The Asian Influence on Hollywood Action Films


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About the Book

Filmmakers of the Pacific Rim have been delivering punches and flying kicks to the Hollywood movie industry for years. This book explores the ways in which the storytelling and cinematic techniques of Asian popular culture have migrated from grainy, low-budget martial arts movies to box-office blockbusters such as The Magnificent Seven, Star Wars, The Matrix and Transformers. While special effects gained prominence, the raw and gritty power of live combat emerged as an audience favorite, spawning Asian stars Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan and martial arts–trained stars Chuck Norris and Steven Seagal. As well as capturing the sheer onscreen adrenaline rush that characterizes the films discussed, this work explores the impact of violent cinematic entertainment and why it is often misunderstood.

About the Author(s)

Barna William Donovan is a professor of communications and media studies at Saint Peter’s, the Jesuit College of New Jersey. His articles, columns, and reviews on film and popular culture have been published in academic journals such as Communication Annual and Men and Masculinities as well as various newspapers.

Bibliographic Details

Barna William Donovan

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 272
Bibliographic Info: 16 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2008
pISBN: 978-0-7864-3403-9
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0770-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface      1

1. Why Asian Action Matters      3
2. The Master: Akira Kurosawa and the Art of Warriors      14
3. Dragon Rising: The Power of Hong Kong Martial Arts      56
4. The Little Dragon      73

5. Chuck Norris: Right Turn … Or, a Masculinity Crisis and the Man Who Saved the Martial Arts      107
6. Asian Action in the ’80s: Ninjas and Karate Kids      124
7. The Rise and Fall of Jean-Claude Van Damme and Steven Seagal      146

8. A New Decade and a New World      163
9. Mayhem in Slow Motion: The Viral Cinema of John Woo and the Hong Kong New Wave      174
10. Drunken Master in Hollywood’s Eye: Jackie Chan Takes the West … Twice      192
11. Jet Li: The Noble Warrior      208
12. At the Turn of the Millennium and Beyond: Magical Realism, Violence, and the Opening (and Closing) of the East      218

Chapter Notes      243
Bibliography      251
Index      255