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2,056 Ratings

The Killer

Dip huet seung hung

Directed by John Woo
Hong Kong, 1989
Action, Crime


Chow Yun-fat stars as a killer with a conscience in John Woo’s exquisite dissection of morals in a corrupt society. Replete with balletic, slow-motion gun battles on the streets of Hong Kong, The Killer mixes genres from both the East and the West.

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The Killer Directed by John Woo

Critics reviews

If “The Killer” is partly a romantic comedy, Chow is the movie’s Julia Roberts: a glamour god, an It-Boy, striding through restaurants, parking garages, churches and apartment hallways in slow-motion, often armed and dangerous, jaw set, hair flowing. He’s in Woo’s spotlight from start to finish, worshipped by Woo’s gliding camera to the point where it seems to be counting every bead of sweat on his face.
September 12, 2015
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[It’s] a stylistic tour de force. Revisiting the movie’s second assassination setpiece—the one at the regatta—I was surprised to see Woo execute a move that I now associate with Spike Lee, of all people…
July 02, 2015
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I believed [in the early ‘90s]—and I certainly believe now, in retrospect—that The Killer reaching these shores was a watershed moment for action filmmaking, every bit as influential in shaping the genre’s future as Die Hard, which was produced a year earlier..Though John Woo was by no means a sui generis action savant—we’ll get into his pilfering of the other genre masters plenty, I’m sure—the idea of style itself being a primary attraction was new.
July 02, 2015
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What are people saying?

  • Nicholas Gregory's rating of the film The Killer

    Aside from 2010's The Man From Nowhere, few films since have acutely synchronized darkly effective, if still clearly, sensationalist emoting with high-octane action. Woo is a master of hyper-stylized, even operatic, action poetry doused in masculinity, with a flippant disregard to hiding boisterous exaggeration and silliness. Melodramatic, ya, but more excitingly emotional than most drama, with far greater energy.

  • Michael H. CLAES's rating of the film The Killer

    WOO is inspired by MELVILLE's Samourai (Jeff the Killer / Jeff COSTELLO), and uses PECKINPAH and LEONE slow-motion/accelerations. While creating an own kinetic, rhythm & choreography. His art is blossoming === WOO s'inspire du Samourai de MELVILLE (Jeff le Killer / Jeff COSTELLO) et emploie les ralentis/accélérés de PECKINPAH et LEONE. Tout en créant une cinétique, rythme & chorégraphie propre. Son art s'épanouit 3,5

  • Lights in the Dusk's rating of the film The Killer

    An absolute masterpiece from John Woo. The greatest synthesis of his preferred themes (outsiders, nobility, redemption, brothers on opposite sides of the law) with that ultra stylish, ultra violent approach to screen action. Drawing on the obvious influences of Peckinpah, Scorsese & Melville, the real innovation was in approaching gun battles with the same stylistic abandon as the sword-fights in old Wuxia films.

  • Gylfi's rating of the film The Killer

    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!

  • Bizzskip Nurse's rating of the film The Killer

    Same as A Better Tomorrow, the greatest action combines with deeply drama about respect, friendship, ironically fact between triad and police. Although the best of all for me is still A Better Tomorrow and i don't feel satisfied as much as i watched it, The Killer is a good description for action with heart.

  • Michael Harbour's rating of the film The Killer

    Quintessential (and essential) John Woo. This movie has all the hallmarks of a John Woo film: honor, respect, family, responsibility, debt, regret, self-possession and brilliantly staged, elaborate gun battles. Yun-Fat Chow and Danny Lee are perfectly cast as brothers in arms on opposite sides of the law.

  • Ethan's rating of the film The Killer

    This is another great action film from the duo of Chow Yun Fat and John Woo that makes other action films look like they're standing still. I'm hoping the Criterion releases this in a box set with Hard Boiled.

  • Dave's rating of the film The Killer

    think I still slightly prefer A Better Tomorrow, but this is yet another great action movie from Woo. The final 40-50 minutes or so are flat-out great. Yet another entry from Woo that makes it into my favorites of the 1980s.

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