The Hunger: vampire film par excellence

When I was doing my Arts degree at the University of New England in the late 80s I, as a shy and wretched country bumpkin, was in thrall to my best friend of the time. Izabella seemed to be sophisticated and exotic – she was Polish, dressed beautifully and came from the big city. With…

Dr Wai in the Scripture with no Words

Dr Wai in the Scripture with no Words is a flawed film but it certainly has its entertaining moments. It could be seen as a Chinese version (or even spoof) of an Indiana Jones type story. I think the Indiana Jones movies are far more disciplined and better crafted but I do prefer Dr Wai…

Great Quote: Dr Wai and the Scripture without Words

A “... theme began to emerge in Li's modern-day films as they become more self-conscious; that of the hero as a fiction or illusion. Major has referred to a 'creeping identity crisis' in Li's later Hong Kong films (2000: 165), filled with secret identities and multiple personalities, even amnesia; Black Mask, the 'King of Adventurers',…

Black Mask: The Action

Choreographer / director Yuen Wu Ping and Jet Li have made several films together. Released in 1996, Black Mask had the most contemporary setting of any film they had made together up to that point in time. In Black Mask, Yuen has not constructed the dancelike choreography on Li that was a defining aesthetic of…

Black Mask – Themes

In my previous blog I discussed how Black Mask referenced several film styles including film noir, cops and robbers action, war films, science fiction, and horror as well as giving a nod in the direction of erotica (while keeping firmly on the right side of a middle of the road film classification all the while).…

The Scavenger Aesthetic at work in Black Mask

“An emphasis on striking moments leads naturally to a scavenger aesthetic.” David Bordwell, commenting on Hong Kong films in Planet Hong Kong, p. 11 I found myself thinking of Bordwell’s quote when I watched Black Mask. I feel that this “scavenger aesthetic” is manifested and actually put to good use by this film’s constant referencing…

Black Mask

I am about to start posting blogs about Black Mask. This film was made in Hong Kong in the 1990s, was directed by Daniel Lee, produced by Tsui Hark (who was one of the writers as well), choreographed by Yuen Wu Ping, and stars Jet Li and Karen Mok. A full cast and crew list…

Wong Jing – you nasty little man…

Or The Depiction of Martial Artists in High Risk. “Cross referencing is a constant in Wong Jing’s scavenger movies. Their in-jokes are too opportunistic to count as homages.” David Bordwell, Planet Hong Kong, P. 175 In his direction of his movies, Wong Jing goes nosing and scurrying after opportunities for gag making like a hungry…

Wong Jing’s High Risk

“They are the ideal example of script-by-brainstorming; each scene is stuffed with gimmicks. The opening is likely to be breathless. Within the first sixty seconds there will be a gag, a chase, or a suspenseful encounter.” David Bordwell, on Wong Jing’s films, Planet Hong Kong, P. 172 And Bordwell is right! The very first scene…