It is impossible for true film lovers not to know the legendary action filmmaker John Woo. Now, he is trying to return to Hollywood after a two-decade hiatus. His last recorded work was the science fiction action film Paycheck (2003), starring Ben Affleck. Now, he is directing and producing Silent Night, starring Joel Kinnaman, Scott Mescudi, Harold Torres, and Catalina Sandino Moreno. Does this action film still have the filmmaker’s golden touch after such a long absence?

On Christmas Day, Brian (Kinnaman) and his wife and son play in his front yard. Suddenly, two cars are involved in a shooting, and the bullets hit his son. Brian tries to chase, but he is shot, sacrificing his vocal cords. Severe trauma hits Brian until he finally decides to avenge his son’s death. Brian recovers physically and trains in self-defense and firearms to fight the biggest criminal kingpin in his city.

One unique thing noted is the minimal use of dialogue in this film. Even the protagonist never has any dialogue (in the flashback segments). Not long ago, the sci-fi horror film released on Disney+, No One Will Save You, also used a similar approach. It could be that John Woo is now well aware of his weak points, so he is emphasizing on the action. You don’t need much thinking; the plot moves quickly with the dominance of montage techniques. There are few investigative plots or other dramas; the plot summarizes it to the point, just action.

The actions are also quite good. The action of chasing cars on city streets is presented so brutally with an impressive combination of fierce shooting action. However, don’t expect to find absurd actions in the style of Chow Yun Fat, which became the filmmaker’s trademark in his golden era, such as somersaults and “flying” while shooting with his slow-motion technique. The action is now a little more grounded and no longer as frenetic as before, but the filmmaker’s touch is still visible here and there.

Baca Juga  Peter Rabbit

Silent Night is John Woo’s comeback effort, which still presents crazy shooting action even though it is no longer as energetic as the films from his golden era. Hard Boiled, A Better Tomorrow, and The Killer are some of his best films that are difficult to compete with, even his Hollywood films (Hard Target, Face Off, Broken Arrow, Mission: Impossible 3). At least Silent Night is enough to relieve nostalgia for the filmmaker’s best works in the past. Regarding close-up action, no filmmaker can do it more absurdly than John Woo. If you don’t believe it, just watch the Hard Boiled trailer below.

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His hobby has been watching films since childhood, and he studied film theory and history autodidactically after graduating from architectural studies. He started writing articles and reviewing films in 2006. Due to his experience, the author was drawn to become a teaching staff at the private Television and Film Academy in Yogyakarta, where he taught Film History, Introduction to Film Art, and Film Theory from 2003 to 2019. His debut film book, "Understanding Film," was published in 2008, which divides film art into narrative and cinematic elements. The second edition of the book, "Understanding Film," was published in 2018. This book has become a favorite reference for film and communication academics throughout Indonesia. He was also involved in writing the Montase Film Bulletin Compilation Book Vol. 1-3 and "30 Best Selling Indonesian Films 2012-2018." Additionally, he authored the "Horror Film Book: From Caligari to Hereditary" (2023) and "Indonesian Horror Film: Rising from the Grave" (2023). Until now, he continues to write reviews of the latest films at and is actively involved in all film productions at the Montase Film Community. His short films have received high appreciation at many festivals, both local and international. Recently, his writing was included in the shortlist (top 15) of Best Film Criticism at the 2022 Indonesian Film Festival. From 2022 until now, he has also been a practitioner-lecturer for the Film Criticism and Film Theory courses at the Yogyakarta Indonesian Institute of the Arts in the Independent Practitioner Program.


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