Martial Arts Movie
The Martial Arts Movie is the cinematic genre mainly created in East Asia (especially Hong Kong) often being action showcases with martial-arts styles. Similar to traditional Wuxia
but where most Wuxia uses more extreme Supernatural Martial Arts
and High Fantasy
settings, the Martial Arts Movie more often take a more Low Fantasy
with the occassional Charles Atlas Superpower
approach. They usually feature exaggerated and highly-stylized presentations of traditional fighting techniques and swordplay
along with other weapons, but the action set pieces and the focus remain on characters using Good Old Fisticuffs
, displays of Martial Arts and Crafts
and/or being a Improbable Weapon User
This style is strongly based in conventions drawn from traditional Chinese theater, ballet, and acrobatic performances, and is accepted by the audience for which most of the films were made. During the 1970s, with the rise of Bruce Lee
and other the films started to gain traction in various other countries, leading to numerous Hong Kong Dub
films being brought over to various parts of the world.
The boom in popularity throughout the 70s and 80s internationally also lead to numerous films elevating the careers of Asian action stars such as Jackie Chan
and Jet Li
, but also other action stars from different countries that notables include Jean-Claude Van Damme
, Steven Seagal
, Sonny Chiba
and Chuck Norris
In the 90s, the upcoming handover of Hong Kong back to China in 1997 caused consternation among many martial arts moviemakers and fans - would the communist government allow filmmakers the same freedom? But where some were worried, others saw opportunity... especially other Asian countries. Countries such as South Korea, Japan and Thailand began producing their own martial arts films, hoping to fill the void, and creating some new stars in the process, such as Tony Jaa and Jeeja Yanin.
And as it turned out, the Chinese takeover of Hong Kong did not signal the death knell of martial arts movies there, either, particularly with the rise of "arthouse" martial arts films such as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
, and House of Flying Daggers
. China continues to produce many martial arts movies today.
Compare with Heroic Bloodshed
, which often features stories set within the modern time frame usually around cops and gangsters and has the action centering on gun battles
. Or Chop Sockey
, where the stereotypical elements of classic films such as Hong Kong Dub
or Artistic License – Martial Arts
are played for laughs.
Common subtropes and related tropes:
Film examples include:
Actors well-known for martial arts movies include: