->''[[HitmanWithAHeart One vicious hitman]]. [[CowboyCop One relentless cop]]. [[MoreDakka Ten thousand bullets]].''

'''''The Killer''''' (''Die Xue Shuang Xiong'', or "Bloodshed of Two Heroes") is considered one of JohnWoo's all time greatest films, drawing from such influences as Jean-Pierre Melville's hitman drama ''Le Samourai'' and Chang Cheh's bloody masterpiece ''Vengeance''. Chow Yun-Fat plays HitmanWithAHeart Ah Jong, whose life changes forever when, in the middle of carrying out a hit at a restaurant, he accidentally blinds a beautiful lounge singer by the name of Jenny, played by Sally Yeh, with the muzzle flash of his gun. Several days later, Jong rescues Jenny from muggers who are out to rob her and gets to know the girl a bit better and is all the more wracked with remorse for it. Jong wants to leave the business behind so that he can be with her, but in order to raise the money to have Jenny's eyes fixed, he will need to perform one last job for his triad, which is to kill a guy by the name of Wong Dung-Yu.

Unfortunately for Jong, things do not turn out as planned. The boss of the triad, Wong Hoi, who is the nephew of the guy he sent Jong out to kill, would rather kill Jong than hand over the money that Jong's handler Fung Sei promised to him, as he wants to clear the table for his ruthless ambitions. Meanwhile, a cop by the name of Inspector Li Ying (played by Danny Lee, who is good at playing {{Cowboy Cop}}s in general) has picked up Ah Jong's case, and as he gets to know both the assassin and the woman that he's going through hell for, the two heroes on opposite sides of the law develop a respect for each other that soon turns into a bond of friendship akin to [[BloodBrothers blood brotherhood]]. As Fung Sei goes through hell to try to get the money for his friend, Wong Hoi has hired a replacement killer by the name of Paul Yau and a virtual army of assassins to get rid of Jong, and as everything goes straight to hell, Li becomes Jong's only ally against his double-crossing boss in a blazing final showdown that has come to define HeroicBloodshed.

This movie built on the genre that was started with ''A Better Tomorrow'' and ''Heroes Shed No Tears'' and expanded upon it. In addition to the HeroicBloodshed favorites of GunsAkimbo, slow-mo and themes of loyalty and betrayal. ''The Killer'' also popularized the use of the point-blank MexicanStandoff and introduced the DisturbedDoves, a motif that would show up in JohnWoo's later movies and made their first appearance during the [[BloodstainedGlassWindows apocalyptic church shootout]] that ended the movie. [[spoiler:It also has one of the most tragic endings that Woo has ever done, in keeping with the tendency of Hong Kong and Asian cinema in general to end their more dramatic movies on a downer note.]]
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!!This film provides examples of the following tropes:
* AlmostLethalWeapons: Both heroes and villains in Heroic Bloodshed movies in general can take a lot of punishment.
* AnyoneCanDie: [[spoiler:By the end of the movie, the only major characters still alive are Jenny and Inspector Li, and both are in a very bad way, what with Jenny being all but blind forever and Li being arrested by his fellow cops and possibly sent to prison after the movie.]]
* BackToBackBadasses: Ah Jong and Inspector Li during the church shootout.
* {{Badass}}: Ah Jong and Inspector Li both.
* BadBoss: Wong Hoi, as Ah Jong and Fung Sei both finds out. Wong Hoi even [[spoiler:kills Paul Yau, his own syndicate hitman, when he was used as a hostage by Inspector Li in an attempt to break his own hostage situation with Jenny at the end.]]
* BashBrothers: Ah Jong and Inspector Li from the beach house shootout onwards.
* BigBad: Wong Hoi/Johnny Weng.
* BigBadFriend: Wong Hoi towards Ah Jong.
* BlindAndTheBeast: Jenny and Ah Jong. Played with in that's it not Jong's ''appearance'' that could be considered unpleasant, rather his [[ProfessionalKiller profession]] and the fact that it was him who blinded her, which she's initially unaware of.
* BloodBrothers: Two sets of these, Fung Sei being one on Ah Jong's side and Chang being one for Li. The two protagonists develop a bond like this toward the end of the movie.
* BloodstainedGlassWindows: The final showdown at the church.
* CainAndAbel: Wong Hoi and Wong Dung-Yu. Though they were never shown fighting with each other on-screen. As it turns out, Wong Hoi is the one who ordered Ah Jong to kill his nephew.
* ChurchShootout: ''The'' definitive example.
* ContractOnTheHitman: The primary plot of the movie.
* CowboyCop: Inspector Li.
* CrucifiedHeroShot: Ah Jong at one point during the church shootout.
* DeadPartner: [[spoiler:Sgt. Tsang Yeh, Inspector Li's partner, was fatally shot in the car lot by Paul Yau and dies after he was admitted in a hospital. But not before chasing down Fung Sei, finding the location where Ah Jong was hiding.]]
* DeathByFlashback: [[spoiler:Prior to the death of Sgt. Tsang in the hospital, there is a flashback of him telling Inspector Li that he can't win forever...but he can't lose forever either.]]
* DiedInYourArmsTonight: Subverted with [[spoiler:the dying Ah Jong and Jenny due to scheduling conflicts between their two actors]].
* DiegeticSwitch: Done with Jenny's song at the very beginning of the movie.
* DisturbedDoves: This was the first John Woo movie to have them. He's used them ever since.
* [[spoiler:DownerEnding]]
* TheDragon: Paul Yau
* DyingCurse: Crazy Eddie calls Inspector Li an "asshole", moments before dying of his gunshot wounds in the tram after taking a woman hostage.
* EtTuBrute: Ah Jong learns from Fung Sei that he was betrayed by Wong Hoi when his boss decides to have Paul Yau as his replacement.
* EyeScream: The opening scene of Jenny's eyes being burned by Ah Jong's muzzle flash. And Chow Yun-Fat's eye was injured for real during filming, which can be seen during the climax.
* FireForgedFriends: While Ah Jong and Inspector Li do have a great deal of respect for each other despite being on opposite sides of the law, it's not until the beach house shootout, where the two are forced to join forces to protect each other and Jenny, that they truly become allies.
* GroinAttack: Ah Jong's first kill at the restaurant.
* TheGunslinger: Most of the major characters are this in spades.
* GunsAkimbo: Crazy Eddie at the beginning. Ah Jong, Inspector Li and [[spoiler:Wong Hoi towards the end]].
* GunFu: A John Woo trademark, most prominently seen in the beach shootout, the beach house shootout and the church shootout.
* HeroicBloodshed: One of the quintessential examples of the genre.
* [[spoiler:TheHeroDies: Ah Jong himself was killed before he could fulfill the promise to have Jenny's eyes fixed.]]
* HeKnowsTooMuch: The reason why Wong Hoi wants to kill Ah Jong is because he was spotted on the hit.
* HitmanWithAHeart: Ah Jong, full stop.
* HonorBeforeReason: Happens a lot in this movie.
* ICannotSelfTerminate: [[spoiler:Ah Jong has to put a bullet to Fung Sei after he fails to save a final bullet to finish himself off]].
* InSeriesNickname: Ah Jong and Inspector Li addresses each other as "Mickey Mouse" and "Dumbo" at certain points of the movie.
* ItWorksBetterWithBullets: Ah Jong does this to Sidney during the confrontation at his apartment.
* KilledMidSentence: Crazy Eddie, who was shot by Inspector Li, died mid-sentence during his DyingCurse.
* LoveAtFirstNote: Ah Jong falls in love with Jenny upon hearing her sing at the nightclub where he is to kill his first target. Then the plot happens.
* ManlyTears
* MexicanStandoff: Ah Jong and Inspector Li get into these a lot, including a quite iconic point-blank standoff at Jenny's apartment.
* MustMakeAmends: The title character's attempt to fix a tragic mistake that he made, which resulted in a beautiful singer being blinded by the muzzle-flash of his gun. The last hit that he goes on is an attempt to raise the money to have her eyes fixed, but unfortunately for him, his boss has other ideas. [[spoiler:It does not end well for him.]]
* MyGreatestFailure: How Ah Jong felt about nearly shooting Jenny's eyes out at the nightclub and about the child whom he bought to the hospital when she is caught in the middle of the shootout on the beach.
* NoHoldsBarredBeatdown: Fung Sei receives a quite tearjerking one of these at the hands of Wong Hoi in his final attempt to get the Killer's money.
* OneLastJob: Ah Jong has to do one of these to pay to have Jenny's eyes fixed.
* PowerWalk: Ah Jong and Li do an especially cool one near the end of the ChurchShootout.
* PutDownYourGunAndStepAway: [[spoiler:Wong Hoi takes Jenny hostage in the movie's final standoff]].
* [[spoiler:PyrrhicVictory: Inspector Li kills Wong Hoi at the end in retailiation for killing Ah Jong. But as a consequence, he was arrested after gunning down the mob boss in front of the entire police force. He also can't use the money to have Jenny's eyes fixed either.]]
* RasputinianDeath: [[spoiler:Wong Hoi at the end.]]
* SanctuaryOfSolitude: In the very first scene when Fung Sei meets Ah Jong at the church, he asks if he believes in God. Ah Jong replies in the negative but that he "enjoys the tranquility here," making it clear that the church is a place of peace for him. The church gets blown to hell during the course of the final shootout.
* SayMyName:
** "Ah Jong!"[=/=]"Jeffrey!" (English) (Said by Jenny)
** "Fung Sei!"[=/=]"Sidney!" (English) (Said by Ah Jong when [[spoiler:his friend, Fung Sei, was shot in the church]])
** "Dumbo!" (Inspector Li addressing Ah Jong)
** "Mickey!" (Ah Jong addressing Inspector Li)
* ScarfOfAsskicking: Ah Jong during the first shootout.
* SeanConneryIsAboutToShootYou
* [[spoiler:ShootTheShaggyDog]]
* SinisterShades: Paul Yau sports a set of these.
* StalkerWithoutACrush: Inspector Li towards Ah Jong.
* SympathyForTheDevil: Inspector Li to Ah Jong.
* TheTriadsAndTheTongs: Feature a lot in HeroicBloodshed movies in general, and this movie is no exception.
* TurnInYourBadge: Li is taken off the case after getting the wrong guy at the airport, since the superintendent thinks the man is siding with the guy he's supposed to take in.
* TwoShotsFromBehindTheBar: The opening shootout featured a bartender with a shotgun. Needless to say, it didn't end well for him.
* WhatDoYouMeanItsNotSymbolic: In spades during the church shootout, including the destruction of the statue of Mary.
* WhiteShirtOfDeath: [[spoiler:Ah Jong and Inspector Li themselves at the end, though Li survives the shootout]].
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