Review: The Killer (1989)

Directed by:
Cast: ,

Not available in Australia on DVD (to our knowledge)

I’m a superlative kinda guy. The third most common phrase in my vocabulary is “It’s the greatest film ever made!” and probably a full half of the films I’ve seen in my nineteen and one-half years on this Earth have been referred to in that way. It may be that at the moment of utterance I might actually mean I what I’m saying – or it might not. It doesn’t really matter unless I describe something in this way more than once, in which case there’s a good chance I actually feel quite strongly about the film in question.

The Killer is the greatest film ever made. I’m not so aggressive in asserting this that I refuse to hear otherwise, but I will refuse to hear the opinions of those who haven’t seen it. As such, watching this film, dear reader, is my challenge to you.

Besides being the greatest film ever made, The Killer is also an action film. It is also art. It makes me cry when I let it. These are things worth keeping in mind.

If you’re a Heroic Cinema regular, then the chances are you’ve already watched it… so watch it again. If you’ve never watched it simply because you haven’t had ‘the chance’ then make the chance, whatever that means you have to do. You won’t regret it.

If you consider yourself a Hong Kong film fan but have chosen not to watch The Killer because you are wary of the film’s violent/melodramatic/homoerotic reputation, then consider this. The Killer is the film considered to be largely responsible for bringing the Hong Kong cinema of the late 80’s and early 90’s to the attention of Western audiences — and distributors. There are two logical conclusions to which this fact can be taken. Firstly, a film this popular must be good… right? Secondly, the next time you go and rent a Hong Kong flick from your local video store, just reflect for a moment on what might never have been and then decide whether The Killer is worth your time.

If you’ve never seen a Hong Kong film before, then start here! Admittedly there is a great deal more to Hong Kong cinema than the violent (and, yes, possibly homoerotic) melodrama on display here, but this is the film that everybody knows — and for good reason: as I hope has by now been established, it’s the greatest film ever made.

Or perhaps The Killer isn’t the greatest film ever made — that, dear reader, is for you to judge. However, it is a beautiful piece of genre filmmaking and one of the finest examples of a national cinema that in 1989 (the year of this film’s production) was truly at its peak. Watch it NOW!

10 'last' bullets out of 10.
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