Thursday, December 9, 2010

Chow Yun Fat "The Killer" - The First Time...: December 9, 2010 (Man-crush Edition)

A lot of guys from my generation were forced to look into cinema's past for representations of masculine cool. While some of those may have been from recent pasts, i.e. Steve McQueen and Lee Marvin, who had passed away in the early 80s, or Paul Newman and Charles Bronson, men who were still acting into the 21st century but weren't the young toughs they once were, many were from eras well before our own, including guys like Bogart, Lancaster, The Duke, Alain Delon, etc.

Children of the 80s had a much more inflated image of male strength, due in no small part to stars like Schwarzenegger and Stallone. Even Bruce Willis, the model of the so-called everyman action hero, wasn't exactly the coolest cat on the block. He was too damn funny to be truly cool. It wasn't until I saw Chow Yun Fat coolly walk into a nightclub before setting the world ablaze that I could point to an actor of my own time and place (albeit one who was situated on the other side of the planet) and say, what a smooth, cool motherfucker.

In a way, my man-crushes tend to come in the forms of dudes who make me say, God wouldn't if be cool if I were that guy. Chow Yun Fat is definitely all that and more to me, which is in no small part due to my introduction of the man in John Woo's classic "The Killer". Now, mabye I'm biased because it was the first Yun Fat/Woo film I ever saw, but I'd take the Pepsi challenge with this movie over any other any day of the week. When people ask me what my favorite action movie of all time is, this still comes up as my number one answer.

While it's true that Hard Boiled's much more gonzo and off the wall action is a sight to behold (particularly that final third of the film, set in the hospital), The Killer still maintains that same sense of delirious actuion, while packing in all the heartfelt melodrama of Yun Fat/Woo's previous collaboration, the low-key gangster action pic A Better Tomorrow. It is the perfect synthesis of Woo's style and The Killer is a character that is not only badass, but whose actions you are behind 100% even if he is a ruthless killer.


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