Disciples of Shaolin – Opening Sequence

A common aesthetic device used in kung fu movies of the 70s and 80s was to show the opening credits of the film against footage of the main stars performing displays of martial arts in front of a plain (often boldly coloured) backdrop.* This was often used in films that had, as part of their…

Great Quote No. 10

“(Critic David) Bordwell... points out that the rythmic pulse of Hong Kong action requires stasis as well as movement, with 'lightning switches between quick, precise gestures and punctuating poses' ”. Leon Hunt, Kung Fu Cult Masters, p. 28 Nicely spotted David Bordwell. Unfortunately, I didn't copy down the Bordwell's book that Hunt was referencing, but it…

Great Quote No. 8

“Broadly speaking, there are two ways of looking at the West's 'Asian romance': 'a controlled setting in which to be exposed to and (perhaps) examine certain notions of linguistic, racial and cultural difference' (Fore) or 'a flirtation with the exotic rather than an attempt at any genuine intercultural understanding' (Marchetti). Then again, given kung fu's…

Once Upon A Time In China And America

How do I hate this movie, let me count the ways. This is my least favourite Jet Li movie by a country mile. Everything is wrong with it, from the Worzel Gummidge type hairdo on the actor playing Billy to the nasty synthesized music. “The script, which was written as the film was being shot,…

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).…

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…

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…

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 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…