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Apocalyptic Chaos in Tiger Cage

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Recent work on contemporary Hong Kong cinema frequently notes an apocalyptic current in several representations linked with a traumatic return to Mainland China in 1997. Although this motif features both explicitly (Black Cat, Wicked City) and implicitly (the post 1986 Hong Kong films of John Woo and Tsui Hark's A Better Tomorrow 3) in many films, it is important to remember that reunion has other forms of cinematic manifestations. Not all works view unification as a threat. Stanley Tong's Police Story 3: Supercop (1991) concludes with Jackie Chan's Hong Kong cop arguing with his mainland Chinese counterpart, Michelle Khan/Yeoh, over which country will gain stolen property, only to conclude that the question will be irrelevant by July 1, 1997 anyway. Similarly, Kirk Wong's Rock 'n Roll Cop (1994) ends with Anthony Wong's supercool Inspector Hung welcoming the time when he and his Mainland counterpart Captain Wong Run (Wu Xing Guo) join together in chasing crooks as the real enemy - - instead of each other when they cross their respective boundaries pursuing criminals. Ringo Lam's Prison on Fire 2 (1991) looks towards eventual harmony between "Hongkies" and mainland criminals as seen in the alliance between Chow Yun-Fat's colony prisoner and the aptly-named Triad boss Dragon.
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Keywords: Hong Kong cinema; Mainland China; Tiger Cage; apocalyptic; postmodernist; reunion

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Southern Illinois University

Publication date: 1998-03-01

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  • Asian Cinema is a seminal journal, which has been published since 1995 by the Asian Cinema Studies Society under the stewardship of Professor John Lent. From 2012 Asian Cinema will be published by Intellect as part of our Film Studies journal portfolio. The journal currently publishes a variety of scholarly material - including research articles, interviews, book and film reviews and bibliographies - on all forms and aspects of Asian cinema. The journal's broad aim is to advance understanding and knowledge of the rich traditions of the various Asian cinemas, thereby making an invaluable contribution to the field of Film Studies in general.
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