Some films use the action to draw the audience attention, while others use the dramatic effect to make an impression. John Woo successfully made use of both elements to create a classic out of its genre and one of the best Hong Kong films ever produced. To start with, you need to know that this was made in the late 80’s so it’s useless to compare it to recent action films that use progressed techniques. And despite that fact, The Killer puts many recent Hollywood films to shame. I still insist that John Woo created his masterpieces in Hong Kong; he never made a film of “Hard Boiled”, “A Better Tomorrow” or “The Killer” caliber in Hollywood except for “Face/Off” perhaps. This film’s plot is rather simple: an assassin who’s thinking twice about his career, a hot-blooded police officer, a singer who went blind and the bad guys. But being simple doesn’t mean it was shallow. On the contrary, The Killer had too much depth to rely on which made some people complain that it was a bit too “melodramatic”. I disagree on that thought, because the little drama in this film helped the events’ flowing in a natural way and of course, John Woo never misses a chance to display his favorite themes: Loyalty, brotherhood and honor. The core of this film, on the other hand, is the essence of action. Personally, I consider John Woo one of the better Action directors in the world if not the best. The man redefined the “action camerawork” and the violent heroic bloodshed films which inspired many other famous action directors around the world. As a usual dish of John Woo, the gunplay choreography was mind blowing especially the last sequence of the film; it was pretty marvelous. Needless to say, this is a violent film where cars exploded and bullets were flying everywhere. The acting was high class. Chow Yun Fat sparkles in John Woo’s films in a way that makes me think that he’s probably the best male lead Woo ever had. The man has a great onscreen presence that proves his great acting skills. And let’s not forget Danny Lee who made his breakthrough in Hong Kong cinema through this film and it’s undeniably one of his best roles up to date. As for the main characters, they were violent which makes you think that they’re immoral but that’s not the case. John Woo always makes his main characters cool and “The Killer” wasn’t any exception, the two characters are drawn in a way that you would feel their nobility, acts of honor, loyalty and friendship. The rest of the characters were also pretty well written and suited for the film’s storytelling. The cinematography and camerawork were astounding and quite alluring. It doesn’t even matter if this film was made back in 1989. And yes, it’s a great rewatch material; I am writing this review basing on my latest rewatch session of this film. Watch if: -You like action films because this is most definitely one of the best. -You like John Woo because this is one of his Hong Kong masterpieces. -You like violent films with lots of gunplay. Do not watch if: -You dislike John Woo’s work. -You dislike the action genre.
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