• Film ID:
  • 3347
  • Availability:
  • DVD Available from Shop
  • Film cert:
  • Running time:
  • DVD=107 min.
  • Nationality(ies):
  • Hong Kong.
  • Primary Language(s):
  • Cantonese.
THE KILLER (1989)
(Dip hyut shueng hung)
Cast
Director(s)
Categories
Review
John Woo's 1989 Hong Kong action classic, a stylish bullet-riddled elegy to friendship under fire, firmly established him as the maestro of mayhem and brought him wide-spread recognition in the West. Superstar Chow Yun-Fat, Asia's king of cool, plays the most charming hit man ever, but when one of his killings leaves an innocent nightclub singer blinded he dedicates his life to giving her back her sight. Danny Lee is the cop on his tail, but the two adversaries become unlikely comrades when the mob decides to cancel its debt to Chow by taking him out. Woo places the beautifully filmed and incredibly violent showdown in a church and punctuates the acrobatic gunfight with images of religious icons, flying doves, and burning candles. An ode to Jean-Pierre Melville's existential gangster classic Le Samouria, Woo's delirious mix of melodrama and stylized action recalls the balletic bloodletting of Sam Peckinpah, the elegant camerawork of Martin Scorsese and the operatic grandeur of Sergio Leone. Woo's love of American musicals and his own background as a dance instructor add a touch of grace to the fluid choreography of the action scenes. In terms of sheer action Woo topped himself a few years later with Hard-Boiled, his Hong Kong swan song, but most critics still rate The Killer as his masterpiece.
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