Venice festival honors Chinese director John Woo

Fri Sep 3, 2010 10:09am EDT
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By Mike Collett-White

VENICE (Reuters) - The Venice film festival on Friday honored Hong Kong director John Woo, one of the few Asian filmmakers to enjoy box office success in Hollywood as well as at home.

The 64-year-old was awarded a lifetime achievement Golden Lion at the world's oldest film festival on the same day it showcased his latest film "Reign of Assassins," which he co-directed with Su Chao-Pin and also produced.

Woo, best known for his choreographed action sequences, was active in Hong Kong during the 1970s and 1980s, and in 1989 he released "The Killer," which drew the attention of U.S. filmmakers and helped him make the jump to Hollywood.

He moved there in 1993, and directed Jean-Claude Van Damme in "Hard Target" the same year.

Three years later he made "Broken Arrow" starring John Travolta, and teamed up with the actor again in 1997 in "Face/Off," a financial and critical hit.

In 2000, Woo directed Tom Cruise in "Mission: Impossible II," which was the world's biggest earner that year, but his next two U.S. projects failed to match that success.

He has since returned to China to direct.

"Since I'd been working in Hollywood for over 16 years and learned a lot ... I think it is about time to bring what I have learned in Hollywood into Asia," Woo told reporters in Venice.   Continued...

<p>Director John Woo poses after he received a Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement during the closing ceremony of the 66th Venice Film Festival September 3, 2010. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi</p>