Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Heromakers is a documentary about Hong Kong movie stuntmen, running 71 minutes and featuring a mix of talking head interviews, behind the scenes footage and clips of stunts from the actual movies. Some of the stuntmen interviewed include Jude Poyer, Chin Siu Ling, Chin Kar Lok and Yeung Ching Ching, others featured but not filmed specifically for this film are Sammo Hung and Jackie Chan.
The Hong Kong stuntman association is discussed at length which is an organisation set up by stuntmen for stuntmen, since the decline of the Peking opera schools such as the like that Sammo and Jackie attended, the association provides training in the skills a stuntman needs to have to be a modern day "action actor" as they like to be known, since they no longer just work as stuntmen, they learn more skills so as to be very versatile around the film set. The HKSA is not only responsible for the training program, but also more day to day issues such as safety and ensuring the stuntmen are paid fairly and have insurance, important in this line of work I guess!
The best parts of the documentary are when the stuntmen start telling anecdotes about the films they have been involved in and the stunts they have pulled off, as well as talking of working with the likes of Sammo Hung. Great emphasis is put on how important the camaraderie is between stuntmen, and the familial bond that grows.
Finally they cover injuries they have sustained during filming, there is some pretty nasty stuff here, including Chin Kar Lok talking about his accident during the filming of Eastern condors, where an explosion as he jumped from a boat burned his arms so badly that when help arrived to lift him out of the water, the skin slipped off his arms as if gloves were being pulled off!
Also on the Heromakers dvd are 32 Hong Kong legends trailers and a feature about how HKL remastered their dvds.
Heromakers is a fascinating watch and with all the clips from the movies its like watching a Hong Kong greatest hits reel. Highly recommended.
If you can play region 2 dvds, you can pick this up on Amazon.co.uk for 1 pence plus postage.