The Last Blood aka Hardboiled II: The Last Blood shares one thing in common with the John Woo Classic, both have amazing kick ass action. New to Blu-ray from 88 Films.
If you’re a fan of HK Action Cinema and you’ve read more than your fair share of articles or books on the heyday, you’ll know the name. The action choreographer and action director is known for his wild car chases in HK films. Here he is the driving force for the Sequel-Not-a-Sequel to the John Woo action classic Hardboiled.
The Last Blood is a lean and mean piece of pulpy action comedy. The film goes hard on both ends. The comedy is wildly stupid and inappropriate – but funny. The Action goes hard and inappropriate, as well, as anything you’ve seen. For these wild tonal shifts, sometimes in the same scene, writer/director Jing Wong manages to smooth the rough edges making it work. It does help that he has a squad of talented actors in Alan Tam, Andy Lau, Eric Tsang, and Bryan Leung – and all game to play in this particular sandbox.
Wong manages to create a great little plot with the Dali Lam… I mean the Daka Lama (Law Shu-kei) visiting Singapore only to have an assassination attempt on his person – by a platoon (literally platoon) of Airline Stewardesses dressed in pink no less. As Lama is shot, Big B’s (Lau) girlfriend is a part of the collateral damage. In a sick twist of fate, both have the same blood type the rarest of all, Type P. Big B worrying the police only care about the Lama – he’s not wrong – goes after the 3 people in Singapore that have the blood type to save his girlfriend. Both the Cops (Tam and Leung) and Big B are in a race against time to get the single blood donor (Tsang) to the hospital to save the Lama.
The film’s clever plot is just that, a plot to drive forward the action. Those thinking there is going to be some sort of heft to the character’s situations ala Hardboiled will be sadly disappointed. Wong’s film has one thing on its mind – entertainingly kicking your ass. Which The Last Blood excels at. From the opening action scene (the aforementioned pink stewardess assassination attempt) to a motorcycle gang chase to the climatic hospital shootout – action director Blackie Ko is on another level. There’s a sense of clarity through the chaos that not just lovingly mocks some of the Woo action troupes (thankfully, no doves) but is designed to be as brutal as HK Action gets. One moment with Tsang and the execution of one of the baddies is something that’s played out only one other time this review has seen (which I won’t ruin for those who haven’t seen this film).
The Last Blood is as good a 90-minute HK Action film that was produced in the 1990s. That puts it in contention with some of the best action films ever produced… well at the very least Top 100.
The film’s transfer is a definite upgrade from previous editions. The film appears to be sourced from the only film elements remaining. The image is solid with upticks in quality, sharpness, color, and definition in black levels. The Blu-ray looks more wholly like the film and the detail that they were able to get out of the image is impressive. There are minor scratches, dirt, and the like throughout but nothing that is detrimental to the overall quality of the Blu-Ray. If one is forewarned and adjusts expectations accordingly, the work that 88 Films has done here is impressive.
They include the following;
- Audio Commentary with Hong Kong Film Expert Frank Djeng
- English Trailer
- Hong Kong Trailer
- Stills Gallery
The all-new Audio Commentary with Hong Kong Film Expert Frank Djeng who is joined by John Charles opens with introductions and a quick discussion of Charles bonafides and his book. Some of the details include the literal translation of the title and its alternate titles; he box office success of the film; the strange confusion about it being labelled as Hardboiled II – including John Woo’s opinion on the matter; the work and career of Alan Tam – including a great story about the actor and action films; the work and career of Andy Lau; a great side conversation about Black Rain (the Ridley Scott Film) and how it was shot; the reason why Singapore – with Blackie Ko the action director pushing to go there for specific reasons; the work and career of actor and producer Eric Tsang – including a great anecdote about the actor and Djeng; the work and career of director Jing Wong – a broader conversation about his comedies and action comedy work; the work of action director Blackie Ko; a larger conversation about how actors were dubbed and what they spoke during the production; a larger discussion about the action scenes; discussion throughout the commentary track about the various actors and their work here and throughout their career – keep your notes app open you’ll want to write some of the films down; and much more. Djeng’s commentary is another entertaining and thoroughly researched track – including a hilarious Tsang impersonation that had me laughing whenever it showed up in the track (if you’re a fan of Tsang’s work you’ll understand).
English Trailer (3:38)
Hong Kong Trailer (4:12) – Cantonese with English Subtitles
Stills Gallery (2:19) – this still gallery consists of 28 production photos and poster art. The gallery runs automatically, with the film’s score playing in the background, and can be paused but not navigated.
The Final Thought
The Last Blood isn’t Hardboiled but there’s no movie that is Hardboiled. The film delivers on the action thanks to the skills of action director Blackie Ko. Recommended!!!