(Photo by Paramount/courtesy Everett Collection)

All John Woo Movies Ranked

We’re ranking the films of John Woo! The guide starts with the action director’s Certified Fresh films, with each of the three marking the distinct periods of Woo’s career. 1989’s The Killer, starring Chow Yun-fat, is one of the high water marks of Hong Kong cinema, of which Woo’s name is synonymous. 1997’s Face/Off is among the highest-rated films of both the careers of John Travolta and Nicolas Cage, and the film is neatly nestled in the middle of Woo’s Hollywood period. And 2008’s Red Cliff saw Woo return to his homeland China after his long American stint to depict a mythic military event in the country’s history.

Following those are Woo’s Fresh films, which include much more of Hong Kong action classics, including Hard-Boiled, A Better Tomorrow, and Once a Thief. Filling out the rest of the list are Woo’s Rotten films from his American blockbuster period, including Mission: Impossible 2. Alex Vo

#1

The Killer (1989)
98%

#1
Adjusted Score: 100706%
Critics Consensus: The Killer is another hard-boiled action flick from John Woo featuring eye-popping balletic violence and philosophical underpinnings.
Synopsis: Mob assassin Jeffrey (Chow Yun-Fat) is no ordinary hired gun; the best in his business, he views his chosen profession... [More]
Directed By: John Woo

#2

Red Cliff (2008)
91%

#2
Adjusted Score: 95442%
Critics Consensus: Featuring some impressively grand battlefield action, John Woo returns to Asia and returns to form in the process for this lavish and slick historical epic.
Synopsis: In ancient China, the emperor of the Han Dynasty allows General Cao Cao (Fengyi Zhang) to declare war against the... [More]
Directed By: John Woo

#3

Face/Off (1997)
92%

#3
Adjusted Score: 97333%
Critics Consensus: John Travolta and Nicolas Cage play cat-and-mouse (and literally play each other) against a beautifully stylized backdrop of typically elegant, over-the-top John Woo violence.
Synopsis: Obsessed with bringing terrorist Castor Troy (Nicolas Cage) to justice, FBI agent Sean Archer (John Travolta) tracks down Troy, who... [More]
Directed By: John Woo

#4

Bullet in the Head (1990)
100%

#4
Adjusted Score: 49440%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Three Hong Kong gang fighters (Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Jacky Cheung, Waise Lee) try crime in Vietnam and land in... [More]
Directed By: John Woo

#5
#5
Adjusted Score: 21442%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A man enlists the help of two sword fighters (Wei Pai, Damian Lau) to seek revenge upon his father's mortal... [More]
Directed By: John Woo

#6

Hard-Boiled (1992)
94%

#6
Adjusted Score: 96383%
Critics Consensus: Boasting impactful action as well as surprising emotional resonance, Hard Boiled is a powerful thriller that hits hard in more ways than one.
Synopsis: A cop who loses his partner in a shoot-out with gun smugglers goes on a mission to catch them. In... [More]
Directed By: John Woo

#7
#7
Adjusted Score: 93495%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A Hong Kong policeman (Leslie Cheung) blames his reformed-gangster brother (Chow Yun-Fat) for the death of their father.... [More]
Directed By: John Woo

#8

Once a Thief (1996)
80%

#8
Adjusted Score: 16794%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A love triangle means conflict for an international agent (Ivan Sergei), his ex-lover (Sandrine Holt) and her new fiance (Nicholas... [More]
Directed By: John Woo

#9
#9
Adjusted Score: 31388%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A policeman (Leslie Cheung) and a reformed gangster (Ti Lung) meet their dead friend's twin, employed by a New York... [More]
Directed By: John Woo

#10

Once a Thief (1996)
80%

#10
Adjusted Score: 16794%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A love triangle means conflict for an international agent (Ivan Sergei), his ex-lover (Sandrine Holt) and her new fiance (Nicholas... [More]
Directed By: John Woo

#11

Manhunt (2017)
67%

#11
Adjusted Score: 67949%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: After he is framed for a vile crime, a Chinese pharmaceutical lawyer teams up with a Japanese detective to stop... [More]
Directed By: John Woo

#12

Hard Target (1993)
60%

#12
Adjusted Score: 60835%
Critics Consensus: Hard Target gets a boost from John Woo's stylish direction, but at heart, it's still another silly, explosion-dependent action thriller in the Jean-Claude Van Damme oeuvre.
Synopsis: Chance Boudreaux (Jean-Claude Van Damme), a sailor skilled in martial arts, is employed to guard Natasha Binder (Yancy Butler) as... [More]
Directed By: John Woo

#13
#13
Adjusted Score: 61604%
Critics Consensus: Your cranium may crave more substance, but your eyes will feast on the amazing action sequences.
Synopsis: Tom Cruise returns to his role as Ethan Hunt in the second installment of "Mission: Impossible." This time Ethan Hunt... [More]
Directed By: John Woo

#14

Broken Arrow (1996)
54%

#14
Adjusted Score: 55460%
Critics Consensus: John Woo adds pyrotechnic glaze to John Travolta's hammy performance, but fans may find Broken Arrow to be a dispiritingly disposable English-language entry for the action auteur.
Synopsis: Air Force pilots Vic Deakins (John Travolta) and Riley Hale (Christian Slater) are sent on an overnight top-secret mission with... [More]
Directed By: John Woo

#15

Windtalkers (2002)
33%

#15
Adjusted Score: 38559%
Critics Consensus: The action sequences are expertly staged. Windtalkers, however, sinks under too many clichés and only superficially touches upon the story of the code talkers.
Synopsis: Marine Joe Enders (Nicolas Cage) is assigned to protect Ben Yahzee (Adam Beach) -- a Navajo code talker, the Marines'... [More]
Directed By: John Woo

#16

Paycheck (2003)
27%

#16
Adjusted Score: 32552%
Critics Consensus: Though Dick's short story has an intriguing premise, Woo reduces it to a lot of meaningless chases, shoot-outs, and explosions.
Synopsis: Michael Jennings (Ben Affleck) is a top-notch reverse engineer. Corporations pay him to crack the secrets of their competitors' products.... [More]
Directed By: John Woo