Kenneth E. Hall

in John Woo’s The Killer

Published by Hong Kong University Press

Published in print January 2009 | ISBN: 9789622099562
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9789882207097 | DOI:

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John Woo's The Killer was central to the innovative quality of the new Hong Kong cinema. This film helped to filter Hollywood and European action and noir influences through the web of Chinese traditional motifs found in the chivalric tradition. The Killer brought Woo to the attention of critics in the West and helped thereby to foster the careers of younger Hong Kong, and Korean, filmmakers who in turn have drawn upon Woo's innovations to create their own original commentaries on the Woo corpus. Woo himself evaluates The Killer as one of his creative peaks. The hyperbolic romanticism and unabashed spirituality and sentiment often identified as essential to the Woo style, as well as the bravura visual approach, with its well-known elements of circling camera movement, quick editing, and focus on facial expressions, are all found in fully developed form in this film.

Keywords: John Woo; The Killer; Hong Kong cinema; noir influences; chivalric tradition; Korean filmmakers

Chapter.  592 words. 

Subjects: Film

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