The killer

The killer

DVD - 2010 | Chinese
Average Rating:
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An assassin with a code of honor agrees to do one last job before quitting for good. But, when his bosses double-cross him, he must take on the mob and the police
Publisher: [United States] : The Weinstein Company Home Entertainment ; Universal City, Calif. : Distributed by Vivendi Entertainment, [2010]
Edition: 2-disc ultimate ed
Branch Call Number: DVD Killer
Characteristics: 2 videodiscs (106 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in

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plotline Dec 14, 2014

Woo Unbound

"One vicious hit-man. One fierce cop. Ten thousand bullets."- from a promotional ad for THE KILLER.

There are two exaggerations in that teaser slogan for THE KILLER. The hit-man played by Chow Yun Fat is actually a suave, rather sentimental anti-hero who is looking to bail out of his deadly-force-for-hire profession. Yes, he's a murderer. But he doesn't enjoy his work. As for the "fierce cop", Danny Lee portrays him as more of a dogged, enthusiastic peace officer than as an maniacal enforcer of the law.

But what about those ten thousand bullets? I'll put it to you this way: at quite a few points in the film you may find yourself sitting there with your mouth agape and your eyes bulging from their sockets. Keep the remote handy also for you may be doing extensive replaying of scenes. The nearly delirious action sequences are mind-boggling in the cleverness of their staging and intensity of their execution.

John Woo's best film carries his signature motif of entangling alliances between good guy/bad guy/evil guy(s), spinning around in a hypertensive milieu of criminality where exhaustive foot chases, unbelievable physical dexterity and claustrophobic showdowns are the very dangerous, sometimes lethal norm. And all of this unfolds beneath a firestorm of discharged ammunition.

What has always set Woo's Hong Kong films apart are the exquisitely balletic movements of his actor/characters while under semi-automatic duress (surpassing Peckinpah's earlier but static slo-mo style by leaps and bounds).

Working in Hollywood, Woo has been hard pressed to live up to his earlier films. HARD TARGET, BROKEN ARROW, FACE/OFF, MISSION IMPOSSIBLE II, et al. are cartoonish popcorn flicks missing the all important complexity and richness of character and story of the Hong Kong films. Hollywood sunders another original talent. But watch THE KILLER, get involved in the story, and look out for those flying bullets. One day, hopefully, Woo will recapture his earlier form.

7duffy Jul 06, 2014

Film really suffers from the dialogue used in the English over-dub. Music used seems dated, too. Take out the whining, shrieking girlfriend and the film was not bad. Beautifully filmed with techniques like slo-mo, disolve, freeze frame being used in unusual moments. Fight scenes influenced by Sam Peckinpaugh, so be prepared for a lot of gun shooting, a real "ballet of bullets".

j
johnstefanski
Aug 14, 2012

One of John Woo's best. Chow Yun Fat in a great role. Fantastic action sequences which define the modern 'gun foo' film. The Chinese love the cheesy songs thrown in for the female viewers, but otherwise a definitive and original action film.

cah1962 Jul 28, 2012

As far as I'm concern, what most don't get is that John Woo's movies been copied by every top directors around the world and
America too. It's about the slow motion scenes the way they roll. This movie was good and another one I would recommend is Hard Boiled by John Woo starring the same actor who was in The Killer.

s
stuvw27
Jun 13, 2011

I get real restless when the first five minutes of a film contains a torch song with “meaningful” lyrics and pensive glances followed by a shoot out by guys with guns containing endless supplies of bullets. Then, when the next 5 minutes is climaxed by a pretty girl being frightened by a loud noise that is revealed by the handsome hero to be a cat… well, I’m outta there! So, the only John Woo picture I like is STILL “Red Cliff”.

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