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Hong Kong Action Cinema Paperback – May 1, 1996
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This is the most colorful and entertaining history of Hong Kong action cinema available. Bey Logan traces the genre from its genesis in the late 1940s until the 1990s, enhancing his story with biographies, select filmographies, and 10-best lists. Though Logan focuses on superstars such as Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, and John Woo, he also takes time to describe how Hong Kong action cinema blends with other genres. He devotes chapters of his book to Hong Kong comedy, horror, and fantasy as well as to the series of action films that feature female protagonists. Logan concludes the book by looking toward the future of this cinema and the "New Dragons Rising" who could be its next stars.
From Publishers Weekly
Followers of Hong Kong films know what action really is. The balletic, often violent, frequently absurd but always imaginative and entertaining cinematic output of that tiny island is leaping and chopping its way into the West, and Logan's book does an excellent job of clueing new followers into what's what and who's who in the Hong Kong action scene. Many of the top chop-socky stars, such as Jackie Chan, come from the rigorous classical training of Peking Opera, where actors are required not only to sing but also to tumble, dance and fight with traditional weapons. Logan shows how the popular story of 19th-century martial-arts hero Wong Fei Hung was blended with equally popular Peking Opera action to launch a new movie style in the late 1940s and how that style has exploded since then. Although most of the Hong King films shown in the U.S. are police action flicks, some of the nuttiest are the ghost stories and fantastical-historical reenactments of events from the semi-legendary past, many of which are given their due here. Author Bey (who has appeared in a number of Hong Kong films and is the editor of Combat magazine) covers the leading actors, the fighting females (who are rarely just romantic interests) and the transition that directors such as John Woo and Tsui Hark are making to Western studios?where many of the stunts copied from their films preceded them. For the reader just discovering Hong Kong cinema, this book is an excellent guide. For the old hand, it offers juicy tidbits on the past and present of this exciting and increasingly popular genre.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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You won't necessarily filmmaking skills, but you gain an appreciation for the history of HK cinema. It's a very easy to read book and fairly short.
The book doesn't capture the wealth of information and humor that he showcases on his audio commentaries for D.V.D.s (such as The Fist of Fury and the Celestial releases). A world a difference compared to the crappy books that have been released about the same subject matter (i.e. Asian Cult Cinema). I would also grab a copy of Hong Kong Babylon as a supplement.
If you're looking into this genre, I would strongly recommend this book.
My only complaint is not enough space devoted to the Shaw Brothers - entire chapters on Bruce Lee (yawn...),Jackie Chan,Sammo Hung,etc.. Otherwise,worth your time
PS. Don't miss his commentary tracks on all of the Dragon Dynasty DVDs--they are fantastic!