When three close friends escape from Hong Kong to war-time Saigon to start a criminal's life, they all go through a harrowing experience which totally shatters their lives and their friendship forever.
Tony Chiu-Wai Leung,
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
Because it was so hard to get permits, some of the footage for Tony Weng's assassination scene was shot under the pretense that director John Woo was doing a documentary about Hong Kong's annual Dragon Boat race. Woo shot the bulk of the footage five months earlier, and brought in a small crew later to fill in the gaps. Woo ended up editing the scene himself, which took three weeks. Woo is a huge fan of musicals, and tried to think of the sequence as a musical number or dance sequence. He even edited it in time to the soundtrack. See more »
When Jeff goes to the back room in the first gun battle at the bar, a man takes aim at him from behind the bar counter with a shotgun. Jeff turns his attention to another man with a gun, and then looks back to the man behind the bar, who is seen putting the shotgun into firing position once more. See more »
The first British retail release on VHS from Palace Video contained two very brief moments not available on either later VHS-releases and, or the current DVD-release. They occur during the shootout in the church, and are as follows;
A short scene where Chow Yun Fat and Danny Lee rises from a crouching position and starts to shoot, before they start walking towards the entrance.
A short scene where Chow Yun Fat glides on the floor on his stomach towards the entrance of the church, shooting a gun in each hand. (A part of this scene are shown in the theatrical trailer of the film.)
Among Revenge and Forgiveness, Among Bullets and Faithfulness
Chow Yun Fat and John Woo teams up together with strong commitment to this highly melodramatic action film. The Killer was so ahead of its time especially with its signature shootout scenes and fast paced action sequences in its time of production in Hong-Kong. Without any special, visual or sound effects; it's a high achievement on both sound and vision. It's high on thematic values, but low on production values.
Woo benefited a lot from a team of action-coordinators as part of the production crew he assigned with. 20 years from its screen release, today still there are not many action films in which the sequences are coordinated as good as in The Killer. The rest of the production was standing by its plot, which becomes unbearable due to extremely melodramatic events. Woo tries to hurt our feelings as much as he can by killing and injuring innocents so ruthlessly: Passengers on a train, children on a beach, singers at a night club etc.
Lowell Lo's heart-wrenching theme and background music was one of the finest of the thematic values. Story development is also very effective that everything seems going fine at the beginning of Jong(the hit-man)'s last mission, then for he wasn't paid for his successful assassination he decides to show up back from underground with his alias: "Jeffrey". When he did, a stage singer ends up losing her sight and becomes blind from shot blasting. Jong helps her get well; she falls in love with him. He introduces himself as Jeffrey to her. No matter what romance they share together, no matter how close they are to each other; there is absolutely no accordance no chemistry between Sally Yeh and Chow Yun-Fat. Sally Yeh acts so poorly, especially while she keeps screaming needlessly every other scene.
For whoever likes this film, I strongly advise Léon to them. The same idea also works in Luc Besson's film, too: In a hit-man's life; there is no certain way to go, there is nobody to trust, there is no repentance. In Luc Besson's film of 1994, Jean Reno and Natalie Portman builds up a better harmony using emotions but not melodrama.
Additionally in John Woo's film, even though Chow Yun-Fat is not fast enough he just stands by the bullets by running, or guards himself with armchairs and seats of the cathedral which are vulnerable to bullets with the gaps between backrests. So many bullets are used... Were they shot by children or blind hitmans? How could you explain not getting shot while 4 hitmans are aiming at you running inside the cathedral and running on the beach? On the other hand, every single bullet that's used in Léon, hurts one person or another; or leaves marks, tracks and holes on walls, and in the texture of the floor. It's not an acquirement to waste 10 thousand bullets in a movie; but it's really an achievement when you configure a sub-production plan just to preview and review the bullets in both pre-production and production.
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