Hard-Boiled (US version)

Manufacturer: Criterion (now out of print)

Price: $35 (originally; now goes for about $100 used and $200 new)

Sound: Dolby 1.0

Format: widescreen

Languages: Cantonese, English

Subtitles: English

Extras: commentary by John Woo/Terence Chang/Roger Avary/Dave Kehr, trailers for 11 Woo films, John Woo student film, extensive notes

One of the best DVDs I have ever seen, jam-packed with tons of cool stuff. The transfer is right-on, with a crisp (if a bit dark) picture and a remastered sound track. Having both subs and dubs on the same disc is a great feature, as I always use this movie to get people into Woo's films, and really, most people don't like reading subs. The subs are off from what the people are actually saying, but they do a good job in getting the point across. The dubbing isn't perfect -- Chow sounds a bit too Austrailian for my tastes -- but it is well done, definitely better than many other movies.

All the extra notes and posters are a nice touch, giving a lot of background info on Woo and his films, even if they do get a little too "arty" at times for my taste (trying to do deep philosophical commentary on a full-boar action movie like Hard-Boiled seems a little pointless to me). The commentary is also quite good, it was very interesting hearing how Woo completed key sequences such as the hallway shootout -- I could of done without Avary's (co-writer of Pulp Fiction) fanboyish and Kehr's (film critic) overly analytical comments though. At any rate, if you're a John Woo fan, you should definitely pick up this disc, if you can get it at a good price. I really can't justify spending the $100 people are asking on such places as eBay. The extras are nice but not really worth all that money.

Rating: ****

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