Ng Yu-Sum, better known as John Woo (born 1 May 1946) is probably ''the'' best known ([[ImportFilter to Western audiences]]) Hong Kong director. Drawing inspiration from movie greats like Creator/SergioLeone, Creator/SamPeckinpah, Creator/AkiraKurosawa, and Shaw Brothers legend Chang Cheh, Woo is powerfully associated with the HeroicBloodshed genre and its most visually appealing tropes: GunsAkimbo, the MexicanStandoff, BloodstainedGlassWindows, and DisturbedDoves. Especially those doves.

Also practically the TropeMaker for GunFu.

Not to be confused with [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Yoo John Yoo]].
!Woo's Hong Kong movies (with focus on HeroicBloodshed) are, in no particular order:

* ''Film/ABetterTomorrow'' (1986) - A classic story of brothers on opposite sides of the law. The younger brother Sung Tse Kit, the cop, was played by Creator/LeslieCheung, and the older brother Sung Tse Ho, the Triad gangster, was played by Ti Lung. This is the movie that kick-started the HeroicBloodshed genre in earnest, and it would also provide Creator/ChowYunFat's first major starring role as Mark Gor, an angry young gunslinger whose bond with Ho [[BloodBrothers borders on brotherhood itself]]. The movie's most memorable scene is Mark Gor's one-man vengeance spree at the restaurant that features John Woo's first use of GunsAkimbo, a trope that would later come to define the genre in general. It was also the movie that prompted the formation of Hong Kong's [[UsefulNotes/MediaClassifications rating system]] for movies due to its violence, and would later receive the rating of Category [=IIb=] (equivalent to the R rating).
* ''Film/HeroesShedNoTears'' (1986) - John Woo's very first gunplay movie, made before ''Film/ABetterTomorrow'', but released after that movie became a hit in Hong Kong. Starring Eddy Ko Hung, Lam Ching Ying, Lai Chan Shang and Kuo Sheng, this movie is a low budget movie about UsefulNotes/TheVietnamWar, reminiscent of ''Film/ApocalypseNow'' which marks the beginnings of the gunplay styles that would soon become John Woo's trademark. Woo would later improve upon the themes of this movie in his Vietnam epic ''Bullet in the Head''.
* ''A Better Tomorrow II'' (1987) - Chow Yun-fat returns as Ken Gor, the [[BackupTwin twin brother of Mark Gor]], who teams up with the two brothers from the first movie in order to avenge the daughter of a friend played by Dean Shek. It's not as good storyline-wise as the first movie, but the final scene, which has Chow Yun-Fat, Ti Lung and Dean Shek [[StormingTheCastle storming a mansion packed with bad guys]] to [[RoaringRampageOfRevenge avenge Leslie Cheung]] and take down the main bad guy once and for all, more than makes up for it. This movie would also be the first to introduce the John Woo version of the MexicanStandoff, though its true iconic use would come later.
* ''Film/JustHeroes'' (1989) - Directed by John Woo and Wu Ma, this is one of the lesser-known John Woo movies, but no less action-packed, this movie has two brothers (played by Danny Lee and David Chiang) teaming up against a third who betrayed and killed their well-respected gang boss father.
* ''Film/TheKiller'' (1989) - One of John Woo's best-known movies next to ''Hard-Boiled'', Chow Yun-fat plays a HitmanWithAHeart who takes on one final job in order to raise the money to fix a tragic mistake that he made that left a singer (Sally Yeh) blinded, only to be double crossed by his boss (Shing Fui-On) who would rather [[ContractOnTheHitman kill Chow than give him the money]]. Chow's only ally is a CowboyCop played by Danny Lee who comes to form a close bond with the man he had sworn to bring to justice. This movie qualifies as one of John Woo's best, and includes not only ''the'' iconic use of the MexicanStandoff between Chow and Lee, but also ends with a [[BloodstainedGlassWindows furious shootout in a church]] with [[DisturbedDoves doves flying everywhere]] as Chow and Lee blow away [[TheSiege an army of bad guys]] to defend themselves and Sally from the boss and his men.
* ''Film/BulletInTheHead'' (1990) - Woo's grimmest and most emotionally devastating flick yet, this movie combines the trademark John Woo gangland action with the horrors of [[UsefulNotes/TheVietnamWar Vietnam]], and showcases the destructive power of GoldFever on the HeroicBloodshed [[BloodBrothers bond of brotherhood]] between three would-be gangsters who try to strike it rich in the Nam while the war is in full swing.
* ''Film/OnceAThief'' (1991) - This movie focuses on three international art thieves played by Chow Yun-fat, Creator/LeslieCheung and Cheri Chung. Raised by the same father, they go on a last big heist that involves the theft of a mysterious "cursed" painting and the movie focuses on how its obsession affects the family. While the gunplay is as plentiful as in Woo's other movies, the focus here is on romance and fun, not the tragedy and melodrama of Woo's earlier works, which is a welcome change of pace. The film would eventually be remade into a short-lived Canadian/American syndicated series.
* ''Film/HardBoiled'' (1992) - Woo's last big Hong Kong movie, this movie is perhaps ''the'' most action-packed ever. Chow Yun-fat stars as a CowboyCop named Tequila who fights Triad gunrunners in a series of explosive shootouts. He teams up with Alan, another HitmanWithAHeart played by Tony Leung Chiu-Wai who turns out to be an undercover cop who has infiltrated the gang and was forced to betray his last Triad boss. The movie kicks into action overdrive when midway through the film, the BigBad, Johnny Wong, and his crew of bad guys take over a hospital in [[DieHardOnAnX pure Die Hard fashion]], and Tequila and Alan have to save everyone that they've taken hostage and take down the bad guys once and for all in true HeroicBloodshed fashion in one of the most explosive running shootouts that John Woo has ever filmed.

Woo eventually ended up in Hollywood, where he directed the following films:

* ''Film/HardTarget'' (1993)
* ''Film/BrokenArrow1996''
* ''Film/FaceOff'' (1997)
* ''Blackjack'' (1998)
* ''Film/MissionImpossibleII'' (2000)
* ''Film/{{Windtalkers}}'' (2002)
* ''Film/{{Paycheck}}'' (2003)

Woo left Hollywood and returned to Chinese cinema in 2008 by directing ''Film/RedCliff'', a big budget two-part film inspired by a famous battle in ''RomanceOfTheThreeKingdoms'', and the {{wuxia}} movies ''Reign of Assassins'' and the two-part movie ''The Crossing''. He has recently returned to the genre that made him famous with 2017's ''Manhunt''.

Woo also has a number of production credits to his name, having co-produced ''Film/TheReplacementKillers'', Creator/ChowYunFat's first major Hollywood movie, which features many of the thematic elements of his other films. In addition, Woo helped produce the video game ''VideoGame/{{Stranglehold}}'', a sequel to ''Hard-Boiled'' which pits Inspector Tequila against the father of the BigBad from the film. He additionally became known on the {{Anime}} scene as the producer of ''Anime/AppleseedExMachina''.

!!Common tropes appearing in works by John Woo:
* BloodBrothers: A very common theme in his Hong Kong works.
* BottomlessMagazines: Characters reload guns when it is convenient for the film's pacing, and not a second before.
* CreatorBacklash: He disowned ''A Better Tomorrow II'' due to the ExecutiveMeddling denying him final cut. With the exception of the climactic gun battle.
* DisturbedDoves: A signature trope of his, mainly because he [[AuthorAppeal likes the]] [[RuleOfSymbolism symbolism]].
* GunsAkimbo: The TropeCodifier for its usage in modern action and crime films. Just about all his films has at least one character doing this.
* GunFu: The TropeMaker. The word is that Hong Kong audiences saw gunfights as boring compared to the Wuxia films that were popular at the time. His response was to stylize the gunfights to show individual skill and flair.
* LeapAndFire: One of the many stylized elements of Woo's gunplay. Interestingly, his early Hong Kong works had very little of this.
* RealLife/MeanCharacterNiceActor: In real life, Woo is a Christian Pacifist who claims to never have fired a gun once.
* MexicanStandoff: His films frequently have the two-person point-blank variant, to the point where it is sometimes referred to as the "John Woo Standoff". In fact, this trope was deeply associated with him before it became associated with Creator/QuentinTarantino, who's usage of them was largely in reference to Woo.
* RatedMForManly