The Killer is one of the most badass foreign action movies I've ever seen. John Woo is by far the best at making hardcore, balls-to-the wall action thrillers and his films are at their best when they star Chow Yun-Fat. This film has everything a good action film needs, from a morally ambiguous hero to a dishonorable gangster villain, and of course a climax that is arguably the most intense shootout in film history. The Killer is a must-see classic for action aficionados and fans of Chinese cinema and it works as a great blueprint for perfecting an action film. It doesn't take much, especially when done right.
The plot is simple, but effective. Ah Jong (Chow Yun-Fat) is an expert assassin with a heart of gold who accidentally blinds a singer named Jennie (Sally Yeh) while on a job and has a change of heart. After taking one last job, he's betrayed by his Triad employers and a price is put on his head, prompting him to team up with Inspector Li (Danny Lee), the cop who's pursuing him. Together, they bring down an army of Triad gangsters, led by a thug named Wong Hoi (Fui-On Shing). While it's astonishing to me that Ah Jong's dual pistols rarely run out of bullets, the action sequences in this film are insanely well-choreographed and fun to watch, especially the finale in the church. It was that scene that made me realize why this film is sitting at a solid 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. It's John Woo's masterpiece, which is definitely saying something.
The Killer is a really entertaining film and one of the great works of Chinese filmmaking. Chow Yun-Fat plays one of his best characters in Ah Jong, a badass assassin who no doubt inspired characters like John Wick and Léon the Professional. John Woo is an action filmmaker like no other. He does his own thing and it certainly shows, as his films stand out. They exemplify all the greatest things about the action genre, with The Killer standing near the top of the proverbial list.