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

R  |   |  Action, Crime, Drama  |  September 1990 (USA)
7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 35,816 users  
Reviews: 224 user | 70 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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Title: The Killer (1989)

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Cast

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
Edit

Storyline

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 <jmh@umich.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Biggest Body Count in History. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

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Release Date:

September 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Killer  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

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

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

John Woo:  [hospital]  See more »

Goofs

The same boat appears twice behind Jeffrey at the docks while he's calling Jenny. See more »

Quotes

Joe (Cantonese)/Jeffrey (English): Would you rather see me dead or set free?
Lee: Neither, if fate spares us.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Hitman: Blood Money (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

It's Been Written
Performed by Sally Yeh
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
John Woo is the master
12 July 1999 | by (Toronto, Canada) – See 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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