Born: 1 May 1946
Birthplace: Guangzhou, China
Best known as: Director of Face/Off and Paycheck
John Woo made his reputation as an action film director in Hong Kong during the 1980s, but since 1992 has worked in Hollywood directing big-budget thrillers such as Face/Off (1997, with John Travolta and Nicolas Cage) and Mission Impossible II (2000, starring Tom Cruise). Woo started his filmmaking career with the Shaw Brothers studios in Hong Kong in 1969. He directed his first feature film in 1973 (The Young Dragons) and followed with a string of action movies during the '70s and '80s. Woo gained international attention for the stylized violence in A Better Tomorrow (1986), The Killer (1989) and Hard-Boiled (1992), all starring Chow Yun-Fat, and in 1993 made his first movie in the U.S., Hard Target (starring Jean-Claude Van Damme). His films are known for their choreographed violence, themes of loyalty and honor and visual trademarks like guns and doves. His other films include the World War II drama Windtalkers (2002) and the sci-fi thriller Paycheck (2003, from a short story by Philip K. Dick).
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