The Killer: Hong Kong Hitmen and Blind Singers

The next movie we'll be watching is a 1989 import from Hong Kong.  Literally the only other thing I know about it is that presumably it involves a killer.

Oh hey look Chow Yun Fat!  There's another thing I know about it!

Ah Jong is an assassin who accidentally hurts a pretty singer during one of his hits, and she ends up losing most of her vision.  Unfortunately, he kind of sort of falls in love with her.  But because she can't really see, she doesn't realize that he's the one who scratched her cornea all to hell.  If you were to suggest that this scenario is super uncomfortable, you'd be right.

Jenny's vision is getting progressively worse, and the only way to save her sight is to get an expensive cornea transplant in America, where dreams come true and apparently the streets are paved with fresh eyeballs.  So our buddy decides to take on one last hit to pay for her surgery, then that's it, he's done with crime for good and he's on the straight and narrow.  Ah yes...One Last Job.  This should end well.

Random Musings:
  • No offense to Jenny, but she has to be like the worst person to have around in a crisis.  She's flailing around like a fish, screaming.  Chow Yun Fat just got shot in the back and you don't hear him complaining.  Come on, woman, deal with your loss of vision with strength and fortitude!  Side note: I love unfairly passing judgment on people.

  • OMG are these guys seriously trying to rob and rape a blind woman?

  • Why are there random cats wandering in and out of her apartment?  That's kind of odd.

  • It's really interesting, because when I see this cop character all I can think of is that he's exactly the type of role Bruce Willis would be playing if this movie was in English.  Like, I read the subtitles and can hear his voice in my head.

  • "He has a manly air about him." Uh...ok.  Does that mean the police sketch artist should draw him with a tattoo of a mermaid on his bicep or something?

  • I love when Chow Yun Fat gives his boss/friend the unloaded gun.  Yeah, it's predictable and I saw it coming as soon as he put the gun on the table, but it's still oh so very badass.  Actually, that pretty much sums up Chow Yun Fat throughout the entire scene.  I love the way John Woo shoots fight scenes, they're so well-choreographed and almost lyrical.

  • It's kind of hilarious how Ah Jong and the policeman have their whole standoff in the apartment...all while poor blind Jenny wanders around completely oblivious, making tea.

I only have two real problems with this film, and one of them you could argue isn't the film's fault.  The first of my qualms is Sally Yeh as Jenny.  Honestly she's just the most useless female character I've seen in a long time, and the way she's played doesn't help.  She's shrill and annoying, and doesn't do anything besides wail and whine.  It kind of doesn't surprise me that this was her last film.

The other big issue is the English subtitles.  They're horrible.  I know people from Hong Kong don't speak like idiots, so why do the subtitles make it seem like they do?  I mean, it's hard to take a gun fight seriously when people are calling each other "runt" and "shrimp head".  Excuse me, what?

Nevertheless, there's a lot to like here.  Chow Yun Fat is great as the enigmatic assassin who's trying to change but can't get away from his past.  I like his relationship with the policemen, and I can believe how they would grow from having begrudging respect for one another to being genuine friends.  The action scenes, especially the gun fights, are in my opinion elevated to an art form.  They're so visually stimulating and fluid and honestly just perfect to watch.  Good on you, John Woo.

Thanks for reading, and come back for my next review!

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