HONG Kong Cinema has been responsible for some truly amazing action films, some of the very best of which star Chow Yun-Fat and are directed by John Woo.
A lot of these films involve Mr Yun-Fat being incredibly stylish and cool as he dives around in slow-motion with a gun in each had shooting anyone foolish enough to have incurred his displeasure.
Indeed, one of the most iconic scenes of all of Hong Kong Cinema comes from the 1992 John Woo film Hard Boiled, where Chow Yun-Fat’s character Inspector “Tequila” Yuen slides down the banister of a staircase in a Hong Kong teahouse while dual-wielding Type 54 pistols and shooting a gang of gunrunners as he does so.
There’s pretty much an entire genre of films in which Hong Kong action heroes (or anti-heroes) dual-wield handguns and shoot people – I highly recommend A Better Tomorrow II – and it’s such an iconic element it’s easy to see why it’s so closely associated with John Woo.
For all its awesomeness, the Hong Kong Action movie them has only ever been brought to computer screens twice: in 2012 with the excellent Sleeping Dogs (updated in 2017), and before that in 2007 with John Woo Presents: Stranglehold.
Stranglehold was essentially similar to Max Payne, with all the slow-motion bullet-time like effects and the dual wielding of firearms and the non-stop action, but it also starred Chow Yun-Fat reprising his role as Inspector Tequila and was regarded as an official and canonical sequel to Hard Boiled.
I loved the game when it came out, but it slipped into gaming obscurity and become one of those games I get to bother people with as a trivia item – “Did you know they made a sequel to Hard Boiled and it was a video game and Chow Yun-Fat was in it and was basically Max Payne in Hong Kong?” – but that has changed.
Games platform GOG announced earlier today they have just released Stranglehold – now published by Warner Bros Games – on the platform, updated to run on modern PCs.
“Thanks to its fast-paced gameplay, unique features like destroyable levels, and the cinematic story, Stranglehold received a cult following over the years. It’s no surprise that many gamers still remember this title fondly and have long waited for its return,” the press release from GOG said.
Naturally, I had to check it out and can confirm it’s there in all its 2007-era glory – and from a gameplay perspective, it still holds up really well.
The game hasn’t been given an HD remaster or anything, however, so it’s still pretty dated from a graphical perspective, but it’s a lot of fun and the story is really good. In fact, playing it again has made me wonder why we didn’t get more games in the series, given it would make for a better tomorrow to have further adventures to look forward to.
Still, having the chance to revisit this underrated gem has been fantastic and leaping through the air in slow motion with a pair of Beretta M92FS pistols is always lots of fun in a game.
If you’re a fan of the bullet ballet genre, or Hong Kong action movies, you really should take the opportunity to load this one up.