Hard Boiled, Or How I Met Tony Leung

I’ve been hyped for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings for many reasons: director Destin Daniel Cretton at the helm, Bill Pope as cinematographer (The Matrix trilogy & Scott Pilgrim vs. the World), and former Jackie Chan pupils Andy Cheng and the late Brad Allan serving as the film’s fight choreographers. All this talent on board to help bring Marvel’s first Asian superhero to life, with a proper ensemble that includes OG martial arts ass-kicker Michelle Yeoh.

I was all in before the trailers, baby.

Respectfully, the film’s biggest flex for me came from the casting of Tony Leung as the villain. That’s a hell of a way to get me to root against the hero.

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The Brutal Thrill of John Wick

The teahouse shootout in Hard Boiled ruined me. Good guys, bad guys, guns, an unholy number of bullets, doves— and you don’t get any cooler than Chow Yun-fat duel-wielding handguns while sliding down the stairs. The shootout erupts in a teahouse of all places, the serenity of sipping tea interrupted by all-out violence where bad guys mow down innocent civilians, giving the good guys a free hunting license to unload carnage. The sheer overkill of Hard Boiled’s opening scene is something seldom achieved these days, which is what makes the increasingly over-the-top set pieces of John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum such a welcome sight to see. Continue reading