Hard-Boiled is the last film directed by Hong Kong action auteur John Woo before his arrival in the U.S. This 1992 thriller, along with The Killer, is widely seen as one of his best from his Hong Kong days. Every ingredient of the quintessential Woo thriller is present, including his ever-present anti-hero (Chow Yun-Fat). Yun-Fat portrays a maverick, clarinet-playing cop nicknamed "Tequila" whose partner is killed in the dizzying chaos of a restaurant gunfight with a small army of gangsters. It is soon revealed that one of the mob's high-ranking assassins is Tony (Tony Leung), an undercover cop who, despite his badge, is dangerously close to the edge. Tequila and Tony must team up in a tense partnership, and their common pursuit of a vicious crime lord results in a brilliantly elaborate climax in a hospital, where the heroes must rescue newborn babies from the maternity ward while fighting off dozens of mob soldiers. The characters Tequila and Tony are two sides of the same coin, another trademark theme of Woo's films that would later be most fully realized with Nicolas Cage and John Travolta in the American hit Face/Off.