- 1 hr 20 min
Killer, also known as The Hitman, is a 1998 Hong Kong action-thriller film directed by Stephen Tung Wai, and stars Jet Li as a former hitman trying to live a peaceful life, Eric Tsang as an FBI agent, and Simon Yam as a ruthless gangster. The story follows Ah Jong (Jet Li), a seasoned hitman who decides to retire from the criminal world after he accidentally blinds a nightclub singer during a hit. Ah Jong wants to use his last job to finance a cornea transplant for the singer, but things go awry when he is double-crossed by his employers and ends up being hunted by both the police and the mob.
To complicate matters further, Ah Jong is diagnosed with a fatal illness and has only weeks to live. This motivates him to seek redemption and try to make things right before he dies. However, the odds are against him, as he has to fend off a skilled assassin (played by Wu Wei-Kuo) hired by the gangsters to eliminate him, and also dodge the relentless pursuit of Detective Li Ying (Eric Tsang), a dedicated FBI agent who makes it his personal mission to capture Ah Jong.
As Ah Jong evades his pursuers and tries to complete his final task, he forms an unlikely bond with Jennie (Gigi Leung), the blind singer he injured, and also rekindles his relationship with his former girlfriend (Karen Mok), who is now a policewoman. The interactions with these two women serve to humanize Ah Jong and reveal his softer side, which contrasts with his deadly skills as an assassin.
Throughout the movie, there are various action sequences showcasing Jet Li's martial arts prowess and athleticism. From hand-to-hand combat to gunfights and car chases, the action is slickly choreographed and adrenaline-pumping. However, what sets Killer apart from other action films is its emotional depth and philosophical undertones.
The movie raises questions about morality, redemption, and the consequences of one's actions. Is it possible for a killer to make amends for his crimes? Can a life be truly meaningful without the hope of salvation? These are some of the themes that resonate throughout the narrative and give it a weightier dimension.
The performances of the main cast are excellent, particularly Jet Li, who showcases his range as an actor and conveys Ah Jong's inner turmoil and vulnerability with subtlety. Eric Tsang is also impressive as the determined and conflicted detective, while Simon Yam brings his trademark menacing presence to the role of the mob boss.
Killer was a box office success when it was released in Hong Kong and won critical acclaim for its blend of action and drama. It also marked a departure from Jet Li's usual roles as a heroic figure, and showed his versatility as an actor. The film has since attained a cult status among fans of the genre and is considered one of Jet Li's best works.
In summary, Killer is a gripping and engaging action-thriller that manages to transcend its genre thanks to its well-drawn characters, thought-provoking themes, and exciting set pieces. It is a must-see for fans of martial arts movies and anyone who appreciates a good story with heart and soul.