Compared to King Hu’s Sons of Good Earth, this film, Come Drink With Me is a lot more bloody and gruesome in terms of the fighting scenes in the film. An interesting thing to note is that the more bloody and violent moments actually occur off screen. When someone is brutally stabbed to death or when a hand is chopped off, the audience is not able to see the action. Instead, the audience pieces together the action based on what they are able to see onscreen and what they assume is happening offscreen. The viewer is then free to let their imagination run wild and they are able to judge for themselves how gruesome the violent act in the film is based on the actor’s performance and the viewer’s own imagination. For example, if we look down below:
In the three shot sequence above, we can see the man going in for a stab. We do not see what he is aiming at. We could even think that he’s stabbing the ground. However, upon seeing shot 3, we conclude that he just killed someone based on the blood spattered across his clothes. Because King Hu does not show the dead man, the viewer can now use our own imagination to fill in the blanks. This is a very resourceful technique that King Hu is using. Not only does this technique cut down on costs in terms of costuming and makeup for the dead person, but this technique also helps with the aspect of believability. If King Hu had shown the person being stabbed to death on screen, he would have to make it look very very real through costuming, makeup, and staging in order to make it look believable. However, by showing the actual stabbing action off screen, the audience does not have to be convinced but rather, they can imagine the gruesome act for themselves.
Below are more examples of the same technique: