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 37,115 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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2 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »



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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


This film will blow you away. 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?


John Woo improvised all of the action sequences on the set, with the actors, stuntmen and stunt director. He never used storyboards, partly to prevent his ideas from being stolen and partly because, according to the DVD commentary, he prefers to "work as an artist, like a painter. I want to show where my mood takes me." When Woo planned non-action scenes, he often changed things at the last minute. For instance, most of the dialogue in the apartment when Sydney double-crosses Jeff was improvised. See more »


During the church shootout, Inspector Li tells Jeffrey that he doesn't know his name; while he uses the nicknames "Jeffrey" and "Mickey Mouse," he doesn't know his full Chinese name. See more »


Joe (Cantonese)/Jeffrey (English): I felt someone walk over my grave.
See more »


References Narazumono (1964) See more »


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

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

The Master of Action shows why action IS art!
1 May 2001 | by (Philippines) – See all my reviews

There is no doubt in mind that "The Killer" is easily the MOST ARTISTIC ACTION FLICK in the world. Not only that, it's also the BEST ACTION-DRAMA film around!

Directed by John Woo (now at his popular peak with "M:I-2" as his vehicle), "The Killer" tells the story of a professional killer (Chow Yun-Fat), a cop and a lady caught in crossfire. Chow Yun-Fat's act for his character is very solid, and at the same time he perfectly fits the action sequences.

Also written by John Woo, you can clearly see many of The Master's trademarks like slow-motion action, stunts, deep characterization, drama, doves, two-fisted gunplay, and missing from his Hollywood flick...gore! This movie is full of blood and gore, and from my point of view it does not make the film dirty but rather more realistic and expressive.

About the action, the level of violence is very high like that of the gore. Since this is a Hong Kong-made movie, Woo had all the freedom he wants and it clearly shows why this is considered by his millions of fans as their favorite Woo flick.

Two-fisted gunplay is very well presented here. Seen Tom Cruise (M:I-2), Nicolas Cage (Face/Off), Christian Slater (Broken Arrow), Dolph Lundgren (Blackjack) and John Travolta (Face/Off) all fire with 2 guns each? Well, for newcomers here, two-fisted gunplay has gotten of to a great start even before Woo directed the above-mentioned Hollywood stars. Chow Yun-Fat's 2-gun firing is simply perfect and it shows! Chow is NO MARTIAL ARTIST or STUNTMAN like Jackie Chan, but his use of guns and acting makes him exceed with quality.

Chow Yun-Fat was not even a popular action star before teaming with Woo. But Woo made the difference for him and Chow's image has gotten better since.

John Woo's directing is really perfect. As mentioned above, he had all the creative freedom he wanted with this movie...something missing from his Hollywood films. "The Killer" is considered to be his biggest teamup with Chow.

Woo is known to make non-action stars look great in action...Tom Cruise is a perfect example of this when he made "M:I-2".

Contrary to popular belief among newcomers, "The Killer" is an ART FILM. Those newcomers who've seen "M:I-2" might think that this classic is another "blockbuster" or brainless-action film. Anyone who understands the link between action and art will easily recognize the greatness Woo made here. Eventually, YOU'LL CARE ABOUT THE CHARACTERS AS THE STORY MOVES ON.

That said, the story is not about violence and money. The story presents CHARACTER, EMOTION, SORRY and HONOR. As a viewer, you should not just look at the action scenes, but you should concentrate on the story and characters within.

My conclusion: "The Killer" is a PURE QUALITY MOVIE THAT NEEDS TO BE SEEN BY EVERYONE. Whether you're a casual movie fan, quality viewer, blockbuster lover or whatever type of viewer you are, "The Killer" is film excellence as long as the viewer understands it.

Want the most artistic of action? REMEMBER THE KILLER!

18 of 26 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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