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   Now in our eleventh calendar year
    PCR #546  (Vol. 11, No. 37)  This edition is for the week of September 6--12, 2010.

"The American"  by Mike Smith
Miami Memories: Part One of Two  by William Moriaty
Nearly Almost Famous  by ED Tucker
DVD Review: Strip Club King:The Story of Joe Redner  by Lisa Scherer
Nothing on the Horizon  by Jason Fetters
I'd Like To Thank The Academy .... Burn Baby Burn! .... .... .... .... .... .... .... Mike's Record Shelf by Mike Smith

Nothing on the Horizon

In Hong Kong few interesting movies are coming out and nothing is being exported to the U.S. Market. Why is the happening? Are creative ideas just not there anymore or is there a bigger problem?

To answer these questions, a brief look at the Hong Kong film industry is needed.

In the late 70's Shaw Brothers was churning out hundreds of low-budget Kung Fu movies that eventually made their way to America. In the 80's, Golden Harvest had major star power with Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung, and Yuen Biao to draw audiences into the theaters. Even Hollywood took notice of Hong Kong Cinema with the 90's boom that had special effects, slapstick comedy, sex, horror, and exciting martial arts action.

Category III films, meaning adults only, emphasized sex and soft corn porn that made lots of money for the theaters until the home video market took profits from the major theaters. Once that happened the Hong Kong Film industry went into a decline that it never recovered from. The financial crisis happening all throughout Asia, meant that the average person had less to spend on entertainment and took a bite out of film financing. During the boom years so many movies were just churned out that quality dropped. Ticket prices increased to cover the cost of multiplexes. Hong Kong's middle class turned their noses at locally-produced movies as B-movie trash.

However, the biggest blow was from Hollywood. Most people in Hong Kong would rather watch American movies than anything else. In fact, Hong Kong's biggest actors like Jackie Chan and Jet Li are more often than not appearing in Hollywood movies. Jet Li made a name for himself in Lethal Weapon 4, currently his biggest box office hit.

Also, due to the success of Japanese horror movies, Hong Kong is trying to cash in on this craze by making their own Japanese style horror films.

The biggest star in the declining years, is Stephen Chow and his comedy films like Shaolin Soccer, and Kung Fu Hustle.

A major problem is a lack of any key personality coming up in Hong Kong at the moment. First, there was Bruce Lee, who had the greatest chance of success. Then came Jackie Chan, followed by Jet Li. All three stars had Kung Fu training to back up their action scenes. The young stars today are more likely to be dancers, or just actors with no martial arts training. As a result the next Bruce Lee is either going to be a long time coming or non-existant if the Hong Kong film industry cannot pull itself back up.

In fact, the next star to come up is not from Hong Kong but Tony Jaa and his style of Muay Thai boxing in movies like Ong Bak and The Protector. Future talent is probably going to come up from other Asian countries. Hopefully, some new blood will pop up to pump life back into Hong Kong.

To comment on this or any other PCR article, please visit The Message Board. "The Asian Aperture" is ©2010 by Jason Fetters. Webpage design and all graphics herein (except where otherwise noted) are creations of Nolan B. Canova. All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2010 by Nolan B. Canova.