Hong Kong’s preeminent director, John Woo, transforms genres from both the East and the West to create this explosive and masterful action film. Featuring Hong Kong’s greatest star, Chow Yun-fat, as a killer with a conscience, the film is an exquisite dissection of morals in a corrupt society, highlighted with slow-motion sequences of brilliantly choreographed gun battles on the streets of Hong Kong. —The Criterion Collection
The first Asian filmmaker to helm a major Hollywood feature, John Woo initially emerged as the leading light of the Hong Kong action renaissance of the late ’80s. Celebrated for his unique, much-imitated style: a Molotov cocktail of graceful slow-motion sequences, staccato edits, freeze-frames, and dissolves; Woo brought a new depth of emotion and visual beauty to the action genre, perfecting an operatic, highly stylized brand of mayhem laced with melodrama, savage wit, and homoerotic undercurrents. Woo was born Wu Yu Sen on May 1, 1946, in the Guangzhou Canton Province of China, his parents relocating the family to Hong Kong three years later to escape life under communism. The Woos were quite poor, and were homeless for several years. His father, a philosopher, was later hospitalized with tuberculosis for over a decade. It was his mother who introduced Woo to the cinema, where he fell under the sway of American musicals and the films of the French New Wave, with Jean-Pierre Melville… read more
La verdad me esperaba muchísimo más de esta película. Más allá de las esmeradas, aunque no necesariamente sorprendentes, escenas de acción, es poco lo que se puede rescatar; el guión y la música rayan en la cursilería más espantosa. Me quedaré con el buen recuerdo de Hardboiled y Face-Off.
A super-cool, action packed film pumped full of steroids. Woo's films may come off as a bit too melodramatic for the Western audience, but I feel here he nailed the perfect balance between the amazing action sequences and the more emotional and tender moments of the main characters. I only wish I knew of this film as a teenager, it would have been an eye opener to Hong Kong cinema. Get ready for a bloody show!
Funny how one of your once favorite films years later turns out to be a silly attempt at imitating an episode of Miami Vice. Sure, the action choreography is nice - name ONE 80's HK flick in which it isn't -, but the film is SO unexciting. What a FOOTNOTE.
Woo's use of the freeze frame here reminds me how among all his techniques, the freeze frame never seemed to catch on with other directors. Too bad, because I love a good freeze frame, especially one with visible film grain. Old school.
About 80 percent of A Better Tomorrow and The Killer would be unthinkable without Miami Vice, including the freeze frames and the editing. It's that and the traditional Chang Cheh/Shaw Bros. pathos thrown in for good measure. Hard to think of a director that is less imaginative than John Woo, Quentin Tarantino maybe.
Despite the Friday the 13th-type of mayhem and level of killing – actually, many more murders are committed here than by Jason – this film contains a few great shots, a few bizarre ones, a good old… read review