Notes

1. Yeoh has also been known and billed as Michelle Khan. The roster of Hong Kong actors is a notorious confusion of names, because many actors go by different names in different markets (or adopt a "more marketable"—i.e., anglicized—name when they become better known). In all cases, I give the name by which actors would be most familiar to a U.S. audience, and give alternatives in the notes where appropriate.

2. I draw this particular formulation from Elizabeth Bronfen, "The Jew as Woman's Symptom: Kathryn Bigelow's Conflictive Representation of Feminine Power," in Violence and Mediation in Contemporary Culture, ed. Ronald Bogue and Marcel Cornis-Pope (New York: State University of New York Press, 1996), 73. Bronfen's investigation of a conflicted representation of violence and female desire in Kathryn Bigelow's film Blue Steel raises similar issues to the ones I investigate here, although she takes a very different theoretical approach.

3. Bey Logan, Hong Kong Action Cinema (Woodstock, N.Y.: Overlook Press, 1995), 149.

4. By "readily available" I mean obtainable at a video store in a relatively large urban market. Many of the films I viewed were quite difficult to track down. As a result, I have tried to focus the bulk of my analysis on those that were easiest to find.

5. E. Ann Kaplan, "Problematizing Cross-Cultural Analysis: The Case of Women in the Recent Chinese Cinema," Wide Angle 11, no. 2 (1993): 42.

7. Chris Berry, "China's New 'Women's Cinema,'" Camera Obscura: A Journal of Feminism and Film Theory 18 (1988): 9.

8. I paraphrase Kaplan here, who writes that Chinese scholars often complain when reading Western scholarship: "This is not the Chinese way of thinking" ("Problematizing Cross-Cultural Analysis," 41).

9. Stuart Kaminsky makes a similar observation and argues that the kung fu film fulfills a function for a ghetto audience analogous to the function of the musical for the white middle-class audience. See Stuart M. Kaminsky, "Kung Fu Film as Ghetto Myth," in Movies as Artifacts, ed. Michael T. Marsden, John G. Nachbar, and Sam L. Grogg Jr. (Chicago: Nelson-Hall, 1982), 137-45.

10. Tony Rayns, "Director: King Hu," Sight and Sound 45, no. 1 (winter 1975-76): 11.

11. Lisa Odham Stokes and Michael Hoover note the difference between violence in a typical Jackie Chan kung fu film and a Stephen Seagal Hollywood action film: "While the characters in a Chan fight rarely suffer serious injuries (in fact, there is often an absence of any blood), the physical punishment in a Seagal picture is graphically depicted and death is not an uncommon result. The lat-ter's 'reel' fights are staged and shot to look and feel like 'real' fights, generally incorporating only a few moves into the filmed sequences. Jackie Chan's fight scenes, on the other hand, may integrate between twenty and thirty individual motions into a scene." See City on Fire: Hong Kong Cinema (New York: Verso, 1999), 122.

12. I advance that last generalization with some trepidation, because there are enough exceptional scenes of sadism, torture, and cruelty in any random sampling of kung fu films to render it untrue; my point is, however, that on the whole, the kung fu film frames violence in a way that is qualitatively very different from a film like Scorsese's Casino, which aims at a hypersensitive depiction of violence.

13. Logan, Hong Kong Action Cinema, 19, 96.

15. Yukari Oshima has also been given the stage name "Cynthia Luster" (!).

16. In addition, the fact that the narrative centers exclusively on a woman and deals with a woman's dilemma is in itself significant; Yeoh claims that her work on films like Wing Chun has "opened the door for many other actresses to do action in Hong Kong." Stokes and Hoover, City on Fire, io6 -7.

17. Chiao Hsiung-Ping, "The Distinct Taiwanese and Hong Kong Cinemas," in Perspectives on Chinese Cinema, ed. Chris Berry (London: British Film Institute, 1991), 161.

18. Leo Ou-Fan Lee notes that "the talent of Hong Kong's 'postmodern' filmmakers lies perhaps in their seemingly effortless probing and public representation (in the form of a commercial product) of the collective 'political unconscious' of the average Hong Kong resident and filmgoer." "Two Films from Hong Kong: Parody and Allegory," in New Chinese Cinemas: Forms, Identities, Politics, ed. Nick Browne, Paul Pickowicz, Vivian Sobchack, and Esther Yau (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994), 213.

19. For another reading of how the representation of masculinity in Hong Kong action films is tied to anxieties about reversion, see Julian Stringer, "'Your Tender Smiles Give Me Strength': Paradigms of Masculinity in John Woo's A Better Tomorrow and The Killer" Screen 38, no. 1 (spring 1997): 25-41. Stokes and Hoover's City on Fire also contextualizes the Hong Kong film industry in terms of i997.

20. Elizabeth Bronfen, "The Jew as Woman's Symptom: Kathryn Bigelow's Conflictive Representation of Feminine Power," in Violence and Mediation in Contemporary Culture, ed. Ronald Bogue and Marcel Cornis-Pope (New York: State University of New York Press, 1996), 92.

21. Natalie Chan Sui Hung, "The Transformation of Gender in The Swordsman II and The East Is Red" (Department of Literature, University of California, San Diego, i995), i.

22. Stephen Teo notes that the character of Asia is "a new type of hero/heroine, a gender-bending character so malleable that he or she bends not only genders, but all character types: Asia is a vil-lainess, a romantic protagonist, and ultimately a character who wins the sympathy of the hero—and the audience." See Hong Kong Cinema: The Extra Dimensions (London: British Film Institute, 1997), 201. Teo links Hark's "gender-bending" to a trend toward "postmodernism" in Hong Kong films that propose "that ancient China had more liberal views toward sexuality" and suggest "that values or attitudes to be achieved in fact stem from somewhere in the very distant past" (25i).

23- Stokes and Hoover read the figure of Asia somewhat differently than I do, attributing to her qualities of the "monstrous feminine" (City on Fire, 104-7)- Rolanda Chu also sees Asia as representative of the "monster," but locates this as a source of pleasure and entertainment for the viewer: "If the utopian prospect is of a vision at least momentarily of the fluidity of gender options, then the most radical dynamic of pleasure put forth in Swordsman II is the prospect of loving the monster: the taboo of embracing the abject." "Swordsman II and The East Is Red: The 'Hong Kong Film,' Entertainment, and Gender," Bright Lights 13 (summer 1994): 35.

24. Lee, "Two Films from Hong Kong," 211.

25. Stokes and Hoover, City on Fire, 105.

26. Teo also comments on these films in terms of Hong Kong's identity in relation to China (Hong Kong Cinema, 250-51).

27. Craig Reed, "Those Wild Women of Fant-Asia," Boxoffice Magazine (Special Report, 25 March 1997), on-line: <http://www.boxoff.com /sneak2bfeb.html>.

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