Wire fu

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Wire fu is an element of Hong Kong action cinema. It is a combination of two terms: "wire work" and "kung fu". Wire fu is used to describe a sub-genre of Kung-Fu movies where the stuntmen's skill is augmented with the use of wires and pulleys, as well as other techniques, in many cases to perform stunts and give the illusion of super-human ability (or Qinggong).[1] It is exemplified by the work of Tsui Hark, Yuen Woo-ping, and Jet Li, that has subsequently been appropriated by the Hollywood film industry.[2] Almost all modern wuxia movies fall in this category. However, not all martial arts films use wire work.[3]

In practice[edit]

The basic concept is not very complex, and originates in the mechanical effects of stagecraft. Planning and persistence is important, as it often requires many takes to perfect the stunt.[4]

Typically, a harness is hidden under the actor's costume, and a cable and pulley system is attached to the harness. When live sets are used, wire removal is done in post-production. Another technique of creating wire fu is using a greenscreen. This is done for more complex stunts and camera angles. The actors are suspended in the air by green wires, which are then erased digitally during the post-production process.

Examples of wire fu movies[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Rahner, Mark (2004-12-24). "Wire-fu flicks: Pouncing public, hidden treasures". Seattle Times. Retrieved 2010-12-17. 
  2. ^ Shohini Chaudhuri (2005). Contemporary World Cinema: Europe, the Middle East, East Asia and South Asia. Edinburgh University Press. p. 125. ISBN 074861799X. 
  3. ^ "The Problem With Fx". Newsweek. Retrieved 2010-07-04. 
  4. ^ Crabtree, Sheigh (2006-12-17). "High-wire act raises the bar in fight scenes". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-12-17.