The Killer (US version)

Manufacturer: Fox Lorber

Price: $25

Sound: Dolby 1.0

Format: widescreen

Languages: Cantonese, English

Subtitles: English

Extras: trailers, John Woo bio/filmography, cast filmographies, production notes, John Woo commentary

The picture and sound are the same as the Fox Lorber VHS... a bit disappointing. They could have cleaned it up a bit, at least try to take out some of the scratches and whatnot. And if there's a movie that could benefit with a good 5.1 remix (if the original mix was left intact) this would be one of them. The John Woo bio and production notes are nothing major, and the filmographies seem to be a little inaccurate, listing some of the movies by alternate titles only (they list "Heroes Shed No Tears" as "The Sunset Warriors"). The subs are yellow and easy to read, though I did notice that they follow the dub almost exactly, so they're probably not accurate. They're also a little too big and high on the screen; nothing major, but a little distracting.

The disc includes trailers for "The Killer" and "Hard-Boiled". "Hard-Boiled" is the great original 6 minute trailer, but "The Killer" is the crappy US one that labels the film as a "campy" thriller/comedy. Woo's commentary is great though, he goes into detail about both the technical and philosophical sides of making the movie (and also contrasts how HK and Hollywood film making differs) and offers up a lot of tidbits I didn't know. Overall, it's not as good as the Criterion version, but it offers more stuff than the HK version at about the same price. I'd say to buy it, but since it's one of my favorite films and I didn't already have it on DVD (I just had the full frame VHS) I'm probably a bit biased. It's worth it just to have a good commentary by John Woo on it.

Rating: ***

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