Under the big umbrella of the action genre, Hong Kong action movies are a breed of its own. Yet even this label is wide, as it includes everything from wuxia movies to John Woo flicks. In this Pictofacts, we focus on the latter, or more precisely on the ultra-violent, emotionally-corny, high-octane action movies Hong Kong produced during the ‘80s and ‘90s. Yeah, because nothing says action like semantic distinctions. Seriously, though, if we’re being accurate with our language – and we here at Cracked take language very seriously – then we’re not discussing martial arts movies in what follows.

So we’re focusing on strictly action movies, and hence on the actor-endangering madman that is John Woo, a man whose name is synonymous with the genre. Now, our John Woo is a bit rusty, so just as we won’t be discussing martial arts movies, we won’t be discussing Woo’s post-Mission: Impossible 2 Chinese movies either. Honestly, we hope they’re good just because we just love the guy. And even if they’re not, the fact remains that during the ’80s and ’90s Hong Kong action movies were greatly influenced by him. As we celebrate the man’s silent return to Hollywood (and we hope for a Face-Off-centered John Woo biopic), we now discuss some facts about his movies, but also about other aspects of classic Hong Kong action cinema.

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'A Better Tomorrow' Prequels

CRACKED.COM HONG KONG ACTION MOVIES A TALE OF TWO PREQUELS John Woo and producer Tsui Hark had a falling out after A Better Tomorrow and its sequel, so each made their own prequel. Hark did the official one, while Woo made the surprisingly similar but superior Bullet in the Head.

Source: Wikipedia

John Woo and Jackie Chan

CRACKED.COM HONG KONG ACTION MOVIES JOHN WOO AND JACKIE CHAN Before his action films, John Woo's first works were romance dramas and martial arts movies - like 1976's Hand of Death, with a very young Jackie Chan. It's a crime these two never did a big budget movie together.

Source: Wikipedia

Jackie Chan's 'The Protector'

CRACKED.COM HONG KONG ACTION MOVIES THE PROTECTOR This 1985 movie was Jackie Chan's second (failed) attempt at entering the American market, and it was indeed a serious action movie close to the heroic bloodshed pieces back home. Chan really disliked it, and ended up re-editing it himself for Hong Kong.

Source: Wikipedia

John Woo's Improvisation

CRACKED.COM HONG KONG ACTION MOVIES IMPROVISING MAYHEM Like a good jazz fan, John Woo loves improvisation - astonishing, considering his visions of chaos. In his 1989 classic The Killer, Woo would not even use storyboards, but rather follow his mood and intuition.

Source: Wikipedia

'Hard Boiled' and 'Terminator 2'

HONG KONG ACTION MOVIES GREAT MINDS THINK ALIKE If there's one movie that compares to Hard Boiled, that's Terminator 2 - even in the fact that both use boxes of flowers to hide guns. That might be a reference to Stanley Kubrick's The Killing - and yet, John Woo and James Cameron did it just one year apart. CRACKED.COM

Source: IMDb

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