Cinema and Nation: Hong Kong
Cinema and Nation: Hong Kong
Gunplay, ghosts, melodrama and swordplay relate to Hong Kong cinema. According to Lori, exaggerated drama, fighting with guns and swords with a bent for the paranormal, spirits of the dead intimates, ghosts and vampires, are the basic ingredients of Hong Kong films. This has been the common trend for the last 20 years since Hong Kong joined the film industry. On numerous occasions, they have been termed as sentimental, bloody, bizarre, rip-roaring and at the same time joyous. Hong Kong film’s audacity, emotions and slickness, have enabled it to win audiences across the globe. Their artistic and appealing nature is one of Hong Kong’s contributions to worldwide culture. John Woo’s, The Killer is a perfect example of a Hong Kong movies since it contains all aspects that pertain to that genre.
The Killer is a 1989 heroic bloodshed archetypal Hong Kong film directed and written by John Woo. Bogged down with its knotty commencements, Hong Kong movies often involve the introduction of guns into the martial arts dome. Starring Chow Yun-Fat as the assassin Ah Jong, Sally Yeh as Jeannnie and Danny Lee, the film introduces the audience with a mind-blowing scene where Ah Jong, the assassin, unintentionally damages the eyes of Jeannie, the singer, at some point in a shootout. This scene outlines the first ingredient in Hong Kong films where it must entail some gun action. After the incidence, Ah Jong begins to spend more time at the club watching the woman he blinded sing. Eventually, they fall in love during his frequent escorts to her apartment. Furthermore, the movie involves three other gunplays before it ends. Jeannie’s home, Tsang, the assistant detective’s home, and the church, are other places where there was an ambush. This clearly classifies the movie as an action film, which closely relates The Killer as a Hong Kong movie (Kar and Bren 48).
The sentimental film then unfolds to yet another scene involving fighting when thugs attack Sally Yeh and her shooter saves her. In Chow’s venture to have Jong killed, he decides to form alliances with a disillusioned police officer, Mr. Lee Danny. The bond developed between the two men is so intense with emotions that result in terming the film as homoerotic. The feelings involved between the two men spice up the content of the film making it highly appealing to the audience (Woo and Elder 25). The involvement of love and war creates outrageous entertainment to the viewers through the artistic way with which the two themes intertwine. This ingredient used by Woo spiced up the storyline, thereby attracting more audience than expected.
The slickness appeal of emotions in the film distinctively classifies it as a Hong Kong movie. Consensus highlights John Woo’s movie as one of the greatest action films ever anticipated in the world with Hong Kong as its origin. The film displays dynamic strokes with a passion of Greek tragedy that filters through the brashness of broad Hollywood gangster pictures intro making a good comic book. A combination of action, comedy and love, which views in comic books, characterizes it as a Hong Kong film. It has an added taste of compassion, loyalty, honor and goodwill. Jong continuously works for his master without question hence, showing his loyalty towards him. He also honors his word in a bid to help Jeannie regain her sight when he accepts to do one final job. He also offers his eyes to Jeannie when he knew that he was going to die. This displays high levels of honor and goodwill. These concepts often relate to Hong Kong movies on numerous occasions.
Additionally, the film is delightfully and richly artful. It has a well laid out plot that has won it audiences throughout the world. The fact that a woman falls in love with the man responsible for her blindness, displays remarkable inventiveness. This is heightened by the fact that the assassin decides to do yet another job in order to help save the woman’s eyes. However, in his quest to find more money, his boss, the Triad leader, Hay Wong Woi, double-crosses him and sends a group of armed men to kill him. Eventually, all the triad men died as Ah Jong succumbs to the same injury that he had inflicted on Jennie. Woo’s witty contradiction of events shows the artistic nature of his work.
Furthermore, Woo brings about division between the honor-bound samurais despite the existence of separation between them and the long arm of the law. The police detective, Ying Li, agrees to form an alliance with the Triad leader, Wong. This alliance is because both parties had similar interests. In yet another scene, Jong befriends the sergeant, who in turn helps him with firearms to finish off the gunmen. Woo’s artisanship in writing his play is evident in both occasions and it has also helped him in developing the storyline.
The film also displays other artistic aspects such as the use of irony. Ah Jong works for a Triad gang that involves ending the lives of people through shootings. Contrary to the audience’s expectations, Jong is a loving man who displays feelings of guilt, empathy, tenderness and sympathy towards Jeannie. He even offers to carry out yet another crime to raise enough money for the corneal transplant, and when he is defeated, he offers his eyes to Jeannie. Moreover, he offers help to the young boy who falls victim to a stray bullet. Suspenseful scenes are evident in the movie such as when the assassin offers to take the injured boy to the hospital amidst the shout out in Jeannie’s apartment. Despite the audiences’ expectations, the Triad leader and the detective form an alliance. This is similar to the friendship between the sergeant and Jong. Thus, the situation is artistic in this movie, which qualifies it as a Hong Kong movie.
Since its production dates back to decades ago, The Killer forms part of history of cinema today. Many people in the modern society may view cinema as a simple type of entertainment. Nonetheless, it is more than just an entertainment. Cinema is a form of expression that is very different from the others (Wong 190). It is a good form of culture reflection. Often, the art of cinema imitates the lives of the nations it originates from and their people. In Woo’s film, there is the use of guns, melodrama and action. These aspects are associated with Hong Kong movies.
In conclusion, one has to consider numerous points before classifying a movie to a certain nation. In the case of Hong Kong films, the movies exhibit a high level of action on numerous scenes. The film should also involve a lot of blood shedding scenes, martial arts or gunfights. Additionally, it should show some artistic aspects throughout its plot. The displayed scenes should relate to the Hong Kong culture such as excellent martial arts. Therefore, Woo’s film is an example of a Hong Kong film.
Lori, R. Building a Hong Kong martial arts film collection. Collection Building, 23, 1, 24-33. 2004. Print.
The Killer. Dir. Woo John. Perf. Chow Yun-Fat, Danny Lee, and Sally Yeh. Hong Kong Films, 1989. Film.
Kar, Law, and Frank Bren. Hong Kong Cinema: A Cross-Cultural View. Lanham, Md: Marchetti, Gina, and Kam T. See. Hong Kong Film, Hollywood and the New Global Cinema: No Film Is an Island. London: Routledge, 2007. Scarecrow Press, 2004. Print.
Woo, John, and Robert K. Elder. John Woo: Interviews. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2005. Print.
Wong, Cindy H. Film Festivals: Culture, People, and Power on the Global Screen. Piscataway: Rutgers University Press, 2011. Print.
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