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.