80s Hong Kong cinema: a peerless era of action

With franchises breaking the box office like so many henchmens' faces, it'd be almost silly to believe the golden era of action movies is behind us. The quality of special effects alone could place several under the glorious misapprehension that the modern era is the golden era. '80s Hong Kong cinema would beg to differ.

Many innumerable factors would make a cinema movement equivalent to '80s Hong Kong impossible today. One major element was the high bar of skill that Hong Kong films required their actors to possess. Unlike contemporary actors, the film stars of yesteryear- in both America and Hong Kong- were practically required to have an external discipline outside of acting. Gene Kelly's dancing prowess fueled his cinematic dominance in the 40s and 50s. '80s Hong Kong followed a similar edict for their action stars due to the violent hazards inherent in production.

The action stars of 80s Hong Kong films usually had years of martial arts experience or a background in rhythmic performance. Acting chops got placed on the back burner in favor of skill, charisma, and physical endurance. Due to a host of legal and safety restrictions, similar practices could never occur in contemporary filmmaking.

In the video linked above, YouTuber Enter The 37th Chamber offers an in-depth retrospective of one of the greatest and least celebrated eras in action cinema.