It’s John Woo’s 54th birthday! The first Asian director to direct a mainstream American movie (the regrettably average Hard Target, with Jean-Claude Van Damme), he is the man who put Chow-Yun Fat on the American radar and the biggest proponent of slow-motion in action movies, the “two-gun” shooting style (see below, left), the “catch-gun-in-mid-air-and-shoot” sequences, and the “gun knot,” a scene where the main protagonist(s) and antagonist(s) all have weapons pointed at each other in close proximity (see below, right. The funeral sequence in Face/Off also has one of the more complicated versions).
Celebrate by watching some of Woo's classics, which include A Better Tomorrow, The Killer, Face/Off, and my personal favorite, Hard Boiled. I would also recommend the opening of The Replacement Killers (which, if I remember correctly, is actually just American version of the opening to The Killer), just not so much the rest of the movie. Actually, just watch any of the action sequences in the rest of his movies, and you’ll be good.
Strange tidbit: IMDB has his birthday listed as September 23…
Today also would have been Joseph Heller’s 84th birthday. Read his 1961 novel “Catch-22” or watch the 1970 movie starring Alan Arkin. Heller passed away in 1999.