Coming from 88 Films to UK Blu-ray, Asian superstars Andy Lau and Alan Tam are out for blood – literally in Hard Boiled 2: The Last Blood! This is a classic of the Heroic Bloodshed genre directed by Hong Kong movie-making legend Wong Jing.
“HARD BOILED 2: THE LAST BLOOD” is OUT NOW, on Blu-ray – so order your copy now from 88 Films or Amazon!
One of Hong Kong’s most popular actors and singers, Andy Lau stars as “Big B”. Lau has consistently been one of Hong Kong’s most commercially-successful film actors since the mid-1980s, performing in more than 160 films while maintaining a successful singing career at the same time.
He had early action roles in films such as “Shanghai 13” and “Twinkle Twinkle Lucky Stars”, eventually finding widespread critical acclaim as a leading man in 1988s “As Tears Go By”. Since then he has forged a hugely successful career be it in comedy, romance, thriller, action or drama movies.
Some of his best known films include “God of Gamblers”, “A Moment of Romance”, “Casino Tycoon”, “Moon Warriors”, “Infernal Affairs”, “The Warlords”, “Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame”, “Shaolin”, “Shockwave” and “Chasing the Dragon”, to name but a few. In 2005, Lau was awarded “Number One Hong Kong Box Office Actor 1985-2005”, his films having earned a total box office of HK$1,733,275,816 from 108 films in two decades, out-grossing even Jackie Chan, Jet Li and Stephen Chow.
Also hugely successfully as a singer and actor in Hong Kong, Alan Tam stars as Interpol officer “Lui Tai”. Tam found fame as a member of the popular Hong Kong pop band The Wynners, before embarking on a successful solo career. Making the transition into movies, Tam has appeared in films such as “Lucky Stars Go Places”, “Armour of God”, “Rich and Famous”, “Casino Raiders”, “Pantyhose Hero”, and “Full Contact”, to name but a few.
Former stuntman and popular actor Eric Tsang plays “Fatty”, who possesses a rare blood type. Tsang has had a prolific film career appearing in hits such as the “Lucky Stars” series of films, “Gen-X Cops”, Jet Li‘s “Hitman”, Andy Lau‘s “Infernal Affairs”, Donnie Yen‘s “Bodyguards and Assassins” and alongside Jackie Chan in “Skiptrace“.
Martial arts movie legend Bryan “Beardy” Leung Kar-Yan appears as dodgy cop “Stone”. A regular star of 1970’s and 80’s kung fu films, Beardy is probably best known for his roles in “Odd Couple”, “The Victim”, “Knockabout” and “Legend of a Fighter“. He also appeared in Donnie Yen’s “Ip Man 3“.
Heading up the bad guys is Jackson Lau Hok-Yin as “Saporo”. The Taiwanese actor will be most familiar to martial arts movie fans for his role as the Japanese instructor “Ryuichi Akutagawa” in Jet Li’s “Fist of Legend” and as “Jackson Tsui” in Jackie Chan’s “First Strike“.
When a high-ranking Tibetan lama is wounded by terrorists, only a transfusion of his ultra rare blood type can save him. The mismatched duo of Big B and Interpol agent Liu Tai get caught up in a race against time to protect the unlikely donor, Fatty, from the assassins out to kill him.
Opening in scenic Singapore, The Last Blood sets out its stall as a gunplay extravaganza. Alan Tam is introduced acrobatically dodging machine gunfire as he tries to infiltrate a Yakuza gang.
After a lighter-hearted introduction to Andy Lau, things turn serious with a deadly shootout set filmed in Singapore airport. A big explosion and another tense shootout in a shopping mall soon follows. I am not sure I have seen another film with such a high body count of innocent bystanders!
It’s not all gunplay though with Andy Lau getting to demonstrate his fighting skills within the confines of a cable car. In spite of the restricted space, the choreography still manages to thrill.
Stunt Coordinator Blackie Ko became legendary for his automotive stunts and gets to showcase why, with an explosive car and motorcycle chase that would easily be the envy of an equivalent Hollywood film.
The title “Hard Boiled 2” is a little misleading in that this movie doesn’t have much in common with the John Woo/Chow Yun Fat classic. If there are any similarities, aside from featuring numerous shootouts, it does share having an explosive finale set in a hospital.
For some of the stunt work you can clearly see Alan Tam and Andy Lau performing their own action, as they are blown through panes of glass or diving to avoid machine gun fire. Bad guy Kamakura, played by Chin Ho, also gets to flex his kicks and punches as he takes on Andy Lau.
It would be unfair to compare this film to the original “Hard Boiled”. This was actually filmed and released before John Woo’s movie and it was a quirk of marketing that the UK’s Eastern Heroes label titled this as a sequel.
If the original is a festival of slow motion bullet ballet, “The Last Blood” is a cranked up rock concert of shoot ‘em up action! So while you don’t get the drama and balletic slow motion action scenes of John Woo’s masterpiece, you do get an action-packed Wong Jing movie peppered throughout with his trademark comic moments.
The 88 Films release is beautifully packaged featuring newly-commissioned artwork from Sean Longmore. The picture restoration is bold and bright, and particularly pops when the action features explosions and pyrotechnics.
The optional Audio Commentary is supplied by the ever reliable Hong Kong film expert Frank Djeng who is joined on this occasion by fellow enthusiast, John Charles.
The Last Blood is a great example of classic explosive Hong Kong action and gunplay, blended with a little comedy that barely lets up for a minute. Fans should love it!
- Hong Kong movie stunt legend Blackie Ko Shou-Liang acted as Stunt Coordinator. After a decade of performing stunts and minor roles in movies, Ko attracted the attention of producer Karl Maka, who hired him to work on the motorcycle and car stunts for “Aces Go Places” in 1982.
- His work in this movie made him famous, leading to his involvement on several subsequent movie hits. At the same time, Ko began to perform record-breaking jumps. In 1992 he jumped 38 metres over the Great Wall on his motorcycle, and in 1997 he jumped 55 metres over Hukou Waterfall on the Yellow River in a car, gaining the title of “Asian Flyer No. 1”.
- Ko sadly died on 9th December 2003 at the age of 50 after suffering a heart attack in Shanghai, China.
- The Last Blood was the film debut of Jackson Lau.
- Andy Lau dubbed his own voice.
- Filmed on location in Singapore.