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The Killer (1989)

Dip huet seung hung (original title)
1:26 | Trailer
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.


John Woo


John Woo
2 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »





Complete credited cast:
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 Alan Ng ... A Killer (as Siu-Hung Ng)
Yamson Domingo Yamson Domingo ... Bodyguard A
Siu Hung Ngan Siu Hung Ngan ... Bodyguard B
Kwong Leung Wong ... Wong Hung


A Hong Kong hitman accidentally blinds an innocent woman during a hit. He is determined to get her surgery to help her regain her sight but he needs to complete one more hit first. He completes the job but then is ambushed as he tries to escape: someone wants him dead. Meanwhile a resourceful, unorthodox police detective is hot on his trail. Written by grantss

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:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


John Woo has previously acknowledged that the film was inspired by Jean-Pierre Melville's Le Samurai (1967) which was in turn inspired by a novel titled The Ronin by Joan McLeod. Other inspirations mentioned include Martin Scorsese's Mean Streets (1973), Francois Truffaut's Jules and Jim (1962), and the films of Sam Peckinpah. See more »


When people get shot, sparks can be seen coming from the bullet wounds. Since the impact of a bullet upon flesh or clothing does not produce sparks, this is evidently the result of a small explosive charge to create the effect. See more »


Joe (Cantonese)/Jeffrey (English): I thought those I killed deserved to die. Now I believe everbody has the right to live.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The Taiwan version has a scene where it shows Jenny sitting in her dressing room while hearing the gunshots around 5 minutes into the movie. See more »


Referenced in Nel cuore della notte (2002) See more »


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

User Reviews

John Woo's masterpiece one of his best HK classics action films ever!
18 January 2016 | by ivo-cobra8See all my reviews

The Killer (1989) is in my opinion John Woo's masterpiece and one of the best classic action films from Hong Kong I have ever seen. It is one of my personal favorite John Woo action movies. This film has everything, it has even a sad ending, which neither one action movie has that kind of ending. Chow Yun-Fat gave us one of his best performances ever, Danny Lee was outstanding as Hong Kong Police officer. The action, the gore, the violence, the gun play everything is in this movie. The final showdown in the church was one the best action scenes ever made in a film.

It is my fifth favorite John Woo film! The first four will be Hard Target (1993), Hard Boiled (1992), Broken Arrow (1996) and Paycheck (2003) this is the fifth John Woo favorite action film of mine that I love to death. Chow Yun-Fat's character Ah Jong was well written and well done, but it isn't close as is his character Insp. 'Tequila' Yuen from Hard Boiled. This is was the first film with John Woo as I have saw when I was 10. years old, I think I was 12 or 13 when I first time saw Hard Boiled, but still I had no Idea both of the movies are from same director with the same actor. I love this movie to death and it is one of my favorite action movies.

Plot: Chow Yun-Fat stars as an expert assassin who finds himself conflicted with his work in his 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. Danny Lee co-stars as the Hong Kong Police Force inspector determined to catch the assassin and take down the organization that employs him. These two guys from the opposite worlds end up becoming friends and working together to bring down their bigger enemy.

The Killer gained numerous international accolades for Woo and its influence can be seen in countless action films in the following decades including in the movies directed by Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez. The action is, as always with a John Woo movie, spectacular but the characters are well developed and the story is very engaging. It's not quite as big in scale as Hard Boiled but it's still very well paced with plenty of great action. What is it about Hit men in movies that they are always so damn cool? Like Hard Boiled, the music is pretty cheap and forgettable sounding but it doesn't detract from the action. We get the doves, the slow-mo and the religious imagery aplenty in this film and as with Hard Boiled there is little to find fault with.

I still love Hard Boiled better than The Killer because Hard Boiled has happy ending and The Killer has not a happy ending, but still I love this movie and it is an action Classic and John Woo directing this movie did the best job ever as been the director and a writer the same time. This man John Woo is outstanding and the actors are just amazing, the characters are well written and the chemistry between Chow Yun-fat and Danny Lee is well written and are making a great due as the opposite team. You know Sylvester Stallone, Sung Kang and Walter Hill should all take a school of action movies from John Woo's The Killer, because those three American guys sucked at making an action film in 2012 Bullet to the Head failed and it sucked ass. Sylvester Stallone and Sung Kang as a hired hit-man and a police detective had no written chemistry working together and they both suck! Chow Yun-Fat and Danny Lee are the real team as hired professional hit-man and a Hong Kong police officer. Those two guys are the real team, I will rather watch this movie than Walter Hill's Bullet to the Head!

This movie it is a perfect 10, it takes the vision of one of the most creative intelligent action directors in HK cinema eve! The film is filled the most explosive showdowns in cinematic history. It is loaded with some with the most outrageously choreographed action sequences ever committed to film and an absolute hailstorm of bullets. It is fast paced, better more choreographed stylized action. The Killer is a perfect action film as one could ask for.

Overall: I think The Killer is on par with Hard Boiled but there's maybe a little more focus on the story than action....but the action in that delivers too. A pair with Hard Boiled is a it's truly bad ass. My favorite action movie with Hard Target and Hard Boiled! I love them to death it get's a perfect 10!

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Hong Kong


Cantonese | Mandarin | Japanese

Release Date:

September 1990 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Killer See more »

Filming Locations:

The Peak, Hong Kong See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


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

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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