Mr John Woo Yu Sum



Born in Guangzhou and raised in Hong Kong, director and screenwriter John Woo fell in love with film at a young age. Before sitting in the director’s chair, he had written movie reviews, shot experimental films and worked as a continuity man and assistant director. From 1971 to 1972, he was assistant to director Chang Cheh at Shaw Brothers. In 1975, he directed his first film, The Young Dragons (1975). Shortly afterwards, he joined Golden Harvest as a contract director and went on to make Cantonese opera film Princess Chang Ping (1976), comedy The Pilferers’ Progress (1977), as well as Last Hurrah for Chivalry (1979) and Plain Jane to the Rescue (1982). Woo had dabbled in various genres before making the pivotal A Better Tomorrow in 1986, which won Best Director at Taiwan’s Golden Horse Awards. The film’s tremendous success triggered a spate of action hero movies, spurring Woo to shoot The Killer (1989), Bullet in the Head (1990), Once a Thief (1991) and Hard Boiled (1992). Woo’s unique style, especially his distinctive gunfire scenes, brought him global fame. In 1993, he ventured to Hollywood where he made Hard Target (1993), Broken Arrow (1996), Face/Off (1997), Mission Impossible II (2000), Windtalkers (2002) and Paycheck (2003). More recently, Woo has returned to the Chinese-language film circle to helm prominent projects including the epic Red Cliff (2008), The Crossing (2014) and Manhunt (2017). He was honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award at both the Venice Film Festival in 2010 and the Pusan Film Festival in 2017. He was also honoured with a Bronze Bauhinia Star by the Hong Kong Government in 2004.