Getting to know you: introductory fights in My Father is a Hero

Last night I watched The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires. A collaboration between Shaw Brothers and Hammer studios, this production is an odd blend of eastern and western themes and talents. It stars David Chiang and Peter Cushing, and the plot revolves around Dracula taking the form of a corrupt Chinese mystic and decamping…

Great Quote No. 5

David West writing on Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon in Chasing Dragons: An Introduction to the Martial Arts Film: “To describe the film as transcending categorisation, as Kenneth Turan did in the LA Times, is nonsensical. It is generic in the pejorative sense... To describe the film as 'a new Asian Western' reflects a cultural snobbery…

My Father is a Hero: The Opening Scenes

My Father is a Hero begins with its opening credits being intercut with footage showing a large squad of impressively drilled children, who include one of the main characters Siu Ku (played by Xie Mao), doing a wu shu routine. By doing this director Corey Yuen has established this film’s martial arts credentials right from…

Great Quote Number 5

“American film makers have gotten to the point where they create their fights in the editing room. Those types of sequences are just designed for a visceral, flash-cut impact, and the audience’s brains are never really engaged… Hong Kong action directors actually bring narrative arcs into the fights, and tell a little story within the…

Great Quote No. 4

On Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: “One of the few critics to break ranks was Amy Taubin in the Village Voice, who, unlike her contemporaries, came to the film well versed in Hong Kong cinema, and she found the movie wanting. 'A rare blend of low and high art, Wong Kar-Wai's Ashes of Time radicalises the…

Great Quote No. 3

“This convention (cross dressing performers) can be traced back to 'Come Drink with Me', and it reflects a Peking Opera sensibility, wherein men played female roles and the audience was expected to accept their impersonation without question” David West, p 118, 'Chasing Dragons: An Introduction to the Martial Arts Film' I am still plugging away…

Great quote no. 2

“The visual device of the hero stabbed in the gut who binds up his wound to fight on recurs throughout Chang’s work.” David West, p 106, 'Chasing Dragons: An Introduction to the Martial Arts Film' The Chang referred to here is, of course, Chang Cheh. I have a couple of spare hours this morning which…