Summary: A great book for newbies!
Comment: If the films of Jackie Chan and Jet Li have just gotten you interested in Hong Kong cinema, then this is an excellent book to read to learn more about the HK film industry and what other movies you might want to check out. It's a fun and easy read, featuring reviews and commentaries by several "guest authors" that help make it a rounded volume. From old school kung fu films to new wave filmmakers, this book touches on almost all of them and will leave you excited and ready to explore the wacky world of Hong Kong cinema.
Summary: Great insight to the HK movie industry
Comment: Stefan has written an excellent book on the much misunderstood world of HK cinema. This is a cleverly written train of thought book on all aspects of the industry. It is imformative enough for the true HK buffs and easy for the uninitiated to understand.
Summary: Hong Kong cinema buffs rejoice!
Comment: A wonderful follow-up to Hammond's first foray into Hong Kong cinema, Sex and Zen & Bullet in the Head, Hollywood East is a more detailed account of Hong Kong cinema today. The book has a forward by Michelle Yeoh. The book is organized in the following manner: 1) an overview of Hong Kong, the city, where to purchase movies and memorabilia, where to see movies, and a funny aside of the top ten Hong Kong imagined dangers followed up by the top ten real dangers. Hammond seeks to dispel the mythical Hong Kong as porrtrayed by film and present briefly the real Hong Kong where millions reside. 2) An intro to the astounding work of Johnny To and Milky Way Productions. For those in the know, it will be a fun review and to the uninitiated, Hammond provides a starting point of these must see films 3) a similar overview for Wong Kar Wai 4) an overview of cop/triad films 5) an overview of martial arts films including an extensive review of Shaw Brother's filmography - a must read for Shaw Brothers junkies! 6) the Hong Kong horror genre 7) Jackie Chan and his films 8) sexy chick flicks and girls with guns 9) Jet Li and his films 10) John Woo and his films 11) crazy stunts and the stories behind them 12) extreme cinema, shock cinema for example: the Untold Story 13) other resources including web listings Also included are very funny inserts called "Hex Errors" that have outrageously translated subtitles for each section and a glossary of terminology. There is also a 16 page color insert of mini biographies of up and coming stars including: Michelle Yeoh, Shu Qi, Karen Mok, Michael Wong, Aaron Kwok, Pinky Cheung, Aimen Wong, Athena Chu, Christy Chung, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Kelly Chen, Gigi Lai, Sam Lee, Wu Chien-Lien, Michelle Reis and Gigi Leung. One does wonder how Yeoh fits in this category though. The book is fun, easy to read and factfilled for repeated reading. A must for all Hong Kong cinema buffs!
Summary: Great Introduction to Hong Kong Cinema
Comment: Stefan Hammond provides a very timely update on the current Hong Kong cinema scene with his latest gonzo effort, which ranges from a superb chapter on Jackie Chan to some decidely offbeat themes such as "Bad Eggs and Naked Killers" and "Dodge that Flying Witch's Head." The photographs are wonderful, the sidebars such as "Seven Little Stunt Nuggets" provide an inside look at the industry, and his writing style perfectly fits the zany, expressionistic world of H.K. cinema. I'm no expert in the subject, but I found the book fascinating, informative, and highly opinionated, though my only question is: "Who's the babe-in-blue-with-gun on the front cover?"
Summary: Something Wild
Comment: Imagine if Hunter Thompson, Siskel & Ebert, and Rosanne combined to critique a Dali picture, and you'd get a pretty good idea of what to expect. Hollywood East is chop-socky gonzo journalism. If you don't particularly care or know much about HK movies beyond Jackie C and The Bruce, you will after you read this book. In fact, Stefan Hammond seems to write with the frenetic action and dark humor that permeates the very fabric of the movies and people he's describing. If anything, HE has it over S&Z;&ABITH; in the depth of descriptions and background: HK itself, the movies, and the people who make them. He's got a sense of humor that would be declared a national treasure if he were Japanese. F'rexample, describing myths about The Kong, he assures you that when you order ramen with slices of pork it ain't gonna be 'Poodle Noodles.'
To sum it up, I've never read a book written in a style so evocative of its subject. It's clear that he's writing about something he loves.