In his article, Jinsoo Ann claims that The Killer has generated a cult following because of its use of excess violence and plausible impossibilities. Ann argues that because of these cult cinema qualities, there is often a cultural misreading in Hong Kong cinema. Ann claims that the violence in The Killer is a result of the upcoming takeover of Hong Kong by China. The campiness and the relationship between males is what sets the film apart from Western action films. Ann claims that the meaning is distorted to Western audiences, but I think that Western audiences recognize The Killer as a campy film because Hollywood has its own set of campy and cult films that are comparable to The Killer. .
Some of the cult traits that Ann points out are the relationship between plausible impossibilities and implausible possibilities. Ann points to the example of the beach shoot-out. Ann points out that even though Jeff's character had been developed before as a killer, his need to save a child rather than escape danger is implausible. The situation is there to create melodrama. .
Another example is Woo's use of excess violence. Ann's article describes excess as that which "implies a gap or lag in motivation" as "counter-narrative" and "counter-unity". .
The violence creates a distancing effect that calls attention to the genre. It suspends the narrative, and usually represents an issue that calls for meditation, but Ann claims that Woo uses excess to make "exhibitionist cinema", rather he uses excess violence as a means to experiment with the film medium. .
The third element that sets the film apart is the relationship between Jeff and Inspector Li. Their open fondness for each other is quasi-homoerotic, and also something you do not see in Western action films. It is something that gets misinterpreted in Western audiences as erotic. .
As for my own analysis of The Killer and Ann's article, I definitely agree that The Killer is a cult film, but I do not think that it is misinterpreted.