John Woo

  • John Woo – Laat sau sen taan aka Hard-Boiled (1992)

    John Woo1991-2000ActionCrimeHong Kong

    It is almost impossible to review Hard Boiled and at the same time avoid the bottomless anus-bowl of cliches that surround it. I’m sure it’s been described as “a high octane thrill ride”, and even on the box it says Hard Boiled is “an action fan’s dream”. This is all true, but plain and simple it is just a damn awesome movie. I am at a loss for bad things to say about it. Not many movies get me as pumped up as Hard Boiled does. It uses an arsenal of well executed techniques to draw the viewer into each and every action sequence. Woo also manages to craft these explosive scenes so that he actually makes you feel stupid if you miss something cool. There are many small and beautiful things going on during all of the crimson waterworks that you may not notice the first time through. One image that really stuck out to me was during the first action scene in the teahouse. There is a shot of someone getting blasted in the leg. The bullet goes through a table first, so you get this foreground picture of the table’s leg busting in two as the man’s leg snaps right behind it. It is really fantastic in that it was totally unnecessary.Read More »

  • John Woo – Ying hung boon sik II AKA A Better Tomorrow II AKA A Better Tomorrow 2 (1987)

    1981-1990ActionHong KongJohn Woo

    Restaurant owner Ken Gor (Chow Yun-Fat), twin brother of Mark Gor, teams up with police detective Kit (Leslie Cheung) and his struggling ex-con brother Ho (Lung Ti) to avenge his old friend’s (Dean Shek) daughter’s death by a Triad gang.
    In this sequel, Ho (Ti Lung) initially refuses to go undercover to bust the gang he used to work for in exchange for his release from prison. He only accepts after his little brother, the policeman Kit (Leslie Cheung) accepts the assignment. Meanwhile in New York Ken Gor (Chow Yun-Fat), the twin brother of Mark Gor from the 1st movie, shelters the boss of the gang, who has had to flee after it is taken over by a more aggressive leadership.Read More »

  • John Woo – Ying hung boon sik AKA A Better Tomorrow (1986)

    1981-1990ActionCrimeHong KongJohn Woo

    A reforming ex-gangster tries to reconcile with his estranged policeman brother, but the ties to his former gang are difficult to break.Read More »

  • John Woo – Chi bi AKA Red Cliff (2008)

    John Woo2001-2010ActionChinaDrama

    John Woo displays the crucial distinction in the magnificently told Red Cliff, the Hong Kong director’s triumphant return to Chinese film after 16 years in Hollywood” and “with Red Cliff, Woo shows he’s still a masterful director to be reckoned with.Read More »

  • John Woo – Hao xia aka Last Hurrah for Chivalry [+commentary] (1979)

    1971-1980ActionHong KongJohn WooMartial Arts

    The estate of the Kao family was attacked by Pai an enemy of the Kao family. The last member of the Kao family barely escapes with his life and seeks to avenge himself. His old teacher refuses to help him because he is too caught up in anger and hate. Kao hears of a famous hero in the local town, he tries to befriend him so that he might have his aid in taking revenge against Pai.Read More »

  • John Woo – Die xue shuang xiong aka The Killer (1989)

    1981-1990ActionAsianHong KongJohn Woo

    Though John Woo’s lifelong admiration of Sam Peckinpah, Sergio Leone, Martin Scorsese, and Stanley Kubrick are also evident in this stylish actioner, the film is essentially a tribute to Jean-Pierre Melville and his cult thriller Le Samourai. During a restaurant shootout, hitman Jeff (Chow Yun-Fat) accidentally hurts the eyes of a singer (Sally Yeh). Later he meets the girl and discovers that if she does not have a very expensive operation very soon, she will go blind. To get the money for the surgery, Jeff decides to perform one last hit. The cop (Danny Lee), who has been chasing Jeff for a long time, is determined to catch him this time. The film’s number of victims makes The Terminator or Rambo pale in comparison, but its brilliant visual style and bravura direction earned accolades even from non-action fans.Read More »

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