Heroic bloodshed

Heroic bloodshed

Heroic Bloodshed is a genre of Hong Kong action cinema revolving around stylized action sequences and dramatic themes such as brotherhood, duty, honour, redemption and violence. [cite book |title=Hong Kong's Heroic Bloodshed |url=http://books.google.com/books?id=XpAIAAAACAAJ|last=Fitzgerald|first=Martin|year=2000 |publisher=Pocket Essentials |isbn=1903047072] [cite book |title=A-Z of Cult Films and Film-Makers |last=Davies |first=Steven Paul |authorlink= |coauthors= |year=2001 |publisher=Batsford |location= |isbn=0713487046 |pages=26 ] The term "heroic bloodshed" was coined by editor Rick Baker in the magazine "Eastern Heroes" [cite book |title=Hong Kong Action Cinema |last=Logan |first=Bey |authorlink= |coauthors= |year=1996 |publisher=Overlook Press |location= |isbn=0879516631 |pages=191 ] 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." [cite book |title=City on Fire: Hong Kong Cinema |last=Stokes |first=Lisa Odham |authorlink= |coauthors=Michael Hoover |url=http://books.google.com/books?id=3AGX0YSmaYYC&pg=PA333&dq=Heroic+bloodshed+Rick+Baker&sig=IeVraJZur-QUtlT6HnmVi3pjTwk |year=1999 |publisher=Verso |location= |isbn=1859847161 |pages=333 ] Woo's film "A Better Tomorrow" was said to have started the "heroic bloodshed" genre. Woo has also been a major influence in its continued popularity and evolution his later works, namely "Hard Boiled", "A Better Tomorrow 2", and "The Killer". [cite book |last=Morton |first=Lisa |authorlink= |coauthors= |editor= |others= |title=The Cinema of Tsui Hark |origdate= |origyear= |origmonth= |url=http://books.google.com/books?id=Hv3yJ6MaoYsC&pg=PA62&dq=%22Heroic+bloodshed%22&lr=&sig=nKQ_JxguO8LMHt24iWkHuMAPhCs#PPA62,M1 |format= |accessdate= |accessyear= |accessmonth= |edition= |series= |date= |year=2001 |month= |publisher=McFarland |location= |language= |isbn=0786409908 |oclc= |doi= |id= |pages=62 |chapter= |chapterurl= |quote= ]


*Protagonists in these films are usually good-willed assassins with a strict code of ethics, which in some cases lead to the assassins' betrayal of their employer and savior to many of the intended victims, or police officers with a conscience, who cannot be corrupted in any way and usually modeled after the Hard Boiled Detective.
*Pistols and submachine guns are frequently utilized by the heroes due to the light weight they provide, enabling their wielders to move quicker. They are frequently held akimbo.
*"Mooks" are extremely minor characters, usually bad guys, who are killed very easily. They are terrible shots and exist only to increase the hero's kill count. Mooks use the most varied weaponry, ranging from knives and rocket launchers to even motorcycles.
*The heroes in these movies are extremely agile and implement all sorts of cartwheels, wall-runs, rolls, dives, slides, flips, and falls while they duel, making for a graceful, ballet-like performance in the midst of gunfire.
*Despite facing seemingly impossible odds and enduring immense bloodshed, the hero cannot be killed until he "rights the wrong".
*Heroic bloodshed films generally end on a downbeat and tragic note with the main heroes either dead, arrested by the police, or severely incapacitated.
*Protagonists will sometimes fight back-to-back during gun battles.
*Heroic Bloodshed films generally have strong emotional scenes to compliment the action sequences.


As John Woo embraced the American market, several movies were made in this style. He first directed Broken Arrow a minor actioneer which garnered positive attention, then he created "Face/Off", a John Travolta/Nicolas Cage movie that received very positive reviews. Woo also directed ', the sequel to Brian DePalma's '. Many denounce Woo's American films (with the possible exception of Face/Off) as inferior to those made in Hong Kong, possibly due to restraints on his direction and choreography.

Examples of Heroic Bloodshed films

* "A Better Tomorrow" (1986)
* "Legacy of Rage" (1986)
* "A Better Tomorrow II" (1987)
* "City on Fire" (1987)
* "The Killer" (1989)
* "Bullet in the Head" (1990)
* "Once a Thief" (1991)
* "Hard Boiled" (1992)
* "Full Contact" (1993)
* "Return to a Better Tomorrow" (1994)
* "Peace Hotel" (1995)
* "A Hero Never Dies" (1998)
* "Fulltime Killer" (2001)
* "A War Named Desire" (2000)
* "Exiled" (2006)

ee also

* Cinema of Hong Kong
* Gun fu
* Girls with guns


External links

* [http://www.mediacircus.net/johnwoo.html The Art of Heroic Bloodshed]

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