John Woo

Director, Screenwriter, Editor
Once hailed by action star Jean-Claude Van Damme as "the Martin Scorsese of Asia," John Woo was a legendary action director in the Hong Kong film industry long before immigrating to Hollywood to direct his first ... Read more »
Born: 04/30/1946 in China

Filmography

Director (39)

From Riches to Rags 2014 (Movie)

(Director)

Princess Chang Ping 2014 (Movie)

(Director)

Run Tiger Run 2014 (Movie)

(Director)

The Crossing 2014 (Movie)

(Director)

The Crossing Part II 2014 (Movie)

(Director)

The Dragon Tamers 2014 (Movie)

(Director)

The Sunset Warrior 2014 (Movie)

(Director)

The Time You Need a Friend 2014 (Movie)

(Director)

The Crossing Part I 2013 (Movie)

(Director)

Reign of Assassins 2010 (Movie)

Co-director (Director)

Red Cliff II 2009 (Movie)

(Director)

Red Cliff: Part I 2009 (Movie)

(Director)

All the Invisible Children 2005 (Movie)

(China segment) (Director)

John Woo's Once a Thief 2002 - 2003 (Tv Show)

Director

Paycheck 2003 (Movie)

(Director)

The Hostage 2002 (Movie)

(Director)

Windtalkers 2002 (Movie)

(Director)

Mission: Impossible 2 2000 (Movie)

(Director)

Face/Off 1997 (Movie)

(Director)

John Woo's Once a Thief 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

Director

Broken Arrow 1996 (Movie)

(Director)

Once A Thief 1994 (Movie)

(Director)

Hard Target 1993 (Movie)

(Director)

Hard Boiled 1992 (Movie)

(Director)

A Better Tomorrow 1991 (Movie)

(Director)

Bullet in the Head 1990 (Movie)

(Director)

The Killer 1990 (Movie)

(Director)

A Better Tomorrow II 1987 (Movie)

(Director)

Plain Jane to the Rescue 1982 (Movie)

(Director)

Laughing Times 1981 (Movie)

(Director)

To Hell With the Devil 1981 (Movie)

(Director)

Last Hurrah for Chivalry 1978 (Movie)

(Director)

Follow the Star 1977 (Movie)

(Director)

Money Crazy 1977 (Movie)

(Director)

Countdown in Kung Fu 1975 (Movie)

(Director)

The Young Dragon 1973 (Movie)

(Director)

1949 (Movie)

(Director)

Blackjack (TV Show)

Director

Ninja Gold (Movie)

(Director)
Producer (21)

Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale 2012 (Movie)

(Producer)

Reign of Assassins 2010 (Movie)

(Producer)

My Fair Gentleman 2009 (Movie)

(Producer)

Red Cliff II 2009 (Movie)

(Executive Producer)

Red Cliff II 2009 (Movie)

(Producer)

Red Cliff: Part I 2009 (Movie)

(Executive Producer)

Red Cliff: Part I 2009 (Movie)

(Producer)

Appleseed: Ex Machina 2007 (Movie)

(Producer)

Blood Brothers 2007 (Movie)

(Producer)

Bulletproof Monk 2003 (Movie)

(Producer)

Paycheck 2003 (Movie)

(Producer)

Windtalkers 2002 (Movie)

(Producer)

John Woo's Once a Thief: Brother Against Brother 1997 - 1998 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

John Woo's Once a Thief: Family Business 1997 - 1998 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

The Big Hit 1998 (Movie)

(Executive Producer)

The Replacement Killers 1998 (Movie)

(Executive Producer)

Somebody Up There Likes Me 1995 (Movie)

(Executive Producer)

The Red Circle 1969 (Movie)

(Presents (2003 re-release)) (Producer)

1949 (Movie)

(Producer)

Ninja Gold (Movie)

(Producer)

Red Skies (TV Show)

Executive Producer
Writer (10)

The Invincible 2010 (Movie)

(from screenplay: "A Better Tomorrow") (Source Material)

Red Cliff II 2009 (Movie)

(adaptation) (Screenplay)

Red Cliff: Part I 2009 (Movie)

(adaptation) (Screenplay)

Once A Thief 1994 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Hard Boiled 1992 (Movie)

(From Story)

A Better Tomorrow 1991 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Bullet in the Head 1990 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Killer 1990 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

A Better Tomorrow II 1987 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Countdown in Kung Fu 1975 (Movie)

(Screenplay)
Actor (8)

Beginning of the Great Revival 2011 (Movie)

Lin Sen (Actor)

Kurosawa's Way 2010 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

World Stunt Awards 2000 - 2001 (TV Show)

Actor

The 2000 MTV Movie Awards 1999 - 2000 (TV Show)

Actor

Task Force 1996 (Movie)

(cameo appearance) (Actor)

Starry Is the Night 1988 (Movie)

(Actor)

Kurosawa: The Last Emperor (TV Show)

Actor
Editor (3)

Silent House 2012 (Movie)

(Editorial Assistant)

Hard Boiled 1992 (Movie)

(Editor)

Bullet in the Head 1990 (Movie)

(Editor)

Biography

Once hailed by action star Jean-Claude Van Damme as "the Martin Scorsese of Asia," John Woo was a legendary action director in the Hong Kong film industry long before immigrating to Hollywood to direct his first American film, "Hard Target" (1993). Reportedly the first Asian to direct a major Hollywood studio film, Woo made his name with action-packed, emotionally florid thrillers like "A Better Tomorrow" (1986), "The Killer" (1989), "A Bullet in the Head" (1990) and "Hard-Boiled" (1992). Enthusiastically embraced by English-speaking critics, Woo was a bold visual stylist who learned his meticulous choreography of movement, graceful camera moves and over-the-top violence from the likes of Sergio Leone, Sam Peckinpah and Jean-Pierre Melville. Though soaked in blood, his films were marked by old-fashioned morality and chastely gallant attitudes toward women, while, even among villains, valuing friendship and loyalty. But by the time he began making films in America, Woo was forced to tone down the carnage, and greatly slow the pace of his action to appease uninitiated audiences. Though he found some measure of success with "Face/Off" (1997) and "M:I-2" (2001), Woo failed to match the artistry he achieved in Hong Kong. Nonetheless, Woo remained an influential figure among a new generation of filmmakers like Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez, who eagerly adopted his signature moves as Woo once did with his own cinematic heroes.

Relationships

Ann Woo

Wife
married c. 1975 naturalized American citizen

Milestones

2003

Directed Ben Affleck and Uma Thurman in the thriller "Paycheck"

2002

Reunited with Nicolas Cage with the WWII drama "Windtalkers" about Navajo code breakers

2000

Helmed "Mission: Impossible 2", with Tom Cruise reprising his role of Ethan Hunt

1998

WCG Prods. signed to two-year, first-look production deal at TriStar

1997

Helmed blockbuster action flick "Face/Off" starring John Travolta and Nicolas Cage

1993

American directorial debut, "Hard Target"

1986

Directed "A Better Tomorrow", the highest-grossing film in Hong Kong history; first collaboration with actor Chow Yun-Fat and producer Tsui Hark

1974

Directed first feature "The Young Dragons"; produced by Golden Harvest, a rival studio to the Shaw Brothers' (date approximate)

1970

Worked his way up to assistant director; went to work for the busy production facility of the Shaw Brothers

1968

Hired for the entry level position of production assistant at Cathay Film Studio

1967

At age 19, joined a theater company established by the Chinese Student Weekly, a periodical (date approximate)

1951

Moved from Guandong provice in China to Hong Kong with his parents

Will direct "The Red Circle," a remake of the 1970's french thriller about a jewel heist

Executive produced the USA Network pilot "Red Skies"

Began making super-8 and 16 millimeter shorts

With Terrence Chang, formed WCG Productions

Lived on the streets with his parents for over a year

Became assistant director to celebrated filmmaker Zhang Che, the master of "martial chivalry" epics

Tapped to helm a new, live-action version of the 1980s toy-rific toon, "He-Man and the Masters of the Universe"

Directed a kung fu quickie in Korea entitled "The Hand of Death/Shaolin Men/Countdown in Kung-Fu"; first major exposure for future international action star Jackie Chan

Bonus Trivia

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"I never count the number of squibs that are being used in my films. It's the rhythm that is important" --Woo quoted in the British genre film magazine SAMHIAN, undated.

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"This time, Woo's ballistic ballet features two cops--jazz buff Tequila (Chow Yun-Fat) and undercover man Tony (Tony Leung, NOT of "The Lover")--whose electric "pas de deux" bespeaks that intense love between men, albeit the kind best expressed through the unbridled spray of bullets. Their target is gangster boss and number-one-son-of-a-bitch Johnny, who's stashed his smuggled weapons in a hospital's basement morgue. When Tony 'n' Tequila discover it, Johnny threatens to blow the place up. Enter Tequila's love interest, Teresa, who plays tag-team rescue by frantically escorting droves of limping, confused patients (gunshot victims, perhaps?) from the burning hospital before it... Wait! The babies! What about all those squirming babies?" --David D. Kim, review of "Hard-Boiled", VILLAGE VOICE, June 22, 1993.

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"He's a tremendous filmmaker. I love the poetry of his images." --Tom Cruise, who was directed by Woo in "Mission: Impossible 2"

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