On Saturday, April 11, director John Woo will be at the Hollywood Theatre for a rare 35mm screening of The Killer—the 1989 classic starring Chow Yun-fat and Danny Lee that changed the way action movies are made.
The Hollywood's screening of The Killer will feature a post-film Q&A with Woo, and there'll be plenty to talk about: Few action directors are as distinctive or have had as much influence as Woo, who gained international attention with his bloody, adrenaline-soaked Hong Kong epics like Hard Boiled.
Both Hard Boiled and The Killer starred Chow Yun-fat, but the real star was Woo: Kinetic and exhilarating, Woo's cameras swooped and spun as he captured immaculately choreographed gunplay with surreal, trademark slow-motion. Explosions bloomed like flowers, doves (so many doves) flitted into the sky, and smoke-filled shoot-outs were cut with frantic precision. At the time, the visual language was revelatory. Before Woo, nobody had thought to make action sequences this elaborate and balletic; today, it's nearly impossible to think of an action director who doesn't lean on Woo in one way or another.
Woo went on to direct a slew of expensive, bombastic American action flicks—from 1993 to 2003, just some of his movies included Hard Target, Broken Arrow, Face/Off (god bless you forever, Face/Off), Mission: Impossible II, Windtalkers, and Paycheck—before returning to China to work on projects like the historical drama Red Cliff.
One suspects, though, that he'll always be best known for movies like The Killer, the film that might be the purest example of the director's singular blend of blood-splattered spectacle, melodrama, and machismo. Tickets for Hollywood's screening will be available starting Wednesday, March 4 for Hollywood Theatre members will cost $25-27; tickets for the general public will cost $30 and will be available Friday, March 6.