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The Killer (The Criterion Collection)

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Manufacturer Description

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.

This 1989 rouser is apocalyptic pulp--the bloodiest, showiest, most shamelessly sentimental specimen of Hong Kong's gangster melodramas. A torch singer named Jennie (Sally Yeh) is accidentally blinded during a slaying in a night club, and Chow Yun-fat's sad-eyed Jeff, a self-lacerating assassin, drags himself out of retirement to take on one last job--rubbing out a major mobster for major bucks--so he can pay for the singer's cornea transplant operation. But Jeff pauses to ferry a wounded child to the hospital during this final outing, and because of this a cop finally gets a good look at him: "He was seen on the job," snarls a saturnine Mr. Big, "and I want him wasted." Armies of thugs converge on the saintly slayer. Some of writer-director John Woo's flourishes are kitsch classics (doves flying upward in a candlelit church), while the action sequences are rapturous. "Life's cheap," a character opines. "It only takes one bullet," but in this case it actually takes about a dozen spewing bullet hits to kill anyone, as soulful triads in mirror shades and duster overcoats blaze away with high-tech weaponry. (A favorite trick involves grasping an enemy by the lapels, pulling him into a waltz embrace, and pumping several slugs into his duodenum.) Danny Lee, Chow's costar in City on Fire, is the intense, young officer who fixates on the killer's contradictory personality. --David Chute

Key Product Details

  • Director: John Woo
  • Number Of Discs: 1
  • Run Time: 111 (Minutes)
  • UPC: 715515008976