After my first feature of greatest directors I felt inclined to follow the Western king of slo mo with the Eastern king. People I give you John Woo the undisputed champion of heroic bloodshed films. Now I know there are two things that you are wondering. 1.What the fuck is heroic bloodshed and 2. why am I giving you directors that you're not overly familiar with. Well that's the fucking point isn't it. It would be easy to do Speilberg etc but you know his stuff and I will at some point do him but right now I want to talk about my favourite directors and argue why they're fucking great. So back to heroic bloodshed. These films are generally full of action and gunplay but often have an emotional angle such as love and brotherhood. Bit like you and your mates pissed up on a Friday. You know.. I love you, you're the best to come on then you cunt I'll fucking have ya! Anyway back to Mr Woo.
John Woo was born in 1946 to a poor Chinese family who because of their Christian beliefs fled to Hong Kong during China's civil war. Woo would often find the cinema a haven and his interest in the movies was born. He found work with Cathay Studios and it was here he directed his first feature The Young Dragons which was choreographed by Jackie Chan. The film contained elaborate action sequences and it got him noticed. During the 70's Woo made alot of Kung Fu films but by the early 80's was suffering burnout. He pissed off to Taiwan to get himself together. It was here that he got funding from Tsui Hark for long time project A Better Tomorrow and a fucking legend was born. Although not at this point noticed in America it is this film where the close quarters two gun fighting is believed to have originated. Now known as Gun Fu I hope I don't need to tell you who got influenced by this fucker.
It was in 1989 he was to release the film that would achieve worldwide recognition, The Killer with Chow Yun Fat. It was to be the most successful film from Hong Kong since Enter The Dragon and Woo was fast gaining cult status. He followed with Bullet In The Head which although a commercial failure was probably his most personal film. In 1992 he gave us the greatest action film ever made, Hard Boiled and of course Hollywood came calling. Woo spent pretty much the next 15 years in the LA cesspit where he made pretty shit films but I think this is more down to the constraints of American film making than Woo himself and in most of his US stuff there are glimpses of his fucking brilliance. He's recently returned to Hong Kong and given us the amazing epic Red Cliff and I as a fan hope he stays there and continues to do what he does best. Still unsure of the man well check out any of the five films below and if you still think I'm full of shit then ask the likes of Tarantino, the Warchowskis, Raimi and Scorcese who are all big admirers. I for one am going to don my long coat, chew a toothpick and shoot some bad motherfuckers!
Five To Watch
1. A Better Tomorrow (1986)
Made for fuck all and released only due to the fact they spent no money on marketing it broke Hong Kong's box office records, spurned two sequels and is number 2 on the greatest Chinese films of all time. Chow Yun Fat was plucked from a TV career and became the most famous fucker in the East and the coolest. A story of family loyalty and wanting to escape the past. Sheer fucking brilliance.
2.The Killer (1989)
One of the coolest action films ever as Chow Yun Fat plays a disillusioned assassin who agrees to do one last job so he can pay for the operation to have the sight restored of a woman he accidentally blinded. Of course he's double crossed and violence erupts and boy does it fucking erupt. A personal favourite of mine. Check out this shoot out.
3. Bullet In The Head (1990)
Just fucking insane. Three friends flee Hong Kong and end up embroiled in the Vietnam war. Violent, touching and so fucking out there it's unbelievable. Arguebly Woos best film. It's not but it is fucking great.
4. Hard Boiled (1992)
I reviewed this a while back so fucking read it and then just fucking watch it. The greatest action film of all time, simple. This is the opening scene. Just fucking rocks.
5. Face Off (1997)
I was going to pick Red Cliff as my final film but that's fairly new (watch the full version by the way) so instead I went for the one US film he made where he almost showed us what he was really capable of. I've mainly selected it for one scene though and that's the one below. Somewhere Over The Rainbow and silent violence. I fucking love this guy!