Hong Kong’s Most Famous Export


Hong Kong’s film industry started to produce martial arts movies as early as the 1938s, when the Cantonese language film “The Adorned Pavillion” included the martial art of wuxia, which emphasizes chivalrous and philosophical engagement. By the 1970s a Mandarin-based, grittier and more visually dramatic form of “kung fu” replaced it, and with it came astounding global popularity. In 1973 young martial arts movie star Bruce Lee electrified audiences with Enter the Dragon, which was the first ever English language, US-Hong Kong production. (Lee died soon thereafter, unexpectedly and mysteriously.) Multiply talented Jackie Chan (“actor, action choreographer, filmmaker, comedian, director, producer, martial artist, screenwriter, entrepreneur, singer and stunt performer,” says the entry about Chan on Wikipedia) became the next huge Hong Kong kung fu movie star, blending martial arts and comedic timing. Chan’s Hong Kong movies were usually joyful and engaging, toying with the camp that had defined the genre, such as the overused device of the star of the film fending off numerous attackers who come at him one by one. In 2000 Hong Kong (well, actually Taiwan) cinema soared back toward wuxia with Ang Lee’s elegant Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. Is the scene in this video from Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon the best fight scene ever?

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