Heroic bloodshed

Heroic bloodshed is a genre invented by Hong Kong action cinema and crime film revolving around stylized action sequences and dramatic themes such as brotherhood, duty, honour, redemption and violence that has become a popular genre used by different directors worldwide.[1][2] The term heroic bloodshed was coined by editor Rick Baker in the magazine Eastern Heroes[3] in the late 1980s, specifically referring to the styles of directors John Woo and Ringo Lam. Baker defined the genre as "a Hong Kong action film that features a lot of gun play and gangsters rather than kung fu. Lots of blood. Lots of action."[4] Woo's breakthrough film A Better Tomorrow (1986) largely set the template for the genre.[5] Woo has also been a major influence in its continued popularity and evolution in his following works, namely A Better Tomorrow 2 (1987), The Killer (1989) and Hard Boiled (1992).[6]

The heroic bloodshed genre had a considerable impact on world cinema, including Hollywood, in the 1990s.[7] Woo introduced his brand of heroic bloodshed to Hollywood in the 1990s.[8] Lam's City on Fire (1987) inspired Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs (1992);[9] Tarantino was an admirer of the heroic bloodshed genre.[10] The Killer also heavily influenced Luc Besson’s Léon: The Professional (1994).[7]

Motifs

Protagonists in these films are often good-willed criminals, typically Triad members, hit men, or thieves with a strict code of ethics, which in some cases leads to the betrayal of their employers and the saving of many intended victims. The police officer with a conscience, who cannot be corrupted in any way, is also common, and is usually modeled after the hardboiled detective. Loyalty, family and brotherhood are the most typical themes of the genre. Heroic bloodshed films generally have a strong emotional angle, not only between, but during action sequences.

Pistols and submachine guns are frequently utilized by the heroes due to the light weight they provide, enabling their wielders to move more quickly. They are frequently dual wielded. The heroes are extremely agile and implement rolls, dives, slides, and falls while they duel, making for a graceful, ballet-like performance in the midst of gunfire.

Heroic bloodshed films often end on a downbeat or tragic note with the main heroes either dead, arrested by the police, or severely incapacitated.

Selected Heroic bloodshed films

See also

References

  1. ^ Fitzgerald, Martin (2000). Hong Kong's Heroic Bloodshed. Pocket Essentials. ISBN 1-903047-07-2.
  2. ^ Davies, Steven Paul (2001). A-Z of Cult Films and Film-Makers. Batsford. p. 26. ISBN 0-7134-8704-6.
  3. ^ Logan, Bey (1996). Hong Kong Action Cinema. Overlook Press. p. 191. ISBN 0-87951-663-1.
  4. ^ Stokes, Lisa Odham; Michael Hoover (1999). City on Fire: Hong Kong Cinema. Verso. p. 333. ISBN 1-85984-716-1.
  5. ^ Morton, Lisa (2001). The Cinema of Tsui Hark. McFarland. ISBN 0-7864-0990-8.
  6. ^ Morton, Lisa (2001). The Cinema of Tsui Hark. McFarland. p. 62. ISBN 0-7864-0990-8.
  7. ^ a b Volodzko, David (13 June 2015). "30 Years Later, This Chinese Film Still Echoes in Hollywood". The Diplomat.
  8. ^ Fang, Karen (2004). John Woo's A Better Tomorrow: Autobiographical Stories by Modern Chinese Women Writers. Hong Kong University Press. p. 85. ISBN 9789622096523.
  9. ^ Spicer, Andrew (2010). Historical Dictionary of Film Noir. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 9780810873780.
  10. ^ Ingham, Michael (2009). Johnnie To Kei-Fung's PTU. Hong Kong University Press. p. 115. ISBN 9789622099197.
  11. ^ Banker, Ashok (2002). Bollywood. Penguin Group. p. 83.

External links

A Better Tomorrow

A Better Tomorrow (Chinese: 英雄本色; Jyutping: Jing1 hung4 bun2 sik1; literally: 'True Colors of a Hero') is a 1986 Hong Kong action film directed by John Woo, and starring Ti Lung, Leslie Cheung and Chow Yun-fat. The film had a profound influence on the Hong Kong film industry, and later on an international scale. It was a landmark film, credited with setting the template for the heroic bloodshed genre, which was considerably influential in Hong Kong action cinema, and later Hollywood.Although it was produced with a tight budget, and was relatively unknown until it went on screen (due to virtually no advertising), it broke Hong Kong's box office record and went on to become a blockbuster in Asia. It is highly regarded, ranking #2 in the Best 100 Chinese Motion Pictures. Its success also ensured the sequel A Better Tomorrow II, also directed by Woo, and A Better Tomorrow 3: Love & Death in Saigon, a prequel directed by Tsui Hark.

Although Ti Lung was the film's lead actor, co-star Chow Yun-fat's breakout performance outshined him, solidifying the latter's status as one of the top superstars in the Hong Kong film industry. Chow's character "Mark Gor" was imitated by many fans even decades after the film's release.

A Hero Never Dies

A Hero Never Dies (Chinese: 真心英雄; pinyin: Zhen xin ying xiong; Cantonese Yale: Chan sam ying hung; literal title: True Heart Hero) is a 1998 Hong Kong action crime drama, and the first Milkyway Image film to be directed by Johnnie To.

Starring Leon Lai and Lau Ching-wan, A Hero Never Dies is a heroic bloodshed tale centering on the friendship and rivalry of two Triads in the midst of a gang war. The film has often been compared to the 1986 Hong Kong film A Better Tomorrow as both men wind up being betrayed by their bosses.

Annavaram (film)

Annavaram is a 2006 Indian Telugu-language action film directed by Bhimaneni Srinivasa Rao (of Suswagatham fame), and starring Pawan Kalyan, Asin, and Sandhya. Mega Supergood Films produced the film. The film is a remake of Tamil blockbuster film Thirupaachi directed by Perarasu starring Vijay in the lead role. The film released on 29 December 2006. The soundtrack of the film, released on 14 December 2006. The film was later dubbed into Hindi as Mere Badle Ki Aag in 2008.

Bangkok Dangerous (1999 film)

Bangkok Dangerous (Thai: บางกอกแดนเจอรัส เพชฌฆาตเงียบ อันตราย) is a 1999 Thai crime film written and directed by the Pang Brothers. Stylishly edited, the story of a deaf and mute hitman was the debut film for the twin-brother team of filmmakers. A 2008 remake of the same name also directed by the Pangs, stars Nicolas Cage. This film was also unofficially remade as Pattiyal a 2006 Indian Tamil movie.

Breaking News (2004 film)

Breaking News (Chinese: 大事件) is a 2004 Hong Kong action film produced and directed by Johnnie To, and starring Richie Jen, Kelly Chen, Nick Cheung, Eddie Cheung, Simon Yam and Maggie Shiu. The film premiered out of competition at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival.

Crime film

Crime films, in the broadest sense, are a cinematic genre inspired by and analogous to the crime fiction literary genre. Films of this genre generally involve various aspects of crime and its detection. Stylistically, the genre may overlap and combine with many other genres, such as drama or gangster film, but also include comedy, and, in turn, is divided into many sub-genres, such as mystery, suspense or noir.

Crows Zero 2

Crows Zero 2 (クローズZERO II, Kurōzu Zero 2) is a 2009 Japanese action film directed by Takashi Miike with a screenplay by Shogo Muto. It is the second film based on the manga Crows by Hiroshi Takahashi, and a direct sequel to 2007's Crows Zero. The film stars much of the cast from the first film, including Shun Oguri, Kyōsuke Yabe, Meisa Kuroki, and Takayuki Yamada reprising their roles. It was released in Japan on April 11, 2009.

Expect the Unexpected (film)

Expect the Unexpected (Chinese: 非常突然) is a 1998 Hong Kong action film directed by Patrick Yau and starring Lau Ching-wan and Simon Yam.

Fulltime Killer

Fulltime Killer (Chinese: 全职杀手) is a 2001 Hong Kong action film produced and directed by Johnnie To, and also written, produced and directed by Wai Ka-fai, and also produced by and starring Andy Lau. The film was released in the Hong Kong on 3 August 2001.

The film is based on Pang Ho-cheung's novel of the same name. It is informally known by Hong Kong English title You & I.

Gun fu

Gun fu, a portmanteau of gun and kung fu (also known as gun kata, bullet ballet and gymnastic gunplay), is a fictional style of sophisticated close-quarters Gunfight resembling a martial arts battle played out with firearms instead of traditional weapons. It can be seen in Hong Kong action cinema and in American films influenced by it.

The focus of gun fu is both style and the usage of firearms in ways that they were not designed to be used. Shooting a gun from each hand (usually paired with jumping to the side at the same time), shots from behind the back, as well as the use of guns as melee weapons are all common. Other moves can involve shotguns, submachine guns, rocket launchers, and just about anything else that can be worked into a cinematic shot. It is often mixed with hand-to-hand combat maneuvers.

Gun fu has become a staple factor in modern action films due to its visually appealing nature (regardless of its actual practicality in a real-life combat situation). This is a contrast to American action movies of the 1980s which focused more on heavy weaponry and outright brute-force in firearm-based combat.

Natural City

Natural City (Hangul: 내츄럴 시티) is a 2003 South Korean science fiction film about a colony world that integrates robots, androids and cyborgs amongst the population.

PTU (film)

PTU, also known as PTU: Police Tactical Unit, is a 2003 Hong Kong crime thriller film produced and directed by Johnnie To, starring Simon Yam, Maggie Shiu, Lam Suet and Ruby Wong.

Takers

Takers (formerly known as Bone Deep) is a 2010 American action crime thriller film directed by John Luessenhop from a story and screenplay written by Luessenhop, Gabriel Casseus, Peter Allen, John Rogers, and Avery Duff. It features Matt Dillon, Paul Walker, Idris Elba, Jay Hernandez, Michael Ealy, T.I., Chris Brown, Hayden Christensen and Zoe Saldana. The film was released on August 27, 2010.The film follows a group of professional bank robbers (Ealy, Brown, Christensen, Walker and Elba) who specialize in spectacular robberies, as they are pulled into one last job by a recently paroled cohort (T.I.) only to be pitted against a hard-boiled detective (Dillon) and his partner (Hernandez) who interrupt their heist.

The Anonymous Heroes

The Anonymous Heroes or Wu ming ying xiong is a 1971 Hong Kong Shaw Brothers action-comedy film directed by Chang Cheh.

The Big Heat (1988 film)

The Big Heat (城市特警) is a 1988 Hong Kong action film starring Waise Lee and Joey Wong

The Mission (1999 film)

The Mission (Chinese: 鎗火, jyutping: Coeng1 Fo2, lit. The Gunfire) is a 1999 Hong Kong crime film produced and directed Johnnie To, and starring Anthony Wong, Francis Ng, Jackie Lui, Lam Suet, and Simon Yam.

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