7.8/10
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245 user 95 critic

The Killer (1989)

Dip huet seung hung (original title)
Trailer
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.

Director:

John Woo

Writer:

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

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Photos

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Cast

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
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Storyline

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

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:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The harmonica motif in the film was influenced by the soundtracks of Ennio Morricone, specifically the soundtrack to Once Upon a Time in America (1984), a bottle blower was used to give the music a haunting effect. David Wu said the influence of the Harmonica music in Sergio Leone's western films was a strong influence on his work. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Joe (Cantonese)/Jeffrey (English): I felt someone walk over my grave.
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Alternate Versions

The 141-minute Taiwanese version differs mainly in that it has scenes (some of which have been reprised in the Criterion and Hong Kong Legends DVDs) that were dropped by John Woo for the sake of pacing. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Transporter (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

Once In A Lifetime
Performed by Sally Yeh
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User Reviews

 
Woo's Best; An Amalgamation of Drama and Action
20 June 2004 | by RuninriderSee all my reviews

John Woo's "The Killer" shows a master at the height of his powers. Woo, today working in the United States, gained fame in Hong Kong through the two "Better Tomorrow" films. He became popular and used his success to go to greater things. In fact, much of Woo's HK work is similar, including the work he did in the early 90's like "Bullet in the Head" and "Hard Boiled". But "The Killer" shows John Woo as a perfectionist, the top director of action films who can perfectly blend in over-the-top violence with emotional drama.

"The Killer" follows John (Jeff in other versions of the film), who's played to utter perfection by Chow Yun Fat. John is a hit-man planning retirement. On one job, however, he accidentally shoots a singer (Jenny) near her eyes. She survives, but her vision is blurry. John saves her from a gang of rapist thieves, and the two ultimately fall in love with each other, despite Jenny never having seen John's face. On John's case, however, is Inspector Li, hard at work, who is intent on always getting his man. Much of the movie involves John and the results of his final job which ultimately pits him up against the entire mob, who want him dead for overexposing his identity. And the rest of the film follows John catering to Jenny's needs and helping her at every moment, all the while evading Li, who's getting closer and closer to stopping him.

To make the movie the memorable film that it is, Woo perfectly orchestrates some of the best shoot-outs ever seen on film. Much of what Woo did here, he was never able to follow up. "Hard Boiled" was interesting, but its final shoot-out, over 20 minutes in length, just couldn't keep up. It got boring by the end. What Woo does in "The Killer" is give you a sample of his powers and then leave you begging for more. And that what you'll be literally doing: begging for just a glimpse of the next dude victim to Fat's two beautiful handguns.

It's only sad to see that, not so much Woo doesn't do these films anymore, but that Woo rarely does good films now.(Period) He's too busy, working on ego with top stars and killer budgets. His two films that came as far as making an impact with me from his U.S. catalog will probably include "Broken Arrow" and "Face/Off", both primarily due to just how much I like Travolta (though the former was also an early film of mine that I really remember liking, since it was different from all the Disney and kid stuff I was used to). But Woo, intent on fulfilling his dreams of making a musical and captivating audiences with his powerful style, can just show the people a screening of this film. It's quoted as being "Violence as poetry", and that's exactly what it is. With the beautiful music adding feeling and depth to the characters and the great writing and direction, this is easily Woo's tour-de-force.

9.5/10 (****/****)


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

Hong Kong

Language:

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

Runtime:

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

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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