From <i>The Big Heat to Lifeline</i>

Stephen Teo

in Director in Action

Published by Hong Kong University Press

Published in print July 1993 | ISBN: 9789622098398
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9789882206823 | DOI:

Series: Director in Action

From The Big Heat to Lifeline

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This chapter provides an examination of the key films in Johnnie To's career ranging from the period 1988 to 1997, The Big Heat (1988), The Heroic Trio (1993), Executioners (1993), Loving You (1995) and Lifeline (1997), which form a group of five films containing the blueprints for his later masterpieces. From this discussion, To's films can be categorized into at least four broad categories: comedy, melodrama, martial arts, and the contemporary action adventure. The action films in this period of To's career show that he is concerned not so much with death as with the idea of physical impairment. His heroes seek to fulfil their duties despite impairments or flaws due to serious illness, injury or psycho-pathological causes. The female heroes of The Heroic Trio and Executioners are super-human Others inflicting the sort of mythical violence that Gods are capable of and yet have human drives of motherhood and having babies.

Keywords: Johnnie To; The Big Heat; The Heroic Trio; Executioners; Loving You; Lifeline; heroes; martial arts; action adventure

Chapter.  13633 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Film

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