The Killer (1989)
This John Woo movie is one of a handful of titles that paved the way for Asian action cinema to be accepted by western movie geeks. Chow Yun-Fat plays the hitman who accidentally blinds a nightclub singer, and feels duty bound to step into her life and help her out. On top of this he must take on a local gangster, hellbent on revenge, with dramatic bloody consequences.
The Killer is a stunning example of the power inherit in the heroic bloodshed genre. The blood-soaked acrobatic gun-play here is matched only by the over-sentimentality of the love story. It simply doesn't get any more schmaltzy than this.
I saw Hard-Boiled (1992) before I saw this, so I was well prepared for John Woo's outstanding action sequences, but I wasn't ready for the tragic, melancholic mood of The Killer. It sounds a little wrong to say this, in light of the body count, but Hard-Boiled was fun, it was a ride. There is nothing amusing about The Killer. This is one gunfight where you'll need more than an unending supply of ammo. You need Kleenex as well.
Never forget to love it.