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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 the legendary Chuck Norris.

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.


Film examples include:

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