hard boiled 
i'm a little late coming around to watching a movie by hong kong [now hollywood] director john woo. especially this flick that i've heard and read about for so many years. but i did watch it, finally, and lived to tell the tale. not much happens in this flick. ostensibly about loyalty, i think, the movie is the story of a tough-as-nails cop played by the magnificent chow yun-fat who like clint eastwood's titular cop in the 1970s action-cum-vigilante pics manages to make people dead faster than he can say howdy.
that's it. there's a bad guy who operates a crime syndicate that chow yun-fat is charged to make dead thru the agency of many bullets fired from a lot of guns. then there's a mole who is deep undercover in the syndicate that our hero becomes friends with and together they, our hero and the mole, make many more people dead thru the art of firepower.
it's a great action flick. the set pieces, particularly the opening sequence in a tea shop is spectacular, are adrenaline rushes of balletic precision. the story on the other hand, limps along. no character development but not that you'd give a shit because you watch this sort of movie because of the action.
woo knows how to drive the action and this film is adroitly edited and shot. but what made the dirty harry movies so great is that you genuinely like and care about the clint eastwood character. the characters here in woo's movie are flatter than a dominoes pizza. even chow is a little on the boring side.
big deal. as the old ac/dc song goes, you want blood, you got it. splatter by the truckload. the guns the characters used were mystical because they were all nearly true and never needed reloading. would it were so. during the run time i kept repeating, it's only a movie, it's only a movie.