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Heroic Bloodshed

by Hunter Duesing
“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. The term heroic bloodshed was coined by editor Rick Baker in the magazine Eastern Heroes 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.” Woo’s film A Better Tomorrow was said to have started the genre. Woo has also been a major influence in its continued popularity and… Read more

“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. The term heroic bloodshed was coined by editor Rick Baker in the magazine Eastern Heroes 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.” Woo’s film A Better Tomorrow was said to have started the 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. "
~Wikipedia

Personally I think it’s also important to acknowledge Chang Cheh’s influence on the genre, as the work John Woo was doing was an ultra-stylized crime-thriller update of Cheh’s violent tales of male camaraderie and brotherhood. The western films included here also display a heavy influence from this subgenre, some of which were, of course, directed by John Woo himself.

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