In the late 1990s, recognizing the growing American fan base for Hong Kong cinema, American distributor Miramax developed itself into a dominant player in the distribution of Hong Kong martial arts films in the United States. However, as Miramax aimed to reach a wide audience, the films they released were often re-edited, re-scored, re-dubbed, and re-titled in such a way as to minimize the ‘foreignness’ and make them more appealing to American audiences (Dombrowski 2008). This paper examines the differences between these versions from the perspective of sound. By comparing the original sound aesthetics and the sound aesthetics of Miramax’s re-scores, this paper investigates how the aesthetic and affective qualities of martial arts sequences have changed. It does so through a consideration of David Bordwell’s analyses of Hong Kong cinema and Aaron Anderson’s theory of kinesthesia, and it will contextualize the discussion within the audio-visual trends as set by the films The Matrix (1999) and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000).
Leow, J. (2016). Miramax and the re-scoring of Hong Kong martial arts film. Cultural Studies@Lingnan, 54. Retrieved from http://commons.ln.edu.hk/mcsln/vol54/iss1/1/