7.8/10
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The Killer (1989)

Dip huet seung hung (original title)
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1:26 | Trailer

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A disillusioned assassin accepts one last hit in hopes of using his earnings to restore vision to a singer he accidentally blinded, only to be double-crossed by his boss.

Director:

John Woo

Writer:

John Woo
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2 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Yun-Fat Chow ... Ah Jong (as Chow Yun Fat)
Danny Lee ... Insp. Li Ying / Little Eagle
Sally Yeh ... Jennie
Kong Chu ... Fung Sei (as Chu Kong)
Kenneth Tsang ... Sgt. Tsang Yeh (as Tsang Kong)
Fui-On Shing ... Wong Hoi (as Shing Fui On)
Wing-Cho Yip ... Wong Dung-Yu
Fan Wei Yee ... Paul Yau
Barry Wong ... Chief Insp. Dou / Tu
Parkman Wong ... Insp. Chan Bok
Alan Ng Alan Ng ... A Killer (as Siu-Hung Ng)
Yamson Domingo Yamson Domingo ... Bodyguard A
Siu Hung Ngan Siu Hung Ngan ... Bodyguard B
Kwong Leung Wong ... Wong Hung
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Storyline

Jeffrey is an assassin who wishes to leave the business so he can take care of Jennie, the beautiful lounge singer who he inadvertently blinded during a previous assignment. Li Ying is the determined cop who will stop at nothing to bring him in, only he realizes that Jeffrey is no ordinary assassin, and wishes to help him in his quest. Only problem is that Jeffrey's employers refuse to pay him for his last job, money which is needed to restore Jennie's eyesight. Written by Vince at unigx.ubc.ca

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

This film will blow you away. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for pervasive strong violence and some language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Hong Kong

Language:

Cantonese | Mandarin | Japanese

Release Date:

September 1990 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Killer See more »

Filming Locations:

The Peak, Hong Kong See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (USA) (2002) (R-rated) | (extended)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film is part of the Criterion Collection, spine #8. See more »

Goofs

During the attack at home, bullets from the machine gun riddle the bed, but the gun is pointing in the wrong direction. See more »

Quotes

Joe (Cantonese)/Jeffrey (English): I thought those I killed deserved to die. Now I believe everbody has the right to live.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The Taiwan version has a scene where it shows Jenny sitting in her dressing room while hearing the gunshots around 5 minutes into the movie. See more »

Connections

References Yojimbo (1961) See more »

Soundtracks

Once In A Lifetime
Performed by Sally Yeh
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
John Woo is the master
12 July 1999 | by AnardilSee all my reviews

Before seeing a genuine Hong-Kong produced John Woo movie, I thought I knew what action was, and what the action-movie genre was capable of. I was wrong. The Killer was the single most impressive, awe-inspiring, jaw-dropping action movie I had seen in years, and is now one of my favourite movies of any genre. It is #2 on my all-time list.

Why? First of all, the well-known poetic violence of the super-charged action scenes make for a tremendously exciting film. These combine choreographed bloodshed (there is an almost constant stream of bullets) with raw emotion that puts even the best Hollywood actioners to shame. Look at Hollywood action movies today; almost all Hollywood action is inspired (not to mention plagiarised) from the "heroic bloodshed films," the best of which is The Killer.

Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez are only the most obvious examples of American directors to put Woo's trademark stylized violence to use, and neither handle it as well as Woo.

But beyond this, the characters and the story are what drive this movie and what truly set it apart. The story of the relentless cop and the vicious killer is only the latest in a long line of detective stories, starting with Arthur Conan Doyle and Edgar Allan Poe in the 19th century, and continuing in every cop show on TV today. The hero and the villain are practically the same; they are only divided by an almost arbitrary line called the law. In The Killer, both "Mickey Mouse" and "Dumbo" are unrelenting, capable, though misunderstood, professionals. Their motivations differ, but they both have the killer instinct. The classic storyline of the interaction of the two characters who eventually realize their similarities and end up working together has been seen before, but never has it been used to such effect as in The Killer.

Woo's familiar themes of brotherhood, betrayal and loyalty also reach their cinematic peak in this movie. The viewer not only wants to see the next pyrotechnic action scene, but is actually concerned with the lives of the characters, an element that is almost always lacking in typical Hollywood fare.

Finally, the gun-battle scenes, when they come, are simply the most spectacular, mind-blowingly violent, yet strangely beautiful, action scenes ever imagined or filmed. And last but not least, is the unbelievably powerful screen presence of Chow Yun-Fat, as always cool incarnate. His effortless lead and the tension created by his playing off of co-star Danny Lee make The Killer as close as I have yet seen to the perfect action movie. I recommend it to any hard-core action fan and also suggest Hard-Boiled, though Woo's American efforts thus far have not been up to his Hong Kong works.

Rating: 10


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