Few things are certain when Ah Jong enters the room—doves will scatter in flight, candles will be burning and there will be white jackets soon to be stained with blood.
Few things are certain when Ah Jong enters the room—doves will scatter in flight, candles will be burning and there will be white jackets soon to be stained with blood. This weekend Portland State’s 5th Avenue Cinemas shines John Woo’s The Killer across their big screen.
Ah Jong, played by Chow Yun-Fat (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End), is an assassin working one final hit. However, as bullets fly while carrying out this last job, he accidentally damages the eyesight of a nightclub singer, Jennie. Feeling a sense of responsibility, he looks out for her and decides to take on yet another job to earn enough money for an operation to cure Jennie’s blindness.
However, all this won’t be as simple as Ah Jong would assume. He will have to avoid police detective Li Ying who is on his trail, and survive Triad attacks—most of this in slow motion.
Guns will fire, things will explode and then more doves will fly by—in classic Woo style.
Filmed in Hong Kong in 1989, The Killer is an ’80s action noir that shows all the characteristics Woo eventually came to be known for in the United States. It is homage to Martin Scorsese and Jean-Pierre Melville, giving film nerds plenty to look for and deconstruct.
But in the end, it’s nice to just sit back and watch the bullets fly. ?