Facts about John Woo
John Woo Biography
John Woo made his reputation as an action film director in Hong Kong during the 1980s, but since 1992 has worked in Hollywood directing big-budget thrillers such as Face/Off (1997, with John Travolta and Nicolas Cage) and Mission Impossible II (2000, starring Tom Cruise).
Woo started his filmmaking career with the Shaw Brothers studios in Hong Kong in 1969. He directed his first feature film in 1973 (The Young Dragons) and followed with a string of action movies during the ’70s and ’80s.
Woo gained international attention for the stylized violence in A Better Tomorrow (1986), The Killer (1989) and Hard-Boiled (1992), all starring Chow Yun-Fat, and in 1993 made his first movie in the U.S., Hard Target (starring Jean-Claude Van Damme).
His films are known for their choreographed violence, themes of loyalty and honor and visual trademarks like guns and doves. His other American films include the World War II drama Windtalkers (2002) and the sci-fi thriller Paycheck (2003, from a short story by Philip K. Dick), neither of which were a hit with fans or critics.
Woo returned to Asian films with his two historical epics, Red Cliff (2008-09) and The Crossing (2015). Both ambitious films were released in Asian markets in two parts; in the U.S. condensed versions were released as single features.