Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Killer

John Woo's The Killer is like the epitome of the 80's action movie while also being the father of many a 90's action movie. The story concerns Ah Jong (Chow Yun-Fat), an assassin who accidentally blinds lounge singer Jennie (Sally Yeh) during a shootout at one of his hits. He tries to help her with surgeries to get her failing sight back, and agrees to take on one last hit to pay for her surgery. He's double crossed by the people that are supposed to pay him, while also crossing paths with Detective Li Ying (Danny Lee) who's on the case of the contract killings. It's a textbook late 80's thriller, with all the ridiculous cliche that accompanies such action fare. And it's also completely awesome.

And when I say cliche, I mean the super believable kind like how the hero never has to reload his pistol because it magically has a clip capacity of a thousand. It's sometimes comical to see Chow Yun-Fat unload on a bad guy with 8 or 10 shots, only to keep going with innumerable more shots afterwards. The body count on the movie is supposedly 120, and the movie is less than 2 hours long. But there's also the 80's music, freeze frames, slow-motion, guys wielding double pistols, cheap sound effects, a screaming woman who won't just stay down and hide, quick flashbacks to things we haven't had time to forget yet. Seriously, the first flashback is like 8 minutes into the movie, flashing back to something that literally happened 3 minutes ago. It almost feels like a parody of these kinds of movies because it's done so well and has so many of the cliches in it, but that just lets you know where a lot of these came from.

Still, even with all that seemingly negative stuff (which aren't negatives here), this movie is awesome. The church finale is particularly over-the-top, bloody, unbelievable, ridiculous, amazing, and one of the high points of action cinema. And heading the whole thing is Chow Yun-Fat at his coolest. Even as cheesy 80's-ness is happening all around him, the dude is just badass and magnetic. What a wonderful ride this movie is.

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