Woo to Receive Golden Lion

Hong Kong action director will be honored at 2010 Venice Film Festival

Last Updated: December 21, 2009 @ 6:14 PM

John Woo, the director behind such stylish action hits as "Face/Off" and "Hard Boiled," has been awarded the Venice International Film Festival’s Golden Lion award for lifetime achievement, organizers announced on Monday.

In tapping Woo for the honor, the festival cited his influence on contemporary filmmakers and his highly stylized action sequences.

"In his war and gangster film masterpieces, Woo has been capable of transfiguring hyperbolic motion (defying gravity) and exasperated violence with a highly original poetic and romantic infusion, sustained by an extremely personal and energetic figurative tension, similar to a surreal hallucination," the festival said in a release announcing the selection.

The decision was made by the festival’s board of directors, but came after a recommendation by Marco Müller, the festival’s director.

Over more than two decades, Woo has built a sucessful career both in Hollywood and in Asia, where he helped inaugurate the Hong Kong action movie boom through films such as "A Better Tomorrow" and "The Killer." He has also worked with Tom Cruise, John Travolta and some of Hollywood’s biggest stars in American movies such as "Mission Impossible 2" and "Broken Arrow."

After several box office disappointments with 2002’s "Windtalkers" and 2003’s "Paycheck," Woo re-emerged last year with the critically acclaimed historical epic "Red Cliff."