The Rise of Kung Fu, from Wong Fei-Hung to Bruce Lee

Stephen Teo

in Chinese Martial Arts Cinema

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print March 2009 | ISBN: 9780748632855
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748670833 | DOI:
The Rise of Kung Fu, from Wong Fei-Hung to Bruce Lee

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This chapter examines the rise of the kung fu movie in the Hong Kong cinema. Kung fu is seen as a specific genre of the Hong Kong Cantonese cinema, particularly as represented by its prototypical hero Wong Fei-hung (and played by the actor Kwan Tak-hing) that gave rise to a long-running series. The Wong Fei-hung phenomenon began in 1949 and has remained popular to the present day. The other kung fu phenomenon is that of Bruce Lee, the actor best known for his roles in The Big Boss (1971), Fist of Fury (1972), The Way of the Dragon (1972), and Enter the Dragon (1973) before his premature passing. The chapter analyzes how kung fu and wuxia are inter-related as well as how they differ from each other.

Keywords: Kung fu; Hong Kong cinema; Cantonese cinema; Wong Fei-hung; Bruce Lee

Chapter.  14592 words. 

Subjects: Film

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