A killer (Chow Yun-Fat) accidentally wounds a singer and searches redemption for his sins by helping her out.
Tsui Hark refused to produce the movie due to obscure arguments with director John Woo. Super star Chow Yun Fat managed however to make it happen. Hark hasn't let it go so easily and he imposed Woo some constraints. He cast Sally Yeh, he refused to use any jazzy music score (as wished originally by Woo) and he wrote the dialogue scene between Jeff and his friend Sidney. Apart from that, John Woo made one of his greatest movies ever. Chow Yun Fat amazing acting and tragic elements of the story...
Unhappy with Woo for obscure reasons, Tsui Hark refused to produce the film. Fortunately Chow Yun Fat's influence helped Woo to make this project become a reality. However, it would be wrong to assume that Tsui Hark was totally uninterested in making The Killer. He imposed the singer-cum-actress Sally Yeh, he didn't want to use jazz as musical theme and he conceived the scene where the two killers meet on a mountain road with a view on the whole HK. Despite these troubled circumstances, John Woo managed to direct one of his best films. The Killer owes a lot to Chow Yun Fat's acting chops, and to Woo's ability to elevate his characters by giving them a tragic dimension.
In an interview published in the French magazine HK Extreme Orient Cinema, John Woo confessed that the friendship between the cop and the killer should not have existed. But due to the repeated absenteeism of Sally Yeh he couldn't shoot the romantic scenes with her he had planned. So he decided to add this friendship subplot between Danny Lee and Chow Yun-fat which created the film we all know.
The use of the famous Hendel's Messiah Overture when the statue of the Virgin Mary explodes in the church is not John Woo’s own creation, contrary to what one might think. While editing the scene, Woo and his editor David Wu had problem finding the right pace and the right music. They decided to have a break and start again after the week end. When Wu went to the church with his wife for the Sunday service, he discovered the Overture of Hendel's Messiah and decided to add it to the edited scene. He re-cut the scene and showed it to Woo who stand speechless for 10 minutes. Later, Woo received a letter from Martin Scorsese who said he loved the film and especially enjoyed the scene in the church with the Messiah. Source: A Bullet in the Head Platinum Edition DVD by Hong Kong Legends. (Interview with David Wu)
The music for The Killer theme song was composed by Lowell Lo and the lyrics were written by James Wong. Let's mention songs performed by Sally Yeh: "Once In A Lifetime" and "It's Been Written."