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The Killer (1989)
"Dip huet seung hung" (original title)

R  |   |  Action, Crime, Drama  |  September 1990 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 36,781 users  
Reviews: 228 user | 73 critic

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.



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Complete credited cast:
Ah Jong (as Chow Yun Fat)
Danny Lee ...
Sally Yeh ...
Kong Chu ...
Fung Sei (as Chu Kong)
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
Siu-Hung Ng ...
A Killer
Yamson Domingo ...
Bodyguard A
Siu Hung Ngan ...
Bodyguard B
Kwong Leung Wong ...
Wong Tong


A violent Hong Kong action film, this is the story of an assassin, Jeffrey Chow (aka Mickey Mouse) who takes one last job so he can retire and care for his girlfriend Jenny. When his employers betray him, he reluctantly joins forces with Inspector Lee (aka Dumbo), the cop who is pursuing him. Together, the new friends face the final confrontation of the gangsters out to kill them. Written by Jeff Hansen <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


One Vicious Hitman. One Fierce Cop. Ten Thousand Bullets. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:





| |

Release Date:

September 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Killer  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


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

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


During the assassination at the boat race, Ah Jong wraps a bandana around his left hand. At the time that this scene was filmed, Yun-Fat Chow was simultaneously working on A Better Tomorrow III: Love and Death in Saigon (1989); on the set of that film, he cut his finger on the front sight of an Uzi submachine gun during a stunt. Afterwards, he went straight to the set of this film to shoot the assassination scene, with his hand still injured and the bandana wrapped around it. John Woo decided to include this in the film. See more »


The car boot closes itself on the beach See more »


Lee: You sang beautifully just now.
Jennie: I sing for him, and he isn't here.
Lee: Jeffrey? You sing with such emotion about him. I feel like I know him. Thanks for sharing something so important.
Jennie: I just wish he were here now.
Lee: Wherever he may roam, you'll be in his thoughts, Jenny. The better part of him will always be here.
See more »


References Le Samouraï (1967) See more »


Once In A Lifetime
Performed by Sally Yeh
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Woo's Best; An Amalgamation of Drama and Action
20 June 2004 | by (New Jersey) – See all my reviews

John Woo's "The Killer" shows a master at the height of his powers. Woo, today working in the United States, gained fame in Hong Kong through the two "Better Tomorrow" films. He became popular and used his success to go to greater things. In fact, much of Woo's HK work is similar, including the work he did in the early 90's like "Bullet in the Head" and "Hard Boiled". But "The Killer" shows John Woo as a perfectionist, the top director of action films who can perfectly blend in over-the-top violence with emotional drama.

"The Killer" follows John (Jeff in other versions of the film), who's played to utter perfection by Chow Yun Fat. John is a hit-man planning retirement. On one job, however, he accidentally shoots a singer (Jenny) near her eyes. She survives, but her vision is blurry. John saves her from a gang of rapist thieves, and the two ultimately fall in love with each other, despite Jenny never having seen John's face. On John's case, however, is Inspector Li, hard at work, who is intent on always getting his man. Much of the movie involves John and the results of his final job which ultimately pits him up against the entire mob, who want him dead for overexposing his identity. And the rest of the film follows John catering to Jenny's needs and helping her at every moment, all the while evading Li, who's getting closer and closer to stopping him.

To make the movie the memorable film that it is, Woo perfectly orchestrates some of the best shoot-outs ever seen on film. Much of what Woo did here, he was never able to follow up. "Hard Boiled" was interesting, but its final shoot-out, over 20 minutes in length, just couldn't keep up. It got boring by the end. What Woo does in "The Killer" is give you a sample of his powers and then leave you begging for more. And that what you'll be literally doing: begging for just a glimpse of the next dude victim to Fat's two beautiful handguns.

It's only sad to see that, not so much Woo doesn't do these films anymore, but that Woo rarely does good films now.(Period) He's too busy, working on ego with top stars and killer budgets. His two films that came as far as making an impact with me from his U.S. catalog will probably include "Broken Arrow" and "Face/Off", both primarily due to just how much I like Travolta (though the former was also an early film of mine that I really remember liking, since it was different from all the Disney and kid stuff I was used to). But Woo, intent on fulfilling his dreams of making a musical and captivating audiences with his powerful style, can just show the people a screening of this film. It's quoted as being "Violence as poetry", and that's exactly what it is. With the beautiful music adding feeling and depth to the characters and the great writing and direction, this is easily Woo's tour-de-force.

9.5/10 (****/****)

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