Watch This: Behind The Scenes with John Woo on his First American Movie

Back in 1992, Hong Kong director John Woo (born on September 22, 1946) was still a bit of a cult figure among adventurous American cinephiles. It wasn’t until he made his first Hollywood films HARD TARGET (1993), BROKEN ARROW (1995) and FACE OFF (1997) that he became well known to mass audiences as an action film director par excellence.

Here’s a fascinating video time capsule of the period in 1992 when Woo was making HARD TARGET, a reasonably modest-budgeted Jean Claude Van Damme vehicle. You can see the level of ambition in the way Woo sets up the shots. The technical crew is shown marveling at the number of firearm rounds he uses (around 50,000) and there’s a great subtle moment – at 13:07 – when the pyrotechnics guy asks Woo if he wants to set some stunt men on fire. Woo nods serenely, as if he’s just been asked if he wants cream and sugar with his coffee.

Throughout the piece, we hear from Quentin Tarantino, Walter Hill, Sam Raimi and others about their admiration for Woo’s skill and inventiveness. It’s a pretty enjoyable little video. Enjoy.

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