The Killer (1989)

By EW Staff
August 09, 2004 at 04:00 AM EDT
The Killer: Everett Collection

The Killer

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Chow Yun-Fat made our list of favorite movie hitmen

PLAYED BY Chow Yun-Fat

THE LOWDOWN Like many John Woo movies, from ”Hard Boiled” to ”Face/Off,” this classic from the director’s Hong Kong period is really a twisted love story between two men — dapper gangland killer Jeffrey and the cop on his trail, Inspector Li (Danny Lee) — who come to admire each other’s respective codes of honor.

WEAPONS OF CHOICE Woo and Chow pretty much invented the classic pose of a gunman holding a pistol sideways, as copied by countless imitators in Hollywood action films. Jeffrey also likes machine guns.

REDEEMING VIRTUE In a plot borrowed from Rock Hudson’s ”Magnificent Obsession,” Jeffrey takes on one last job to pay for an operation to restore the eyesight of nightclub singer Jennie (Sally Yeh), whom he accidentally blinded in a shootout.

WHY HE MADE OUR LIST This role helped put Woo and Chow on the international map, but none of their imitators — maybe not even Woo himself — can top the gloriously over-the-top ballets of gunplay choreographed here.

EW MOVIE GRADE A-

The Killer

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