HK Cinema - 1986
It had been a long thirteen years since the wunderkind,
John Woo, signed his contract with Golden Harvest. Nothing had gone according
to plan and there were a few instances in which he considered leaving the
industry. There were also a few times in which the industry wanted little
to do with him. He had directed all types of films. He had directed
musicals (Princess Chang Ping – 1975), comedies (Money Crazy, From Rags
to Riches) that were successful enough for him to be promoted as “The New
King of Comedy”, kung-fu (Last Hurrah for Chivalry, Hand of Death ) and
recently a war film (Heroes Shed No Tears).
There had been some successes, but even more failures.
He had one more card to play and with his friend Tsui Hark went to Karl
Maka for financing. He hired Shaw star Ti Lung who had fallen a bit on
hard times, a TV star that could not make it in films – Chow Yun Fat and
a pop star trying to make a name in the movies– Leslie Cheung. Even with
the obvious influences of Melville (Samurai) and Pekinpah (Wild Bunch)
and his years learning under Chang Cheh, Woo created an original and exciting
style of filming that launched a new HK genre.
Wrought with romantic gunplay and laden with themes
of loyalty and honor, it was a box office hit and revived Woo’s career.
It also made a big star of Chow Yun Fat – even though he was not the main
character in the film. His attitude, his mannerisms, his style caught on
in a big way and he was on his way to becoming the most famous of all HK