Before CGI

File:HardBoiledPoster 1

When I was a teenager, the small movie theater next door to our apartment building mostly showed Asian movies and since teens are always in need of reason to get out of the house that don’t require you to be 21, I watched a lot of them. Last night I rewatched Hard Boiled which I saw back then, and while I didn’t find it quite as awesome as I had when I was 16, it’s pretty damn awesome. It struck me as a reminder, though, that we lost quite a bit when our own American summer blockbusters started shifting in a really CGI-heavy direction away from stunt-and-choreography oriented shoot-em-ups.

Even when John Woo’s action and plotting aren’t “realistic” in any meaningful way, there’s still a level of naturalism to what’s happening that’s far more gripping than anything cartoon Nav’i or giant animated robots can offer.