I thought it was fitting for me cover The Killer. It was recently that I found it on VHS and then it was announced that it was being remade for Peacock, which would be coming out in 2023. After looking through John Woo’s filmography I figured out that this was my first proper movie of his that I’ve seen. I’ve seen several of his American made movies, but I had somehow missed all of his Chinese movies. I now understand all of the hype that was behind his name.
The Killer was written and directed by John Woo. It has all of the trademarks of a Woo film, which seems a little less random in this movie. That’s kind of the problem his American movies, which were well made action movies but with random bits of flair. I don’t know how much of his style was established before this movie, but this has all of them, as previously stated. The story is interesting, and I was surprised that the main character would normally be a villain, which made it feel ahead of its time.
The cast was made up of people that I didn’t really know because of my limited experience with Chinese cinema. Out of the entire cast the only one that I knew of was Chow Yun-fat. He is fantastic in the lead and everything that he has to do in the movie. The rest of the cast is just as good. It also stars Danny Lee, Sally Yeh, Chu Kong, Kenneth Tsang, and Shing Fui-On. Lee and Yeh spend the most time on-screen with the lead. They all play off each other and the relationships that form between them make sense. Kong is also great but isn’t on-screen nearly as much as the previously mentioned members of the cast. His character is kind of the lynch pin of the story, his death being the catalyst for the finale.
The action in this movie is simply amazing. The stunt team behind this movie were able to some pretty amazing things in this movie, which was over thirty years ago. The practical effects used for the gunfights are still pretty insane. That’s not to mention the effects used for the aftermath of the gunfights, which helps sell the visceral violence. The costume design is great, and it helps you get an idea of the characters. The set design lets you feel the differences between each of the locations. The music by Lowell Lo is amazing.
The Killer is an outstanding action movie that still holds up over thirty years after its release. The fact that this isn’t still talked about with other action movies is mind blowing. With the remake being announced as coming out next year I hope that it starts being rediscovered. I also hope that some of John Woo’s other movies become available to stream either before or after that as well. I give The Killer 10 fake mustaches out of 10.