In the world of John Woo's over-the-top action movies, it seems there's no problem that can't be solved by a hail of bullets. Don't be fooled; THE KILLER is far more than the sum of its plot elements.
Jeffrey Chow (Chow Yun-Fat) is a professional killer with his own code of ethics and a lethal two-handed draw. Detective "Eagle" Lee (Danny Lee) is a cop at odds with the system: he'd rather get the scum off the streets than play departmental politics. Sydney Fung (Chu Kong), a hit man past his
prime, is Jeff's only friend. Jennie (Sally Yeh) is a nightclub singer caught in the crossfire and blinded when Jeff slaughters a room full of gangsters. Guilt-stricken, Jeff befriends and then falls in love with the blind woman. But when Sydney hires him to kill Tony Weng (Ye Rongzu)--the one
last job that will allow him to leave the life of a killer forever--the hit doesn't go off as cleanly as it should, and Lee vows to hunt him down, using Jennie as bait.
THE KILLER rings a genuinely delirious set of changes on American movie themes, careening between brutality and mawkish sentiment without missing a beat. In the days before Quentin Tarantino brought HK stylings to the American screen, Western audiences were almost literally stunned by the
extravagance of this film: the insistent visual and narrative symmetry, the barely repressed homoeroticism, the pathetic comedy of blind Jennie--unaware of the gunplay going on around her--trying to serve tea. One moment Woo's heroes are .44 magnum dervishes, the next they're spinning some
outrageous fiction about childhood friendship and their nicknames for one another--"Mickey Mouse" and "Dumbo."
And the bullets ... the bullets. They fly freely at the drop of a hat, splatter bad guys all over the walls while missing the protagonists (special credit to the sightless Jennie, who shows a particular flare for dodging speeding projectiles), and generally make the world go round. For Western
viewers unfamiliar with Hong Kong gangster films, there's no better introduction.
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- Released: 1989
- Rating: NR
- Review: In the world of John Woo's over-the-top action movies, it seems there's no problem that can't be solved by a hail of bullets. Don't be fooled; THE KILLER is far more than the sum of its plot elements. Jeffrey Chow (Chow Yun-Fat) is a professional killer… (more)