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Hong Kong

By medium: Asia - China - East

Hong Kong action cinema

The traditions of Hong Kong action cinema developed starting in the 1970s are the principal source of the Hong Kong film industry's global fame.

Influence in the West
All of these developments not only made Hong Kong the dominant cinema in East Asia, but reawakened Western interest. Jackie Chan and films like Tsui Hark's Peking Opera Blues (1986) were already building a cult following when Woo's The Killer (1989) had a limited but successful release in the U.S. and opened the floodgates. In the 1990s, Westerners with an eye on "alternative" culture became common sights in Chinatown video shops and theaters, and gradually the films became more available in the mainstream video market and even occasionally in mainstream theaters. Western critics and film scholars also began to take Hong Kong action cinema seriously and make many key figures and films part of their canon of world cinema.

From here, Hong Kong came to define a new vocabulary for worldwide action cinema, with the aid of a new generation of North American filmmakers. Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs (1992) drew inspiration from City on Fire and his two-part Kill Bill (2003-04) was in large part a martial arts homage, borrowing Yuen Woo-Ping as fight choreographer and actor. Robert Rodriguez's Desperado (1995) and its 2003 sequel Once Upon a Time in Mexico aped Woo's visual mannerisms. The Wachowski brothers' The Matrix trilogy (1999-2003) borrowed from Woo and wire fu movies and also employed Yuen behind the scenes. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hong_Kong_action_cinema [Dec 2005]

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