Closing Remarks

“What?  Creepy, disgusting man” (Nadeki, “Pink Panther”)

Feminist film theory has tended to equate spectatorship with the male gaze and display or performance with the female role.  Conspicuously superior martial arts performance by persons of either sex should, according to this theory of spectatorship, narrow the apparent gendering of roles in these action films by placing both male and female martial artists in the same frame.  Consequently, skilled martial arts performers such as Nadeki Fujimi have an effortlessly androgynous appeal.  It may be that the very conventions of the genre invite androgynous identification to a degree unlike almost any other, and this would certainly be consistent with the traditions of wuxia myth and Chinese Opera.

Perhaps it is a measure of her talent that Nadeki was able to play successfully with the imagery of gendered roles at a time when the graphic nature of the then-dominant Cat. III productions had all but driven other female action performers into retirement or to other countries.  Along with these contemporaries, her physical skills have not subsequently been equaled on screen.  The woman who unleashed such devastating combination kicks in “Killer Angels” and spectacular jumping back-kick in “Crystal Hunt” also carefully set her eyeglasses on the furniture before fighting Ken Lo.  Such a nuance captured the momentary best of her talent and the quixotic appeal of HK action film.