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…

A brief blog about the fight with the garbage truck in My Father is a Hero

“(Geoffrey) Nowell-Smith suggests that repressed emotions erupt in moments of high tension or drama and manifest themselves as symptoms through performance, music and mise-en-sce`ne and it is at such points of heightened emotion that the characteristic excesses of the melodrama manifest themselves.” (Shingler and Mercer, Melodrama, pp. 22-23) As discussed in my blog on melodrama and…

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…