The Killer: Criterion Collection
The films of John Woo are an acquired taste, parts western and thriller, but with the emotional hyperbole of a Broadway musical. Some find his style verging on high camp, but his incredible concoction of these unlikely elements is sublime, and The Killer is his great masterpiece. Chow Yun Fat stars as an assassin taking care of a woman he accidentally blinded on a hit, hiding his identity from her as he evades the police and angry gangsters. Woo's action scenes are carefully choreographed spectacles of violence, a Bolshoi with bullets. It's virtuoso filmmaking, more about beauty and grace than cops and robbers. The Killer also dwells greatly on loyalty, honor, and the bonds between men, especially those on opposing sides of conflict. Woo is brazen enough to suggest that emotion and action not only can work together, but are inseparable. Criterion's The Killer has dropped out of print due to legal reasons, and copies of it are currently selling for around $100 on the online auction circuit. Rent it before it disappears from your local video store and never returns. The Killer is presented in 1.85:1 widescreen, and looks good despite some wear on the source print, and 1.0 Dolby in Cantonese. English subtitles are available. Includes commentary by Woo and producer Terence Chang, and deleted scenes.
(Editor's Note: This disc is now out of print and is considered a collector's item.)