Bullet Points: The Killer
By the time that John Woo made his first movie here in America in 1993 (Hard Target), he was already a God among men when it came to directing action sequences. He had already been directing since the late 60’s and his films Hard Boiled, A Better Tomorrow, and Bullet In The Head featured downright ridiculous shootouts. It’s easy to put John Woo up there amongst the greatest action directors of all time.
With that being said, we here at Bulletproof Action are celebrated the birthday of the legendary director the only way that we knew how: drinking lots of rum, only eating meat which we’ve killed ourselves, and getting into a fistfight with a distant relative. After all that was finished, we sat down and watched the John Woo classic The Killer.
Synopsis: Like so many hitmen running around, Ah Jong (Chow Yun Fat) is actually a really nice guy. It isn’t until he accidentally blinds a lovely young singer that he decides that he’ll give up his line of work and do his best to get her eyesight back. Of course, he only has one more job to do. He should have known that his final job would bring attention on him from gangsters and police alike. Now he’s looking for a friend anywhere he can find one.
- A Storm of Bullets: Not only is that a play on the George R.R. Martin book, but it’s also a very descriptive title if anyone ever decides to remake The Killer for a new audience. There is an obscene amount of bullets fired in this movie, and while I could probably count on both hands how many times people actually reload their guns, it is to be expected in a John Woo film at this point. In fact, I would be highly disappointed if someone ran out of bullets and didn’t magically pull a pistol from under his armpit or something.
- A real Low Life: After we learn that Jennie is now wandering around mostly blind, she gets confronted by a couple of guys on the street and they certainly appear to be trying to rob and rape her. That could be the ultimate in shitty behavior.
- This Bud’s for you: I’m delighted to see that Ah Jong is a Budweiser drinker! Even though his drinking etiquette isn’t quite what I would deem “acceptable”. He basically sprays beer all over his friends face.
- Never say Never: If I was a hitman (you never know), I would refrain from saying it was my last job. No good has ever come from an assassin talking about all the great things he’ll do when he’s retired.
- The Selleck: I would also wear as many fake mustaches as humanly possible.
- Woo-isms: There are certain things that you can almost guarantee that you’ll see in a John Woo film; a serious bromance developing between two or more male characters, unlimited ammunition, and all the vehicles are left either running or with the keys in the ignition.
- Genius: Putting a bunch of the expendable henchmen in white jump suits is not only a very 007 thing to do, but it’s also great for when said henchmen will be soon spraying blood from the multiple squibs placed inside their once pearly suits.
- The Final Battle: The setup of the finale is very well done. Woo manages to get every character that we’re supposed to care about in the same room, and that room just so happens to be a well-candlelit church. There are an insane amount of bad guys pouring through every door and window and our heroes have an entire duffel bag spilling over with guns. Walls exploding all around them, they manage to rack up a kill count even John Rambo could appreciate. Ah Jong and Inspector Li Ying stop short of making out but they, for some reason, give each other adorable pet names in the midst of their murderous church shooting spree. All the while, Jennie feels her way around the room screaming for Ah Jong as bullets cover the room with blood and lead. In the end, the most important thing that we can all learn from The Killer is that the gift of friendship is the most important thing that we can give to one another.
John Woo would want you to read these bonus bullet points. It’s his only birthday wish.
- For being a blind girl, Jennie can’t hear shit! How many times does she ask what is going on when there is clearly a gun battle happening all around her?
- Body Count: 120
- What are the logistics of the dude getting his eyes messed up? Can someone please tell me that?
- If an action sequence is like the playing of an orchestra, then John Woo would be the most marvelous conductor of all time.