[[quoteright:212:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/hard-boiled_445.jpg]]

->''"Give a guy a gun and he's Superman. Give him two and he's God!"''
-->-- '''Superintendant Pang''', on Tequila and his "attitude" with firearms

''Hard Boiled'' is a critically-acclaimed action film by Creator/JohnWoo, starring Creator/ChowYunFat in his slightly younger years. This 1992 action classic has aged very gracefully, and boasts action very few contemporary films can match up to. Has a sequel in the form of a game called ''{{Stranglehold}}'', also produced by Woo.

''Hard Boiled'' is all about two cops - one undercover, another much maligned for always, always playing the Bad Cop - working together to bring down a gunrunning ring. There is plenty of plot in between which establishes the characters of Tequila (the Bad Cop) and Tony (the undercover cop, played by Creator/TonyLeung Chiu-Wai) nicely.

But what you're here for are the action scenes, intricately choreographed and masterfully done by John Woo. What ''[[{{Film/ShootEmUp}} Shoot 'Em Up]]'' played for humor, ''Hard Boiled'' plays absolutely straight - and both movies end up totally awesome (for different reasons).

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!!This film provides examples of:
* AbandonedWarehouse: The film has a big two-part shootout in one of these things. The first part has the bad guys led by Johnny Wong shooting up the place because they're taking over the gunrunning operation being run within from Uncle Hoi. The second part has Tequila rappelling in and blowing away the bad guys as only Creator/ChowYunFat can.
* ActionPrologue: The opening teahouse scene.
* AuthorAppeal: Creator/JohnWoo's love is jazz is prevalent here. He gets to use the score that he wasn't allowed to in ''Film/TheKiller''.
* {{Badass}}: Pretty much all the cops, but especially Tequila and Alan/Tony.
* BadassAdorable: when he's not shooting criminals in varying degrees of cold blood Tequila is frankly a bit of a dork. His attempts to woo Teresa have a distinct "schoolboy and a princess" vibe to them.
* BadassAndBaby: One of the movie's most iconic moments is Tequila protecting a baby while blasting up bad guys during the finale of the hospital shootout.
* BadassBiker: The raid on the warehouse is spearheaded by a motorcycle light cavalry squad.
* BannisterSlide: Tequila does a bannister slide of his own with GunsAkimbo in a classic shot from the first shootout.
* TheBartender: Played by Creator/JohnWoo no less.
* BigBad: Johnny Wong.
* BlackAndGrayMorality: This film is your classic story of a cop who shoots first and asks questions later, and an undercover cop who kills people for the mob in order to maintain his cover, up against a ruthless gun smuggler and his gang who have absolutely no qualms about murdering everyone who stands in their way.
* BlastingItOutOfTheirHands: Mad Dog does this to Johnny Wong to stop him killing innocent patients.
* BookSafe: A book of Shakespeare with a gun in it is hidden within a Library. Alan walks into the library, gets the book and kills his target. Then he replaces the gun and book on the library shelf and walks out. This was apparently done so the hitman would never be armed if he was caught, but the police find the book because of the blood on it.
* BoomHeadshot: Johnny Wong gets one of these by way of MoeGreeneSpecial.
* BottomlessMagazines: Averted. Characters are seen reloading.
* BurnBabyBurn: The police do this with the ID papers of cops who die in the line of duty (such as Tequila's partner from the opening shootout and [[spoiler:Alan at the end of the movie)]].
* CarFu: One poor mook ends up eating bike during the first half of the big warehouse shootout. Ouch.
* TheCavalry: The SWAT team, once they're able to get inside the hospital.
* CeilingCling: Mad Dog does this briefly, in order to get the drop on Alan and Tequila.
* ChekovsGun: The cigarette lighter that Inspector Wang gives Alan is used to save Foxy.
* ChekhovsSkill: Tequila takes a long aim at a hole in a pipe stuffed with gunpowder, then drops his arm and shakes it loose...only to fire a moment later. [[spoiler: He later does the same thing to Johnny.]]
* ClifftopCaterwauling: After the warehouse shootout, Alan, who has just had to gun down his boss, join Johnny Wong and take on fellow cop Tequila, lets loose with a scream to the heavens while aboard his yacht.
* ConflictingLoyalty: Alan has to deal with this, both due to having to choose between Johnny Wong and his old triad boss, and also being an undercover cop as well.
* CoolGuns: Pick a modern automatic weapon on the list from before 1992. It ''will'' appear in this movie.
* CowboyCop: Tequila. Full stop.
* CreatorCameo: Creator/JohnWoo has a small role as Tequila's mentor.
* CrooksAreBetterArmed: Near the end of the movie, the cops surround the hospital used by Johnny Wong as a front for his gun smuggling operations. Naturally, the criminals break out their armaments and tear into the cops laying siege to the hospital.
* CruelToBeKind: After Foxy's cover is blown and he is nearly beaten to death, another undercover agent Alan seemingly does ShootTheShaggyDog. It's actually a trick to convince the thugs that he has been killed by first slipping a metal lighter into his chest pocket while punching him in the gut and then using Improbable Aiming Skills to shoot exactly at it (breaking a few more ribs). It's cruel, but Foxy survives. [[spoiler:but not for long]].
* CryingLittleKid: A major plot point of the second half of the movie involves evacuating the babies of a hospital's maternity ward and getting them to safety once the patients that didn't get killed by the bad guys are evacuated. Teresa Chang, who played a major role in the evacuation of the patients, is placed in charge of getting the kids out of there with the help of the SWAT team, with the bad guys trying to stop them every step of the way. [[spoiler:Eventually, every one of the babies are evacuated, but there's just one more baby that she missed, which she charges Tequila himself with the task of saving. And [[MomentOfAwesome man, does he ever]]]].
* CulturedBadass: When Tequila isn't gunning down hordes of bad guys, GunsAkimbo, he's playing clarinet at his local jazz bar.
* DaChief: Superintendent Pang.
* DeadMansTriggerFinger: Displayed by some of the ''dozens'' of mooks gunned down.
* DeathEqualsRedemption: [[spoiler: Mad Dog]]
* DieHardOnAnX: The second half of the movie can be best described as "Die Hard in a Hospital."
* TheDragon: Mad Dog.
* DrinkOrder: Tequila has his nickname because he prefers to drink Tequila Slammers, which are made by pouring equal parts tequila and soda into a shot glass, placing one's hand over the glass and then slamming it on top of the bar in order to mix it before drinking.
* {{Dubtitle}}: The Winstar and Dragon Dynasty releases. Reports vary whether the Criterion edition has real subtitles, but generally the consensus is no.
* EvenEvilHasStandards: Mad Dog, who has a strong sense of honor. He calls out Alan on the fact he's a mole for the police ''and'' is gunning for his boss. In the end, [[spoiler:he attempts to kill Johnny Wong when he kills a group of civilians Mad Dog spared.]]
--> There are two kinds of men I will never befriend; Cops and garbage who murder their own bosses. ''You have no sense of honor!''
* EveryCarIsAPinto: Tequila blows up several motorcycles with what appear to be explosive shells from his shotgun during the big warehouse shootout.
* EyeScream:
** [[spoiler: Johnny Wong's death at the end of Tequila's gun. The climax of a series of SerialEscalation.]]
** Mad Dog.
** Creator/TonyLeung's eye was injured by explosion debris during the climax, with the shot of it happening remaining in the film.
* EyepatchOfPower: Mad Dog, again.
* FaceDeathWithDignity: [[spoiler: Uncle Hoi in the warehouse shootout. Also, Mad Dog]].
* FriendToAllChildren: Tequila holds a baby in one arm and sings a lullaby to him while gunning down incoming Mooks with his other arm.
* GoodGunsBadGuns
* GoryDiscretionShot: While at the hospital, [[spoiler: Mad Dog uses a scalpel to kill an informant. Just as we're treated to a close up shot of the scalpel being pressed against the informant's neck, we cut to a shot of his blood spraying across the window.]]
* GratuitousEnglish: Serves as an aid in decoding the cryptic messages left by Alan.
** Also used by several characters throughout the film, such as singing English lyrics or shouting angry words. This is TruthInTelevision, as Hong Kong's primary languages are Cantonese and English.
* GunsAkimbo: See the page quote, played straight with awesomeness.
* GunFu
* GunKata: WordOfGod has described the gunfights as "gun ballet."
* HandCannon: One of the guns that sees use in this movie is a single-shot Thompson/Center Contender, wielded by Mad Dog against Tequila and Tony.
* HardBoiledDetective: Tequila is Creator/JohnWoo's take on the character. He's even referred to as one by Johnny Wong during the climax.
* HeelFaceTurn: [[spoiler:Mad Dog gets pissed after Johnny guns down a group of injured patients, solely because they were in the way of Tony - patients Mad Dog refused to shoot to get to Tony. He tries shooting Johnny, but it's blocked by his shotgun, and he runs dry - and Johnny unloads on him, point-blank]].
* HeroicBloodshed: Name-dropped in the climax, as Tequila talks to the kid he's protecting.
* HeroicBSOD: Averted; Tequila talks Tony out of falling into one of these after realizing he may have shot a fellow cop. It leads to a hilarious exchange.
-->'''Tony''': Did I just shoot a cop?\\
'''Tequila''': Yes.\\
'''Tony''': ''Fuck''! [unloads on the mook coming at them]
* HeroicSacrifice: Near the end of the hospital battle, two of the SWAT team officers charged with getting the newborns safely out of the building use their kevlar vests to protect the babies. Immediately after securing the infants inside of the vests, they're riddled with bullets that they might otherwise have survived.
* HonorBeforeReason: The cops, naturally. And quite surprisingly, even TheDragon of Johnny Wong.
* HouseboatHero: Alan.
* ImprobableAimingSkills: Par for the course on a Creator/JohnWoo movie, but deserving of special mention for one scene. Tequila has placed several rounds of gunpowder into a metal pipe, with a bullet covering the entrance. He fires a shot from at least seven feet away, one handed, and hits the bullet, blowing the gunpowder in the pipe. This description in no way reflects how awesome and impossible that is.
** He later uses this skill to [[spoiler:finally take out Johnny Wong with a MoeGreeneSpecial]].
*** When Tony/Alan is ordered by Johnny to shoot the informant, Foxy, he is careful to shoot the cigarette lighter in Foxy's shirt pocket, minimizing the damage.
* InfantImmortality: Played straight. All the babies in the hospital make it out okay.
* IronicNickname: Strangely enough, Mad Dog. You'd expect someone with a name like that to be an senselessly violent AxCrazy maniac, but he's more of a NobleDemon with strong qualms about hurting innocent people.
* LetsYouAndHimFight: Tequila and Alan. This is a very, very straight example.
* LittleUselessGun: Johnny Wong mocks the police's .38 special revolvers for this trope. Ironically [[spoiler:Johnny is killed by Tequila at the end of the movie with [[MoeGreeneSpecial a well placed shot to the eye]] using the very weapon Johnny mocked]].
* LockingMacGyverInTheStoreCupboard: Yeah, locking the heroes ''inside'' your arsenal is going to end well.
* MadeOfIron: Another Creator/JohnWoo staple. Mad Dog loses or has an eye severely injured, and at one point suffers Tequila repeatedly punching it, apparently with no adverse affects. In the final shootout the characters take damage which would render normal people paralytic, instantly dead, or at least incapable of serious action, yet they never stop.
** Tony ends up getting a back full of buckshot after an assassin gets the drop on him with a shotgun. The worst this does for him is make him stumble twice, but he's soon running around shooting his attackers and keeping up with the uninjured Tequila. Though later in the scene it ends up catching up with him and he ends up in the hospital, but he's still upright and conscious. Not bad, considering that this sort of thing would normally kill a person in most action films, never mind real life.
* MenOfSherwood: The SWAT team during the hospital shoot-out definitely qualifies.
* MexicanStandoff: Between Tequila and Alan at the warehouse. [[spoiler: The latter's refusal to shoot Tequila is his first clue that he's actually an undercover cop. Also, his name is Tony.]]
* MoeGreeneSpecial: [[spoiler:Johnny's death]].
* MohsScaleOfViolenceHardness: It gets a 9, because of the large amount of blood spurting and the disturbing nature of the violence against defenceless civilians.
* MoreDakka: While played relatively straight with everyone else, it is allegedly averted by Tequila who we are informed "never wastes a slug."
* NeverHurtAnInnocent:
-->'''[[NobleDemon Mad Dog:]]''' Boss, let's set the patients free.
-->'''Johnny:''' Oh, why do you care about what happens to them.
-->'''Mad Dog:''' [[EvenEvilHasStandards It's the decent and honorable thing to do.]]
-->'''Johnny:''' [[ScrewTheRulesIHaveMoney I'll run this show MY FUCKING WAY, thank you!]]
** When Mad Dog's fight with Tony takes them into an emergency ward full of innocent hospital patients, they both hold off on the fight long enough to shoo out the bystanders so they won't get hurt. [[spoiler: Then Johnny comes in and shoots the patients anyway, triggering Mad Dog's short-lived HeelFaceTurn.]]
* NobleDemon / NobleTopEnforcer: Johnny Wong's right hand man, Mad Dog, who wants to let the hostages at the hospital go and [[spoiler: eventually turns on Johnny when he kills some crippled patients just to get at Allan]].
* TheOner: The hospital's elevator scene. It's probably the most spectacular moment in the film.
* OutOfTheInferno: In the end, [[spoiler:Johnny Wong walks out of his self-inflicted inferno, hauling Tony in tow.]]
* OutrunTheFireball: Tequila does this at the climax. Interestingly, there was a [[http://www.cracked.com/article_20363_6-classic-movies-made-possible-by-reckless-endangerment.html 'screw up' with the pyrotechnics]] that caused a bigger explosion than planned, meaning that Chow Yun Fat was really running for his life.
* PocketProtector: Alan slips a cigarette lighter into Foxy's pocket and shoots it, thus saving his life.
* PottyFailure: The baby Tequila was carrying before escaping the hospital urinated on his pant leg. Luckily it doused the fire which ignited on Tequila's pants.
* RatedMForManly.
* Reconstruction: The film features every single police officer character as unambiguously heroic, as an apology by Creator/JohnWoo for the way Chinese films had started to glorify criminals (including some of Woo's previous films). Their conduct in the hospital sequence in particular puts an extra helping of "Heroic" in Heroic Bloodshed.
* RedBaron: Mad Dog.
* RedShirtArmy: Played straight with the cops at the teahouse, but refreshingly averted with the [=SDU=] team at the hospital. Once our heroes are able to create enough of a disturbance inside for these guys to be able to break through, they're ''very'' effective.
* RewardedAsTheTraitorDeserves: Discussed and wiggled around when Alan is in the process of selling out Uncle Hoi to Johnny Wong. He insists to Wong that he's not a traitor and will be loyal to Chiu until Chiu is dead, and then helps to make that the case. Wong is entirely okay with this and keeps Alan around, but Mad Dog, is unimpressed with the treason.
* RuleOfCool
* SacrificialLamb: Benny, Tequila's partner in the beginning, which drives Tequila's revenge plot. Later, the nameless cop [[spoiler:Tony accidentally shoots.]]
* SerialEscalation: If ''Film/TheKiller'' took Creator/JohnWoo's trademark action tropes [[UpToEleven up to 11,]] then ''Hard Boiled'' took them [[MemeticMutation Over 9000.]]
* ShootTheHostage: A rare instance where it was invoked by the hostage. [[spoiler: Tony pulled Johnny's gun to his stomach, which made Johnny shoot him. This gave Tequila the opportunity the gun down Johnny.]]
* ShoutOut:
** See ''Film/InfernalAffairs'' after watching ''Hard Boiled'' or vice versa. Notice something upon viewing? Hear that shouting?
** Tequila carrying a baby during the climax is a reference to the famous story of the ancient Chinese general Zhao Yun saving the infant son of his lord Liu Bei during the Battle of Chang-Ban. Woo later got to tell the original story in ''Film/RedCliff''.
** Using the shotgun in the rose box was an original idea in both this film and ''Film/Terminator2JudgmentDay''. Both were homages to ''Film/TheKilling'' and ''Film/DogDayAfternoon''.
* SickbedSlaying: Foxy's death is similar, only he is not unconscious but rather, in a plaster cast from tip to toe, which only makes the murder (with a scalpel) crueller.
* SkywardScream: Alan, when on his sailboat sometime after the warehouse shootout.
* SmokeAndFireFactory: The warehouse is a blatant example.
* SpoonyBard: Definitely averted. When he's not mowing down countless bad guys, Tequila relaxes by playing jazz clarinet, with Benny on the drums. It turns out Tequila wanted to be in a band, not be a cop.
* StuffBlowingUp: IN SPADES.
* SympathyForTheDevil: Tequila and Alan.
* TheSyndicate: Johnny Wong and his goons are part of this.
* ThrowDownTheBomblet: Mad Dog. With PinPullingTeeth, too. Tequila also makes use of a smoke grenade during his solo raid on the warehouse.
* TitleDrop: "So it's you. The hard boiled cop."
* TooDumbToLive: A nameless Triad thug shoots two SWAT officers in the climactic hospital battle, killing one of them. As he goes to finish off the other, Teresa Chang snatches up a pistol and holds it on him. Possibly believing that she was merely a trapped civilian (she was wearing plainclothes) and wouldn't have the nerve to shoot him, the thug slapped her and called her a "fucking bitch!" She promptly shot him about five times in the torso.
* TragicBromance: Tequila and Alan.
* TheTriadsAndTheTongs: The Triads are the villains.
* UnnecessaryCombatRoll: Tony is fond of these.
* VillainousValor: Mad Dog, again. He's absolutely disgusted with Tony's betrayal - and even more disgusted with the fact his boss and his goons gun down innocent civilians.
* WalkingArmory: The bad guys in the teahouse shoot-out.
* WaxingLyrical: Tony sends coded messages to the police by sending flowers to Teresa (Teresa Mo), a police secretary and Tequila's on-again, off-again girlfriend, with the message on the card. Before it's decoded, the message on the first card reads, "Are you somewhere feeling lonely/Or is someone loving you?", which is a lyric from Music/LionelRichie's "Hello". They're all from well-known love songs.
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