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January 19, 2003

The Killer (1989)

Posted by Mike on January 19, 2003 11:33 PM

How you feel about The Killer (a.k.a. Bloodshed of Two Heroes) will depend on how you feel about action flicks in general and whether you think there's any redeeming the form.

Hong Kong director John Woo's movie (starring Chow Yun-Fat, of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) has moments of sheer absurdity (a priest walking into the middle of a gunfight in his church watches bodies fall around him while he genuflects), grotesque violence (several shots of gutshot villains spitting blood into the air and into the camera), and over-the-top camera work (everyone seems to die in slow motion, and there are dozens killed before the whole thing is over). It also has Woo's obsession with doves witnessing death and a symbolic "dove wing snuffs candle as hero gets shot" scene that doesn't perversely enough, signify said hero's death.

There's also some dialog that I'm inclined to write off to translation errors and a massive culture-gap. Some of it is inexplicable any other way.

But for all its flaws (and there are technical as well as stylistic issues), The Killer has a heart, and more life can be found in a few minutes of this movie than in several Schwarzenegger flicks.