Boulevard Books, N-Y, 1997, 315p, $14, ISBN 1 57297 228 9
The whole Weisser family got involved in this HK cinema bible. Tom Weisser, a genuine American fan of trash cinema, created in 1991 along with his Japanese wife, Yuko Mihora Weisser, and his daughter Jessica Weisser, a quarterly magazine formerly called Asian Trash Cinema, and renamed Asian cult Cinema. Thanks to his vast experience and useful connections, he wrote in 1997 this book divided into four parts. The first one is the most substantial (206p). It deals with reviews about films produced from the New Wave (early 1980s) to 1995. However, the choice of films may be questionable. For each feature film, there is a detailed cast, a plot summary and a review.
The second part is a listing of the most important martial arts movies that belong to the history of the local cinema. The author takes his time to list all the Bruce Lee clones and their cheesy flicks, which after being funny is not very interesting.
The third part presents filmographies of a lot of directors. Finally, most of the movies made at this time with famous Cantonese actors and actresses are listed. A few B&W photos contribute to a sober lay out.
It has to be said that the writer taste is not necessarily the most common one and his 'American audience reflexes' tend to over-estimate popular and graphically impressive flicks and to underestimate genre movies or other intimate or non-exploitation features.
This matter and various mistakes unfortunately make this book an anti-reference, and therefore not a first choice purchase.