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More Sex, Better Zen, Faster Bullets

The Encyclopedia of Hong Kong Film

Hong Kong films ripped through kung fu stereotypes in the 80s/90s. Here’s the definitive tome on stunt hazards, pistol ballets, snarky gangsters and toothsome molls, hopping vampires, and Hong Kong noir.


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Axcess magazine
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Sex and Zen & A Bullet in the Head is enjoyable reading due to the authors’ irreverent yet affectionate tone, its wealth of peripheral information, and its sheer enthusiasm…These guys are out to convert you!
Far Eastern Economic Review
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Sex and Zen & A Bullet in the Head romps engagingly through two decades of star portraits, the real roots of kung fu, odd essays on Hong Kong society and surprise genres like Hong Kong noir.
Entertainment Weekly
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This “essential guide to Hong Kong’s mind-bending films” is long overdue: The deliriously kinetic, unapologetically bloody aesthetic of HK cinema has been creeping into Hollywood films over the last few years. The authors know their stuff.

How and why did films from Hong Kong — a former British Crown Colony and map-speck — become so popular? Post-WWII, creative freedom was scarce in Asia, but Hong Kong was a safe space for filmmakers seeking to profit from overseas Chinese markets and Chinatowns worldwide. Both Shaw Brothers and Golden Harvest set up massive operations in Hong Kong and let the celluloid slip.

By the 1980s, Hong Kong’s Sammo Hung and Jackie Chan were famous throughout Asia. Their winning formula of humour and martial arts prowess ripped through kung fu stereotypes, while filmmakers like Tsui Hark and Ringo Lam served up fantasy, horror and noir crime dramas for rabid cinemagoing hordes in the grindhouses of Kowloon. It was a glorious time.

This book is the nonpareil true story of the Hong Kong film industry, one that doesn’t skimp on the good bits: the hyperkinetic films themselves. Included are intrepid firsthand accounts of the culture and international fanbases to have emerged around these movies.

More Sex, Better Zen, Faster Bullets contains the best bits of Sex and Zen & A Bullet in the Head (1996) and Hollywood East (2000) — the two best known tomes on Hong Kong films of the twentieth century — revised and with the inclusion of new material. The result is the most comprehensive encyclopedia of Hong Kong film available anywhere.

Contributors include Michael Bliss, David Chute, Jeremy Hansen, Dave Kehr, Andy Klein, Wade Major, Jim Morton and Jude Poyer.

Special hardback edition contains four additional pages of colour.

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Posts related to this book

The Encyclopedia of Hong Kong Film

Stefan Hammond & Mike Wilkins

978-1-909394-64-3 (pbk)
978-1-909394-65-0 (ebk)

11 June 2020

Film, Martial Arts

Size & Pages
235mm x 191mm / 344 & 348

b&w poster art and stills

Mike Wilkins

Stefan Hammond

STEFAN HAMMOND is co-author (with Mike Wilkins) of Sex and Zen & A Bullet in The Head, and author of Hollywood East: Hong Kong Films and the People Who Make Them. He lives in Hong Kong.


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