Direction in Action: Johnnie To and the Hong Kong Action Film


I picked up Stephen Teo’s Director in Action: Johnnie To and the Hong Kong Action Film awhile back and read through it quickly.  I found Teo’s analysis on Johnnie To and his body of work a little too pedantic for my liking. Teo spends a tremendous amount of time musing over To’s work in such a convoluted way that at times I wasn’t even sure what he was really trying to convey. It’s truly a case where by the end of the book, I did not have a greater understanding of To as a filmmaker or have a deeper appreciation for his films. The writing just left me feeling apathetic and a little dumb.



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4 Responses to Direction in Action: Johnnie To and the Hong Kong Action Film

  1. kingwho? says:

    Those are some kick ass tats! Dangerous! I have read Teo’s work before and at times is too academic for my tastes. i did, however, enjoy his book Hong Kong Cinema: The Extra Dimensions. Have you read it?

    His Johnnie To book sounds less interesting to me as I’m not much up for reading about To.

    i think we should get together and write a book on CAT III!?

    • smirk2u says:

      Oh thanks, aside from movies, my other passion is tattoos. Both arms almost covered.

      I’ve read Teo’s book on WKW and it’s pretty much the same thing. In certain parts, he really strains to make a point.

      Hong Kong Cinema: The Extra Dimensions sounds like serious reading. What angle does he take on HK cinema?

      I think the book idea is great. With so many talented writers here and there we could get an anthology going. I could do the illustrations for it.

      • kingwho? says:

        I’m on board if we could get a book going. Why can’t we?

        Teo’s ‘The Extra Dimensions’ book tries to cover all of HK cinema up to the 90’s mainly focusing on certain filmmakers and films throughout the years. It’s worth picking up.

        I have about 7 tats. Nothing too big but a few that have passed their time and I got when I was younger. A few that I cherish the most are my Chungking Express tat (Chinese characters), Guan Gong tat (Chinese characters) and my CAT III symbol tat. I bled out too much on the last one and I need it redone REALLY BADLY. The roman numeral is awfully uneven! I need to find someone who can do excellent small needle work to even it out. But I really love the tat! =D

  2. Martin says:

    I completely agree Dr.Lamb, unlike you I found the book hard going. What I expected to devour in a few sittings took me months as I found the book to dry and I just didn’t enjoy it. Many of Teo’s points feel stretched to breaking point in order to fit in with the overall views of the book. Very disappointing.

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