Hollywood News

John Woo ‘Never Liked Watching’ Superhero Films and Prefers ‘Scorsese’s Movies’: I Like ‘Real Cinema. There Aren’t Many Movies Like That Lately’

Action movie icon John Woo is not watching superhero movies, he recently told The New York Times in an interview ahead of the release of “Silent Night.” Woo, the Hong Kong director acclaimed for films such as “The Killer” (1989), “Hard Boiled” (1992) and “Face/Off” (1997), said he much prefers “real cinema” like Martin Scorsese movies.

“I’ve never liked watching movies with big special effects, or anything based on comic books,” Woo told the publication “I prefer Martin Scorsese’s movies, that kind of cinema. I can’t wait to watch ‘Killers of the Flower Moon.’ I like old-fashioned movies, you know? Real cinema. There aren’t many movies like that lately.”

Scorsese has shared his own criticisms of superhero movies over the years and garnered significant media attention in October 2019 when he told Empire magazine that Marvel movies were damaging the exhibition space. He argued that the comic book genre had put a stronghold on movie theaters and was forcing mid-budget movies out of the mainstream marketplace.

“I don’t see them. I tried, you know? But that’s not cinema,” Scorsese said at the time about Marvel movies. “Honestly, the closest I can think of them, as well made as they are, with actors doing the best they can under the circumstances, is theme parks. It isn’t the cinema of human beings trying to convey emotional, psychological experiences to another human being.”

Woo, meanwhile, is finally returning to Hollywood with the release of “Silent Night,” a dialogue-free action movie starring Joel Kinnaman. The director’s last several films were made in Hong Kong, but he decided it was finally time to return to the U.S. His Hollywood output includes “Hard Target” (1993), “Broken Arrow” (1996), “Face/Off” (1997) and “Mission: Impossible 2” (2000).

“There were a lot of good scripts that I wanted to shoot, but they never came to me,” Woo told The Times of Hollywood return. “Like a drama about a young kid from a bad neighborhood. Hollywood producers wouldn’t suggest me for that because they felt I wasn’t American, so I wouldn’t understand their life style. Scripts for historical dramas never came to me, either, because I’m Chinese. I’m a foreigner, so they couldn’t believe that I could make an American historical film. All I could do, in those people’s minds, was make action movies. I can make a lot of kinds of movies, but it’s hard to make people believe that.

Woo added, “I was so excited when I got the script for ‘Silent Night.’ There’s no dialogue in the entire movie! I thought this would be very good for me because it lets me use my gifts for telling a story visually. I’m always on the lookout for good stories. It just so happened that this is a Hollywood production. I also never felt like I was coming back to Hollywood, since, to me, I never left Hollywood. I simply made a few movies in China over the past two decades. Coming back to Hollywood actually feels like coming home.”

“Silent Night” opens in theaters Dec. 1 from Lionsgate.

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