John Woo is back.
The filmmaker behind such seminal action classics as “The Killer,” “Hard Boiled” and “Face/Off” is back with “Silent Night,” which stars Joel Kinnaman (“For All Mankind,” “The Killing”) as a man who vows revenge after he is badly wounded and his son is killed on Christmas Eve. Watch the trailer above but be warned: it’s not for the faint of heart.
In the film, Kinnaman plays a man who goes after the murderers who destroyed his family. One of the most memorable shots in the trailer is when he writes “Kill Them All” on his calendar. The title “Silent Night” refers not only to the classic Christmas carol, but also to the fact that Kinnaman’s character lost his ability to speak in the attack. Now he’s silent… but deadly. Scott Mescudi and Catalina Sandino Moreno also star.
“Silent Night,” marks Woo’s first American movie in 20 years. His last U.S. feature was 2003’s underrated “Paycheck,” which starred Ben Affleck and was based on a Philip K. Dick story. Before that he made “Hard Target,” “Broken Arrow” and “Mission: Impossible 2” in the States, but his operatic style routinely clashed with the more conservative western view of what an action movie should be.
Since leaving Hollywood, Woo made the two-part historical epic “Red Cliff” and “Manhunt,” a 2017 feature that saw the director return to his action movie roots (it was eventually released on Netflix in America). His next film is a remake of “The Killer,” with Nathalie Emmanuel filling in for Chow Yun-Fat (originally it was being earmarked for Lupita Nyong’o); production was underway in Paris when the SAG-AFTRA strike hit.
What makes “Silent Night” so exciting is that it really does feel like a return to Woo’s roots – the explosively charged action, deeply felt emotion and bombastic visual excess – while working within the confines of a modern action movie. (The movie was produced by Thunder Road’s Basil Iwanyk and Erica Lee of the “John Wick” franchise, after all.) It is also a new addition to the holiday action sub-genre epitomized by “Die Hard,” which also includes last year’s similarly titled “Violent Night.”
“Silent Night” comes to theaters on Dec. 1. May it become a new Christmas favorite.