The story matters less than the style, full of swooping camera movements, rapid-fire editing, and color-drenched displays of violence the Hong Kong school is famous for.
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There's plenty to enjoy -- in no small part thanks to Lau.
High-octane plunge into pop gangster psychology.
Exciting, but not completely original.
The film is filled with the kind of choreographed carnage that became synonymous with Hong Kong action during the genre's heyday, but there's an elegiac self-consciousness to it all that acknowledges that while the best is behind us, there's still something to be said about its passing.
Style is content in action movies, but when all the style originates elsewhere, it's just plain lazy.
Underworld opera of the bravura kind, this is driven, like most Hong Kong action, more by emotion than logic.
On the whole this is pretty standard shoot-‘em-up fare. Bang, crash, boom -- yawn.
Filmed with panache, wit, chic amorality, and an inexhaustible supply of Micro Uzi ammunition, ''Killer'' nevertheless represents a baroque dead end for the Hong Kong action genre.
The story won't win any prizes for coherence, but that doesn't much matter. As in most Hong Kong thrillers, it's the visuals - love those boldly choreographed shootouts! -- and moments of absurdity that count.