90′s (wrong thrice). No the film I’m talking about comes from Hong Kong and was the last actin film directed by the master of bullet ballet himself, John Woo, before he left for Hollywood to try his luck.
The film is Hard Boiled and it has so many iconic film scenes that it would be difficult to just choose which one I love. So, I decided to go right at the beginning and picked the “Tea House” gun fight which opens up the film. To call this scene awesome would be an understatement. The scene looks like chaos the moment the first gun goes off, but looking at this scene over and over one cannot help but wonder at the musical-like dance choreography in how the gun fight unfolds from beginning to end.
It’s not a surprise that the musicals of the 50′s and 60′s were some of John Woo’s favorite films and it shows in how he choreographs and films the scene. Chow Yun Fat as the coolest cop ever to walk a beat with the kickass nickname of “Tequila” almost goes through the scene like Fred Astaire or Gene Kelly except this time the lead is not dancing in the rain or with Ginger Rogers, but shooting and weaving his way through a tea house full of Triad gangsters.
Two of the coolest sequences in this scene would be the body grind down the stair bannister and then the final climactic sequence in the end. Also, the way Chow Yun Fat and the main gangster look as they shoot it out reminds one of samurai dueling each other right down to the very stance they sometimes use.
Michael Bay and his supporters could learn and thing or two from Woo and this scene.