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The Killer (1989)

Dip huet seung hung (original title)
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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.



2 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Ah Jong (as Chow Yun Fat)
Kong Chu ...
Fung Sei (as Chu Kong)
Sgt. Tsang Yeh (as Tsang Kong)
Wong Hoi (as Shing Fui On)
Wing-Cho Yip ...
Wong Dung-Yu
Fan Wei Yee ...
Paul Yau
Parkman Wong ...
Insp. Chan Bok
Alan Ng ...
A Killer (as Siu-Hung Ng)
Yamson Domingo ...
Bodyguard A
Siu Hung Ngan ...
Bodyguard B
Kwong Leung Wong ...
Wong Hung


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


One Vicious Killer. One Relentless Cop... ...Ten Thousand Bullets. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:





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Release Date:

September 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Killer  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Technical Specs


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

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Jeff and Li's "Mexican standoff" in Jennie's apartment was inspired by Sam Peckinpah's The Wild Bunch (1969). John Woo notes on the Fox Lorber DVD commentary that Mad magazine's "Spy vs. Spy" also played a part in constructing this scene. See more »


Near the end of the film, when the heroes are walking out of the church, John Chow carries a gun in one hand and the briefcase in the other, while Li carries a gun in one hand and holds onto a wound with the other hand. A split second later, we see them from behind, emerging from the church with Chow firing from a gun in each hand and Li firing a shotgun. Then we see them front on again, each holding a single gun. See more »


Joe (Cantonese)/Jeffrey (English): Don't hurt her, you maniac!
Johnny Weng: No, I won't hurt her. I'll blow her head off!
See more »


Referenced in Hard Rain (1998) See more »


Once In A Lifetime
Performed by Sally Yeh
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

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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