I learned of Jean-Pierre Melville‘s super-cool, ultra-controlled gangster movie Le Samouraï from John Woo. In my defense, it was the ’90s, I was young, and Woo’s highly stylized films A Better TomorrowThe Killer and Hard Boiled had me reading every possible interview with the director. It was probably in the pages of Asian Trash Cinema where I first found Woo extolling the virtues and influence of Melville’s film.

Years later, the director began to talk actively of remaking Melville’s movie, and that project is still in play to some extent. In a new reeport, Woo says that the script is being worked on now, and that German financing will be one big reason to transplant the action from Paris to Berlin. Read More »

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John Woo is in the middle of what might be a renaissance. It’s too early to really make that call, but he’s more active now in the wake of Red Cliff than he’s been in the past few years. And more active with interesting projects — if you haven’t seen Red Cliff it is definitely worth the time; Reign of Assassins looks promising; and there’s the IMAX film Flying Tigers that Woo is preparing to make.

But the spectre of trouble looms. A Variety piece on the director announces that “Woo is hoping to line up A-list talent for his English-language remakes of two hugely influential action films”: Le Samourai and his own The Killer. Read More »

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John Woo hasn’t made an English-language film since 2003′s Paycheck. Arguably he’s made only one good (or only one truly entertaining) film in America, Face/Off, though the Nic Cage war film Windtalkers does have defenders. Leaving the studio system seems like it was the best option for Woo, and in addition to his completed film opus Red Cliff he’s got Jianyu Jianghu (The Swordsman’s World) going now with Michelle Yeoh. But Woo continues to flirt with the idea of making another movie in America, as his lengthy list of attachments shown on IMDB can attest. Now he says there are really two projects he’s interested in making here, and they’re after the jump. Read More »

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