Hong Kong genre films enjoy enduring popularity with diverse audiences, as evidenced by the fact that retail editions of many titles produced since the mid-1980s have remained in print. Developments in digital media and Internet retailing also contribute to the distribution of an increasingly “intercultural” (Note 1) entertainment form, serving not only the home markets of South China, neighboring Asian states and globally dispersed Chinese-speaking populations, but increasingly also a sub-culture of non-Asian consumers. Serendipity has also played a part. Pre-1997 British administrative regulations imposed relatively uniform requirements for English subtitling on HK cinematic products, rendering them accessible to English-speaking viewers. Additionally, the 1997 transfer of administrative responsibility for HK to China precipitated an appreciable migration of industry talent – especially to the United States – bringing auteurs and actors to the attention of new audiences.
1. See Susan Napier’s discussion of anime and
global cultural identity for a consideration of borrowing of popular culture
texts. Susan Napier, Anime from Akira to Princess Mononoke:
Experiencing Contemporary Japanese Animation. New York: Palgrave,
2001, pp. 22 – 27.
2. David Bordwell, Planet Hong Kong: Popular Cinema and the Art of Entertainment. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2000, pp. 161 – 170, pp. 210 – 217.
3. Bordwell, op. cit., pp. 191 – 196.
4. Bordwell, op. cit., pp. 156 – 160.
5. See Bordwell, op. cit., pp. 194 – 196 for a discussion of revenge plots.
6. For a discussion of postmodernism in HK cinema, see Stephen Tao, Hong Kong Cinema: The Extra Dimensions. London: British Film Institute, 1997, pp. 243 – 255.
7. Bordwell, op. cit.
8. Frederic Dannen & Barry Long, Hong Kong Babylon: An Insider’s Guide to the Hollywood of the East. New York: Miramax, 1997.
9. Lisa Oldham Stokes & Michael Hoover, City on Fire: Hong Kong Cinema. London: Verso, 1999.
10. Rick Baker & Toby Russell, The Essential Guide to Hong Kong Movies. London: Eastern Heroes, 1994. Thomas Weisser, Asian Cult Cinema. New York: Boulevard Books, 1997. Paul Fonoroff, At the Hong Kong Movies: 600 Reviews from 1988 till the Handover. Hong Kong: Film Biweekly Publishing House, 1998. John Charles, The Hong Kong Filmography, 1977 – 1997: A Complete Reference to 1,100 Films Produced by British Hong Kong Studios. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, 2000.
11. Bey Logan, Hong Kong Action Cinema. Woodstock: The Overlook Press, 1996. Stefan Hammond & Mike Williams, Sex and Zen and a Bullet in the Head: The Essential Guide to Hong Kong’s Mind-Bending Films. New York: Fireside, 1996. Stefan Hammond, Hollywood East: Hong Kong Movies and the People Who Make Them. Chicago: Contemporary Books, 2000.
12. See Bordwell, op. cit., pp. 149 – 156 for a discussion of genre in HK films and, for a broader overview of genre, Jane Feuer, “Genre study and television.” In, Robert Allen (Ed.), Channels of Discourse, Reassembled. London: Routledge, 1992, pp. 138 - 160.
13. Bordwell, op. cit., pp. 19 – 25 argues that the HK film “Gun Men” (1988) was directly inspired by De Palma’s “The Untouchables.” “First Shot” (1993) is another HK film reportedly modeled on this title (Weisser, op. cit., p. 75).
14. According to Weisser, op. cit., p. 51, “Deadly Angels” (1984) was the first of a style of HK contemporary female action films that has since been referred to as “Girls With Guns” (GWG) in English language fan writing. A similar case could be made for “Girl with a Gun” (1984) that appears directly inspired by the American revenge film “Ms. 45.” Accordingly, the fusion of camp with viciousness that that seems to define GWG might plausibly be traced to “Charlie’s Angels” and “Ms. 45,” respectively. The principal performers in GWG films and their associated filmographies are reviewed in Rick Baker & Toby Russell, The Essential Guide to Deadly China Dolls. London: Eastern Heroes, 1996.
15. See Wendy Arons, “If her stunning beauty doesn’t bring you to your knees, her deadly drop kick will.” In, Martha McCaughey & Neal King (Eds.), Reel Knockouts: Violent Women in the Movies. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2001, pp. 27 – 51.
16. For an overview of narrative theory, see Sarah Kozloff, “Narrative theory and television.” In, Allen, op. cit., pp. 67 – 100.