There is something to be said about a John Woo film. Even though at times the scripts for his features kind of suck ("Mission Impossible 2") and most of his American features tend to lack the substance that his visual side heaps on - I pretty much love all of them. He is just has a unique style all his own and is one of the best action directors of all time. But his older pictures tend to be my favorites.
For me, "Hard Boiled" is the be all and end all of great action films, but for years I wanted to catch a viewing of "The Killer", his big break in film making. Luckily for me, my brother happened across an old DVD copy of this bad boy at a random pawn shop and VOILA! One certified happy Matt Reifschneider!
So did "The Killer" live up to its intense hype that I've endured through the years? I would have to give a few gun shots in the air for yes on that one. "The Killer" was a killer film indeed and ranks up there with the great Gun-Fu action films of all time.
Of course, Chow Yun Fat is stunning as 'Jeffrey' (or so the subtitles call him) the badass assassin that decides to turn his life around after accidentally blinding a very talented singer in a club shootout. Of course, as with any mob related associate should know by now, your boss isn't interested in your retirement as much as he is in knocking you off. So now Jeffrey is thrown into a whole lotta gun shooting clusterfucks as he avoids both a renegade cop on his trail and a legion of waiting to be shot henchmen.
Now the story may not be all that original anymore, but its lack of originality is by far made up for the heart of the story. Great performances on top of that (including a very solid performance from Fat and Lee) and this ballet of bullets is ready for flight. John Woo's style comes full force in this one too, with his stylistically chosen gun battles and choreography taking the main bulk of the film. Many of the gun downs are memorable with the finale church making one of the most recognizable action scenes in film history. Come one, doves! You can fly away this time! Be free!
If I had any complaints at all, it would be the fairly shoddy editing. Lucky for "The Killer" but the spice and substance of the rest of the film easily overrides the awful editing and soon it just becomes part of the 'flavor' of the film instead of an annoyance.
"The Killer" is just badass in essence. Fat is badass. His character is badass. Woo is badass. Hell, even the random child that becomes a plot device is badass. This film just reeks of badass-ness. Recommended for those not allergic to badass.
Written By Matt Reifschneider