From Martial Arts to Gangsters Exploring the Transition of the Hong Kong Action Genre

Main Article Content

Nico Divizio


Throughout its existence, one of the most iconic and integral genres in Hong Kong cinema is that of action. The styles of these films have been portrayed through two primary mediums: the flashy martial arts action movies of the 1960s-1970s, and the gritty gangster movies that were massively popular in the 1990s-2000s. Coming onto the scene in the mid-1980s, films like Johnny Mak's Long Arm of the Law (1984) and Stephen Shin's Brotherhood (1986) were some of the first of the crime genre in Hong Kong. Once these films did come onto the scene, they gradually gained popularity; in the 2000’s, these films piqued in popularity, and Johnnie To was the quintessential director of the genre. Examining this trend, it is curious where and why this shift in genre from martial arts to gang violence occurred. In any culture, politics and government are a popular medium in the media. The introduction of social change reflects changes in the cinema of the time.


Article Details