Hybridity of Martial Arts/ Wuxia International films

Bruce lee in Fists of Fury, (1971)
Bruce lee in Fists of Fury, (1971)

This week in lecture and tutorial transnational films and hybridity in global films were discussed.

In the tutorial what I found interesting was the idea of hybridity in films. How western influences can be found within an eastern film, also how eastern influences – especially through martial arts, is brought into many Hollywood films as well!

Having grown up watching awesome martial art films, such as Bruce Lee’s ‘Fists of Fury’, and ‘Enter the Dragon; also Jackie Chan in ‘Shanghai Noon’ and ‘Shanghai Knights’ these are just some of many hybrid films made for Eastern and Western Audiences.

In this weeks reading: ‘Problematizing Chindia’, Shaefer and Karan talk about the hybridity of martial art films saying:

“Much has been written about the potential of hybridized Asian contra-flows to positively impact the global film trade, particularly with respect to the East Asian film industries of Hong Kong, China, and Taiwan, which collectively have grossed hundreds of millions in the US through the films of Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Ang lee, and Yimou Zhang.” (Shaefer, D & Karan, K 2010, p310)

They also went on to quote Curtin (2007: 287) revealing that East Asian filmmakers have been very successful in making movies with Wuxia storylines and Martial Arts sequences that have become very popular internationally.

Wuxia narrative films as mentioned above are really cool and definitely play a big part in the hybridity of martial art films.

Michallet Romero describes the term Wuxia as a story of a swords master, who travels on a journey, and is viewed as a hero. With superhuman strengths, kung fu and t’ai chi; these films are based on protagonists, where sometimes there is a second character who may end up being the protagonists mentor. (Romero Michallet, L 2003) Examples of Wuxia films are Bruce Lee’s “Fists of Fury’ and as brought up in lecture ‘Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon’.

Romero also reveals that televisions show’s such as 90’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer is considered a hybridized western take on wuxia as well!

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, (1997-2003)
Buffy the Vampire Slayer, (1997-2003)

As you can see these hybrid martial art films are pretty cool, they are also one of the reasons I studied martial arts when I was younger too!

Fists of Fury 1971, Golden Harvest Company, Hong Kong

References:

Romero, L 2003, ‘The Origin of the Hong Kong Martial Arts Movie Genres and it’s Influence on the American Television and Movie Industry’, Whoosh Online Edition, Issue No.84, accessed 5/9/13, http://whoosh.org/issue84/romero1.html

Schaefer D & Karan, K 2010, Problematizing Chindia: ‘Hybridity and Bollywoodization of popular Indian cinema in global film flows’, Global Media and Communication, Sage Publications.

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