John Woo has re-mixed the basic ingredients of the Hong Kong action film and created a new recipe that others try to emulate. Like a great chef he has cooked up haute cuisine using the same basic materials as his contemporaries, but has shifted the measurements so that the final result is finer and more complex. He incorporates the techniques learned from directors he has worked with and/or admires while putting his own unique stamp on the action films he creates. Woo credits his distinctive style to various events early in his life, these factors have influenced the theme and focus of those films that we most closely associate with the Woo technique. In an interview conducted at a film retrospective shown at the Seattle Art Museum, John Woo offered extensive insights into the ingredients and influences of his upbringing that we now recognize as the essence of his directorial style.
I truly believe in friendship. When I was young, I got a lot of help from a friend. I guess I'm pretty traditional. In old Chinese stories, people sacrifice themselves for friends. They have so much honor and sense of morality. These are qualities I've always admired. When I was kid, our family was living in the slums. We lived in a very bad neighborhood, with drug dealers, gamblers, prostitutes. My family was very poor and couldn't afford to send me to school. And then when I was nine, I got support from an American family and from church. They paid for my school fees and that's how I got educated. So I'm very appreciative of the people who have helped me. I grew up wanting to do things that paid back society, to help. In high school, I wanted to be a minister, but it didn't work out for some reason. But I've always believed in friends helping each other, appreciating each other and caring about each other. When I was in high school, I was part of a group. We couldn't affor!.
d to go to college, so all we did was get together and learn from movies.