Well this week I ended up doing films about hitmen.
The first on my list was John Woo‘s classic, The Killer starring Chow Yun-fat. Chow plays the titular killer who during his latest hit is responsible for the blinding a beautiful singer. His guilt draws him closer to her and wanting to leave the business. But while doing one last job he’s seen and the Triad boss wants him dead.
But as he is hunted by the Triad he is also hunted by the police with the lead Detective played by Danny Lee and the chaos of the hunt brings the two together first as antagonists and then as allies.
This film is a hyperkinetic romp of ultaviolence with multiple gunfights but at the same time strangely lyrical and a lot of woo’s signature style starts here, things like the doves and point blank standoffs. While these can almost feel silly after a while it’s all well done fun.
Woo was inspired quite a bit by Jean-Pierre Melville‘s Le Samouraï so I thought this would be a good second film. At first glance the plot is very similar, with a single hitman doing his job, a hit at a night club and his employers want him dead, but from there the similarity ends.
Where The Killer is a fast paced, Le Samouraï is slow paced and methodical as the hetman plans his alibi which after he commits the hit is airtight despite the police’s best efforts. The ensuing cat and mouse game is almost a meditation.