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Friday, February 13, 2015

Dip Huet Seung Hung (aka The Killer) (1989)

A professional assassin (Chow Yun Fat) for a criminal Triad in Hong Kong accidentally blinds a nightclub singer (Sally Yeh) during a shootout. Feeling guilty, he befriends her while keeping his identity and motive secret from her. Meanwhile, a police detective (Danny Lee) is determined to bring the hitman to justice. John Woo's dizzying orgy of bloodshed can get you giddy on violence. Woo's cinematic skills are plentiful and undeniable and the setpieces are thrilling. But the violence is so prevalent and over the top and Woo relishes every gunshot and wound that you're laughing even as you're carried away by the excitement of it all. There's no sting like you get in a Peckinpah or (when he's good) Scorsese movie. Woo's patchwork film lifts from other films (Leone's ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST, Sirk's MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION and Vidor's DUEL IN THE SUN to name just three) but his biggest handicap is a sentimentality that weaves through out the film. For example, when the assassin's best friend (Kong Chu) dies, white doves flutter about the inside of a church while Lowell Lo's treacly score plays! But it's best not to dwell too much on a film like this because it will begin to unravel.

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