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Dip huet seung hung
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The Killer (1989) More at IMDbPro »Dip huet seung hung (original title)

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The Killer -- 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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John Woo (written by)
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Release Date:
September 1990 (USA) See more »
This film will blow you away. See more »
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. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
2 wins & 6 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
One of Hong Kong's best films See more (234 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Yun-Fat Chow ... Ah Jong (as Chow Yun Fat)

Danny Lee ... Insp. Li Ying / Little Eagle

Sally Yeh ... Jennie
Kong Chu ... Fung Sei (as Chu Kong)

Kenneth Tsang ... 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
Alan Ng ... A Killer (as Siu-Hung Ng)
Yamson Domingo ... Bodyguard A
Siu Hung Ngan ... Bodyguard B
Kwong Leung Wong ... Wong Hung
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Simon Broad ... Ah Jong (voice: English version) (uncredited)
Chuen Chiang ... Shooter at beach (uncredited)
Chin Hung Fan ... Shooter at beach (uncredited)
Woon Ling Hau ... Trash lady (uncredited)
Dion Lam ... Wong Hoi's Thug (uncredited)
Chung Lin ... Jueng Wan / Ah Jong's First Victim (uncredited)
Hung Lu ... ReviewBboard Officer (uncredited)
Danny Ng ... Frank's Killer (uncredited)
Pierre Tremblay ... Wong Hoi (voice) (uncredited)
Hsiang Lin Yin ... Syndicate Man (uncredited)

Directed by
John Woo 
Writing credits
John Woo (written by)

Produced by
Hark Tsui .... producer (as Tsui Hark)
Original Music by
Lowell Lo  (as Lowell Lowe)
Cinematography by
Peter Pau  (as Peter Pao)
Wing-Hang Wong  (as Wong Wing Hang)
Film Editing by
Kung-Wing Fan  (as Fan Kung Ming)
Art Direction by
Man-Wah Luk  (as Luk Man Wah)
Set Decoration by
Jan-Ching Tai  (as Chun-Ching Tai)
Costume Design by
Shirley Chan 
Makeup Department
Yu Lai Cheng .... makeup artist
Benny Chow .... hair stylist
Judy Mann .... makeup artist
Yvonne Yen .... makeup artist
Production Management
Claudie Chung Jan .... executive in charge of production (as Claudie Chung)
Virginia Lau .... production manager
Roy Leung .... assistant production manager
Kwong-Hing Ngan .... unit manager (as Kwong-King Ngan)
Lai-Ping Tsang .... post-production supervisor
Deanne Yew .... production manager (as Deannie Yew)
Patrick Yip .... production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Chi Ming Leung .... second assistant director (as Leung Chi Ming)
Patrick Leung .... first assistant director
Art Department
Wei-Kuo Hsu .... assistant art director
Shi Cheng Yang .... props
Sound Department
Siu-Lung Ching .... sound effects
Hsueh-Yui Feng .... dubbing editor: mandarin (as Hsue-Yui Fung)
Yu Ting .... dubbing editor: cantonese
Siu-Tung Ching .... action coordinator (as Ching Siu Tung)
Siu-Tung Ching .... stunts
Chi-Ho Lau .... action coordinator (as Lau Chi Ho)
Chi-Ho Lau .... stunts
Bruce Law .... car stunt coordinator (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Kim-Kit Chik .... chief electrician
Kim-Kit Chik .... lighting technician
Wai-Ming Ip .... still photographer
Fok-Shing Kan .... electrician (as Fook Sing Kam)
Tak-Shing Lee .... chief electrician
Wai-Tak Lee .... assistant camera
Sau-Ting Shin .... still photographer
Jan-Wah Yuen .... assistant camera
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Ping Tong .... wardrobe mistress
Editorial Department
Chan-Kuen Pang .... assistant editor
Music Department
Susan Tang .... lyricist: theme song
James Wong .... lyricist: theme song
David Wu .... music editor
Sally Yeh .... singer: theme song
Other crew
Billie Chan .... unit publicist
Kathy Cheung .... production accountant
Janet Chin .... continuity
Janet Chun .... script supervisor
Sylvia Fung .... tea lady
Gloria Ho .... production security
Wysum Pao .... continuity
Chi-Wah Tse .... production assistant
Stephen Wong Chi-Sing .... Cantonese voice dubbing: Shing Fui-On (uncredited)
Chu Chi Chung .... Cantonese voice dubbing: Danny Lee (uncredited)
François Frey .... press attache (uncredited)
Mariah Breitel Hembree .... post script services (uncredited)
Yeung Zit Hong .... Cantonese voice dubbing: Barry Wong Ping-Yu (uncredited)
Chan Wing Shun .... Cantonese voice dubbing: Ricky Yi Fan-Wai (uncredited)
Chan Wing Shun .... Cantonese voice dubbing: Tommy Wong (uncredited)
Chan Wing Shun .... Cantonese voice dubbing: Yip Wing-Cho (uncredited)
Doris Lo So-Kuen .... Cantonese voice dubbing: Sally Yeh (uncredited)
Kenneth Chan Yan .... Cantonese voice dubbing: Parkman Wong Pak-Man (uncredited)
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial EffectsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Dip huet seung hung" - Hong Kong (original title)
See more »
Rated R for pervasive strong violence and some language (edited version)
111 min | Australia:96 min | Taiwan:141 min | 104 min (R-rated version) (USA) (2002) | 124 min (extended version)
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Argentina:16 | Australia:R | Canada:R (Ontario) | Canada:13+ (Quebec) | Canada:18+ (Quebec) (Original rating) | Finland:K-18 | France:16 | Germany:18 (SPIO/JK) (uncut) | Germany:Not Rated (cut) | Hong Kong:IIB | Iceland:16 | Ireland:18 | Japan:R-15 | Malaysia:18SG | Netherlands:16 | New Zealand:R16 | Norway:18 (video premiere) | Singapore:NC-16 | South Korea:18 (VHS/DVD rating) | South Korea:15 (theatrical rating) | Spain:18 | Sweden:(Banned) | UK:18 | USA:Unrated | USA:R (certificate #39476) (edited version) | USA:X (original rating)
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

The scene where Jeff beats up Jennie's would-be attackers in the alley was tough for Yun-Fat Chow, who doesn't like violence. Director John Woo wanted hard hits, but Chow had trouble at first. After some coaching from Woo, Chow was able to muster up anger to make the scene more convincing. In fact, it became too convincing, as the stuntmen had to tell Chow to pull his punches a bit after one of them got hurt. Chow got hurt himself during the filming of the church shootout, when a piece of plaster cut his face, missing his eye by an inch. You can see the cut during the part where Jeff and Li talk before leaving the church.See more »
Continuity: 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 »
Lee:I believe in justice, but nobody trusts me.
Joe (Cantonese)/Jeffrey (English):I have the same problem.
See more »
Movie Connections:
It's Been WrittenSee more »


What are the differences between the French Extended Version and the Original Taiwanese Extended Version?
Is Chow Yun Fat's character called Jeffery or John?
What are the differences between the Hongkong Theatrical Version and the Taiwan Version?
See more »
61 out of 78 people found the following review useful.
One of Hong Kong's best films, 12 May 2003
Author: Simon Booth from UK

The Killer is widely regarded as John Woo's best all round film, and makes an appearance on an extraordinary number of people's Top 10 lists. This may be because it was the first Hong Kong movie a lot of people saw, as it was one of the first to get any kind of widespread attention in the US. It doesn't feature in my own Top 10, but that's not because it isn't good

Chow Yun Fat plays the titular killer, an assassin who begins to regret his life of violence after accidentally blinding singer Sally Yeh during an assassination. Danny Lee plays the cop on his case, who begins to find he can relate to the killer more than he can to many of his colleagues. Both men are shown to be men whose values of loyalty and honour are increasingly being forgotten by the society in which they live.

THE KILLER pretty much defines the "Heroic Bloodshed" genre, taking the code of chivalry from the old swordplay films and bringing it into the world of guns and bullets. Woo basically started the whole genre with the seminal A BETTER TOMORROW, but THE KILLER is the most distilled vision of the concept he or anybody else in Hong Kong produced. It's a very romanticised film - even though the main characters earn their livings from violence, they're painted as very noble characters and starkly contrasted with the real villains (led by Shing Fui On in his best role ever) who kill without honour. There's a broad message of peace and restraint from violence there too, though it's somewhat conflicted with the romanticisation of some of the bloodshed.

John Woo and Chow Yun Fat were serious box office gold when THE KILLER was made - apart from another Jackie/Sammo/Biao collaboration there was probably no more anticipated collaboration than this one. As such, THE KILLER was afforded a budget and shooting schedule that most Hong Kong productions could never dream of (though still no doubt miniscule compared to any Hollywood film of the time). This is evident in the quality of the production on pretty much ever level. The film has as high production values as any Hong Kong film ever made, and is surely one of the most technically accomplished. Credit for this must be shared between cinematographer Peter Pau, producer Tsui Hark and of course director John Woo.

I've always suspected that the real talent behind the film was probably Tsui Hark - it's rumoured that Tsui & Woo fell out heavily because Tsui felt THE KILLER should be "A Tsui Hark Film" and not "A John Woo" film. Evidence for this is that Woo's earlier and later films have been largely lacking the substance and depth of THE KILLER (especially his Hollywood films, but everybody gets that in Hollywood). However, the interviews on the Hong Kong Legends DVD clearly show that Woo had a vision and pursuit of excellence that was the driving force in the project. He's spoken of very highly by his cast and DOP, who give him the full credit for the film's success. I'd like to hear Tsui Hark's side of the story though

The attention to detail in the film is most obvious in the cinematography. This was Peter Pau's first big film, and the one that established him as one of Hong Kong's top cinematographers. He gives Woo most of the credit for the film's visual style though, describing how much thought Woo would give to the way the camera should be positioned and move to bring out the emotional quality of the scene. I don't have the knowledge/education to be able to perceive how the camerawork in the film does contribute to the emotional depth, but I can acknowledge that it's effective.

Woo is often regarded by Western film makers as the best director of action in the world. I think Tsui Hark probably deserves that credit more, but Woo certainly redefined the way gunplay was choreographed and filmed. HARD BOILED is his finest work in this respect, but THE KILLER certainly comes second. The action was choreographed by Ching Siu Tung, who was evidently a little uncomfortable with choreographing gunplay when he worked on A BETTER TOMORROW 2 (sorry, but most of the shoot outs in that are just people running round randomly waving their guns at stuntmen). He'd obviously improved his skills a *lot* by the time of THE KILLER though, as the action scenes are exciting and violently beautiful. The grand finale in a church is surely one of the best gunplay sequences ever filmed, topped only by the finale of HARD BOILED.

Some Western audiences find THE KILLER too melodramatic, and for an audience not raised on the swordplay and kung fu films that influenced Woo the romanticised notions of loyalty, honour and integrity may seem rather alien and strange. It's a theme that has long been found in Hong Kong Cinema though, so perhaps it reflects a more Chinese set of values than the average American or European is used to experiencing. It would be especially rare to find such emotional scenes in a Hollywood action movie, where the action genre is usually considered to be wholly distinct from drama. Perhaps it's this that makes THE KILLER such a wide hit whenever it is screened in the US.

So, although I won't put THE KILLER in my Top 10 list, I definitely won't dispute the fact that it's one of the best realised films Hong Kong has produced. John Woo is unlikely to produce a film of this calibre again, and unfortunately it's unlikely Chow Yun Fat will do either. As for Danny Lee, this was undoubtedly the highlight of his career - Psychadelic Cop anyone? Sally Yeh also gives her most memorable performance, and a surprisingly convincing blind character for somebody that had no real acting training. Shing Fui On and Kenneth Tsang have never looked better either. In fact, for almost everybody involved this was probably the high point of their career.


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