‘Robotrix’ trailer

Robotrix (1991, Jamie Luk)

In the mid-90s, a few years before DVD took over, a few niche VHS labels (Tartan, Artificial Eye, Hong Kong Classics et al) unloaded a heap of foreign cinema onto the video market. Stuff that might only have previously been seen at retrospectives or on BBC2 or Channel 4 could now be accessed, and while it was great to be able to see all of Ingmar Bergman’s films without living near an art cinema, what was really exciting was the availability of films in genres that weren’t particularly reputable. Hong Kong genre cinema was so alluring - I remember seeing Kim Newman do a sort of primer for wuxia films on ITV’s The Little Picture Show that blew my mind. His advice: ‘To get a feeling for this world, you kind of have to immerse yourself in it - rent out as many of these films as you can and watch them all in one weekend. You'l be exhausted but you’ll be a wuxia fan’ (I’ve since followed this advice on pretty much every genre and subgenre I’ve come across). And once you’ve seen all the wire-fu, and Jackie Chan and John Woo that you possibly can, you get to Cat III.

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