Jacob Gehman’s review published on Letterboxd:
The Killer is a series of really, really awesome scenes, linked by a number of plot points that got lost on me, awkward music, drama, and some numbing action.
But damn, those scenes. The taut tension between cop and assassin, who feel like twins separated at birth. Their standoff in the apartment of the killer's blind girlfriend. The respect shown for each other. It's a buddy cop movie expect one of the two ain't a cop.
While the two leads feel perfect, our femme fatale obviously only exists as a device to lead the narrative. Her semi-blindness is her only notable trait, otherwise she's only defined by how the killer views her. She provides some humor, some beauty, becomes the reason for a lot of decisions, and is supposed to pull our heartstrings, but none of these things are who she is. We never get to know her--we just see her cowering in a corner while bullets splatter about.
That final scene where the blind girlfriend scoots herself off screen--phenomenal. The shootout that precludes it, not so much. In fact, most of the shootouts are fairly routine. It's the one-on-one type of action that really works.
This is obviously a product of the 80s. That grim standard-definition grime that smears every scene. The halo-inducing neons. This, as with every action movie produced in the 80s (and, realistically, the 90s) will never look good (and might be aided by the white-noise flicker of an old, box TV set).
But they make the most of their settings, from the candle-lit church to the trash-caked emergency stairs. Shots are well-composed, locations feel right. It's not a good looking movie, but it's a nice movie to look at.
Still, The Killer succeeds at being an engaging action film. Worth it.