Wednesday, October 3, 2012

803. Die xue shuang xiong/The Killer (1989)

Running Time: 107 minutes
Directed By: John Woo
Written By: John Woo
Main Cast: Chow Yun-fat, Danny Lee, Sally Yeh, Kenneth Tsang, Chu Kong
Click here to view the trailer


I hope you all enjoyed the recap the other day. I always have such an easy and fun time writing those up. I always feel like my opinions are better expressed in the span of one or two sentences rather than one or two paragraphs, but this is how I do it now and there's no turning back. Hey..."The Killer" is on tap for today and what a movie it was!

Like I said in my subtitle, this movie is BAD-ASSERY at it's finest (and just so you know, the word BAD-ASSERY legally cannot be written in anything but all caps) and provided me with an action packed Tuesday night at the movies. Chow Yun-fat stars as Ah Jong, a contract killer with a conscience. The film opens with him sitting in a church, surrounded by hundreds of burning candles and fluttering doves, rain pouring outside and his Triad manager paying him a visit. The Triad is like this network of contract killers that Ah Jong works for. He receives his newest target, along with a briefcase full of cash and the appropriate weaponry and goes to work. His target just happens to be dining at this little nightclub, where beautiful singer Jennie (Yeh) just happens to be performing. Ah Jong listens to Jennie's melodious voice for a moment and then calmly goes to work, blowing away his target and everyone who tries to retaliate. In the confusion, Ah Jong fires his gun too close to Jennie's face and the flash damages her cornea's. Flash forward a few weeks (maybe months) and Jennie is back at the nightclub performing, but with badly damaged vision. Ah Jong listens to her and when she's nearly mugged outside, he walks her home safely and a relationship is formed. See, Jennie doesn't know that Ah Jong is the killer, the same man that damaged her eyes. She just thinks he's a sweet, good Samaritan with a heart of gold. Ah Jong sees Jennie for weeks and finally decides that his next hit will be his last. He plans to ask for $1.5 million for his next job, enough to take Jennie to America and pay for her eye surgery. Things, of course, don't go as planned and I'll stop there because if I keep going this review could get a little long. Suffice it to say that I haven't even talked about Detective Li (Lee), a major character in the film and I've already outlined a pretty terrific sounding picture.

This movie was like eating a big piece of chocolate cake in the midst of a diet. It was indulgent! I'm not going to be able to say enough good things about this movie, so I better start now so I don't risk writing too much. From the word "go", John Woo doesn't let his foot off the accelerator, handing us action packed scene after action packed scene, not to mention some pretty kick ass cinematography. The greatness of the photography actually really surprised me because to look at the film, it really looks low budget and maybe it is. However, Woo and his cameraman got dozens of memorable shots (not gunshots, although there are plenty of those too) on their seemingly shoestring budget. Honestly, this kind of thing usually isn't my cup of tea. Hollywood produces mass amounts of high body count movies each year and I've never gotten into that sort of thing. However, if well made, I can literally go for ANYTHING and this is an straight up, very well made action movie.

Sure, sometimes the film seems a little contrived and the storyline sometimes gets a little sappy (contract killer with a heart of gold, determined to get eye surgery for the one he has eyes for), but this is a film where I was totally up for a little stretching of the imagination and didn't mind just letting Woo's story do it's thing. Woo dedicated "The Killer" to Martin Scorsese and it's easy to see that he was inspired by the man. It's also easy to see where guys like Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez were inspired by Woo. Do yourself a favor and indulge in "The Killer", you won't be disappointed. In a book filled with movies that feel like doing homework, this movie allows you to toss your thinking cap aside, sit back and be blow away by the boat chases, car chases, foot chases, gun battles and bloodshed. It's fun and it's really good and usually that's a hard combination to come by.

RATING: 9/10  I can't go all the way, but a '9' is nothing to sneeze at and trust me, this is a top candidate for the next TOP 20.


October 3, 2012  1:34pm

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