Brutal Mathematics: Narrative Structure in the Films of Chang Cheh | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 22, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 1059-440X
  • E-ISSN: 2049-6710



In the years shortly before Chang Cheh's death, the not-insubstantial segment of the Internet populated by Hong Kong film enthusiasts lit up with the possibly apocryphal news that the director, who had made scores of dynamic martial-arts films from the late 1960s to the early 1990s, had proclaimed that he would retire only after he had directed his 101st film.1 Alas, Chang did not live to see that milestone: he died in 2002, nine years removed from directing his 97th and final film, Ninja in Ancient China. The fact that he or someone else allegedly suggested as the capstone to his career a bold numerical marker is oddly suggestive of a curious patterning that recurs in Chang's many films.


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