Martial Arts Films
Martial Arts films fall under the category of Action films. This type of action film is usually packed with different styles of martial arts fighting. Action sequences in such films are the center of attraction. The development of the plot or storyline and character are interwoven with the type of martial arts depicted in such films. A martial arts film very often shows the central character or hero, being trained in some form of martial arts before taking on the bad guys in fight scenes that follow logically as the story progresses.
Plot versus Martial Arts
So who wins in a martial arts film? The storyline or the type of martial arts that is depicted? In other words, which of these two is given greater attention in such films? The balance between the extent of the plot and action scenes varies from film to film. Some martial arts films only have minimal plot and focus mostly on action scenes. Even character development in such films is not given much attention. In other martial arts films, there is equal emphasis on character development, plot, and action. The second type of martial arts (and it is not to be wondered) is regarded as being artistically superior. Although, some martial arts films that focus solely on action scenes are known to have been box office hits – earned large sums of money.
Martial Arts Actors
As the focus of attention in such films is on some form of martial arts, very often actors chosen to play the lead role are themselves adept in martial arts fighting. If not, they receive some basic training, leaving the slick execution to other aspects of movie making like camera angles, editing techniques, computer generated scenes, wire work (suspended from wires when performing stunts like in the movie ‘The Matrix’), undercranking or fast motion (slowly advancing the film in the camera when shooting, resulting in speeding up the action in the final film), and using a double or stuntman for those dangerously difficult scenes. The opposite of undercranking or fast motion is slow motion. Trampolines and springboards are also brought into play if a piece of action in a scene requires the ‘hero’ to jump higher than is normally possible.
Martial Arts films have and continue to be well-received all over the wide world. However, the genre has been dominated Hong Kong action cinema. This genre reached its peak in 1971 with Bruce Lee films. By 1990, interest for this genre began witnessing a general decline. Apart from Bruce Lee, other martial arts legends include Jackie Chan, Chuck Norris, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Steven Seagal, Wesley Snipes and more. Women have also made their contribution felt in this genre. Notable names include Michelle Yeoh, Angela Mao, and Cynthia Rothrock also known as Cynthia Khan.