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John Woo films just don't work in Hollywood

John Woo films just don't work in Hollywood

While in many ways, John Woo’s move from Hong Kong to Hollywood is to be congratulated – it still shows that there are some genuine movie fans in Hollywood for a start, he really ought to go back to Hong Kong and carry on making movies there.

When he’s using relatively unknown Hong Kong actors, and doing things in a production-line-orientated Hong Kong process, he can work movie magic. You’re willing to suspend your disbelief and believe, nay, revere in the characters and the action you see on screen.

When you end up with the disappointing blancmange that is Paycheck, you know that the magic is gone. Hollywood already does an amazing job in creating disappointing illusion sans magic – Ben Affleck is just too handsome and toned to convince as an engineer. There are a few plot holes – although to be fair I didn’t spot them at the time.

But the worst crime of all is that Paycheck was fundamentally dull. Hollywood has taken all the magic of his Hong Kong movies, and turned them into directorial cliches that no longer excite or invigorate, they just make you realise he’s been subsumed into the Borg-like Hollywood machine. Like all successful action directors must in the end, I presume.

It’s a shame.

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