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Kung Fu Movies

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Kung Fu movies
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Introduction {introduce kung Fu movies] 0.5
Kung Fu movies are part of a subgenre of martial arts films. They are set in the modern period of futuristic martial arts. Kung Fu has its origins in China, which before being modernized, was popularly known as Wuxia (Greene, 2014). This film genre is an important creation of Hong Kong Cinema. The main difference between Kung Fu and Woxia is that the former has less sword play, instead, used more armed combat. It however found its way to the West, where it was embraced in Hollywood as one of them most loved action film genres. The genre was first played on screen in the 1930s in a film known as The Adventures of Fong Sai-Yuk (Kato, 2012). The first directors choreographed the fights to become more realistic on screen. The genre reached its heights in the 1970s and overtook some of the most famous genres of the time. Today, Kung Fu has reached international audiences across the world. The genre is mainly produced Hong Kong, main land china japan and India. This paper looks at the genre as produced in these countries, contrasts and compares them.
Characteristics of kung Fu movies in Hong Kong, main land china japan and India
The Hong Kong Kung Fu films combine action, mainly as codified by Hollywood, and Chinese storytelling. This is interwoven with aesthetic traditions, which combine to create a distinctive form that has a wide transcultural appeal. However, over the last few years, the Hong Kong Kung Fu movies have been greatly influenced by American and European action styles. In the early years, the Hong Kong Kung Fu movies drew heavily upon the wuxia fighting style (Fu & Desser, 2000). This style emphasized mysticism and swordplay. With political intervention, the style was suppressed in the 1930s. The modern Hong Kong Kung Fu films are characterized by the move of male-oriented action films. Some producers however insist on using female stars to attract the female audience. Additionally, the Hong Kong Kung Fu movies use romance and musicals to make the productions more interesting. The Hong Kong Kung Fu movies have also built their identity with heavy likeness to Hollywood action movies.
In china, motion pictures were introduced towards the end of the 19th century. However, it was not until the 1930s that the country’s important films were first produced (Kato, 2012). Most of the mainland china kung Fu movie are mandarin based. Most of the Kung Fu movies from mainland china were based on storylines about families and their struggles. Additionally, the Chinese kung Fu movies draw attention from the audience through emotional appeal, such as the 1948 film spring in a Small Town, which about family struggles (Fu & Desser, 2000). The Chinese kung Fu movies also used traditional methods of storytelling such as socialist-relist perspective. However, this was replaced with freer unorthodox approaches to film making, such as using of criminals and heroes with admirable strengths and characters. Into the modern ages, the Kung Fu movie producers of mainland china later resorted to extremely low budget production, however, using digital equipment to add value. The modern Kung Fu movies from mainland china use more international-based Chinese language cinema, which is made possible by fusion of people, resources and expertise from various regions to produce successful films.
It can be argued that Kung Fu is a guest style in the Japanese action film industry. Japan’s action films decipher the ideological aspect of samurai warriors and fighting style (Shuk-tong, 2009). Japanese action films’ fighting style draw heavily upon use of weapons, especially the dreaded samurai sword fights. Little un-armed combat is used in the Japanese films, however, there are some specialized free hand fighting styles that are used. The Japanese Kung Fu action films are also more violent and graphic, which is the reason most of them come with viewer discretions. The Japanese movies’ speedy and economized annihilation of a number of assailants attacking the main stars is the core of the country’s Kung Fu films, which creates appeal and intrigue amongst the audiences. Additionally, Japanese Kung Fu films use modern technology to renovate the image of Samurai, giving the country’s producers and directors a unique touch in film-making.
Just like Japan, Kung Fu is a guest style in India action film genre. The Indian films are characterized by strong storytelling, heavily punctuated by song and dance (Shuk-tong, 2009). In the modern Kung Fu Like productions, the directors are becoming more comfortable in mixing visual martial arts and creating an amalgam of cinematic expression. The films also produced with the aim of maintaining the huge fan base and increasing the cinematic appeal of Bollywood productions, both in terms of visual entertainment and commercial viability. The Indian action themed Kung Fu movies are also designed to mainly attract the young movie goers, who are enthusiastic responders to universal thematic messages. An Example is the upcoming “Kung Fu Yoga”, which is to use Jackie Chan as the main star (Press Trust of India, 2014) Just like Hong Kong and Japan, these films are getting to be influenced more and more by the Western action style. For instance, there is heavy use of contemporary fight weapons such as guns and modernize weapons, which however, do not take away the taste of traditional Kung Fu fighting.
Differences analysis
One of the main differences in Kung Fu movies produced in China and Hong Kong is the former are produced in Mandarin dialect, while the latter are produced in Cantonese dialect (Fu & Desser, 2000). The Mandarin productions have over time overshadowed the Cantonese genre. However, it was the Chinese martial arts film producers that brought the skills and technical know-how to the Hong Kong film industry, which was more of second-rate. Another major difference between the two is that the Chinese Hong Kong films rely more on storytelling and mythical figures, while the Hong Kong productions rely heavily on action fighting and special effects to attract the audience’ attention (Kato, 2012). Additionally, the Hong Kong Kung Fu movies are more modernistic and futuristic, while the Chinese films are more historical and politically instigated. The Chinese Kung Fu movies also take little time to produce, as they do not invest heavily on budget and production. Unlike a number of other counties, the Japanese film industry enjoys little to no government support (Shuk-tong, 2009). This means that the Kung Fu movies, which sometime need a lot of funding to produce, have to be financed by individual production houses. As such, the films are sometimes developed with the support of Western film makers. However, the Indian, Chinese and Hong Kong productions are funded by their local financiers, the main reason why most of them are low budget productions. Another major difference is logistics and production, the Hong Kong Kung Fu films derive a number of action and screenplay elements from Hollywood, such as genre parameters. An example is the “thrill-a-second”, which is a philosophy of fast paced editing in between the action cuts. On the other hand, the Chinese Kung Fu productions continue deriving from traditional drama and art, which disregards the Western standards of realism. The Cantonese-Mandarin dialect difference is also a major contrasting issue in the Kung Fu movies’ production. The Mandarin dialect film began in the 1970s in a seemingly second-to-none position (Greene, 2014). However, over time, it virtually vanished in the face of Mandarin studios and Cantonese television. The latter took over the general population’s hearts in the late 1980s. The return of the Cantonese Kung Fu films took center stage with uprising Kung Fu action stars like Jet Li and Jackie Chan (Fu & Desser, 2000). These films were made with special dedication to the youthful audience, which changed the taste of traditional Kung Fu story-telling to modern action-packed storyboards. Thus, the Hong Kong Kung Fu films were of greater technical polish and more advanced visual style than the Chinese themed Kung Fu movies. It was this period that the Hong Kong Film industry’s major hits portrayed up-to-dated special effects technology, which are the main difference between the past Kung Fu movies and the modern ones. The Japanese and Indian kung Fu action movies also are distinct in their own way, despite the fact that their differences are not as major as those of Mainland China and Hong Kong. India’s Kung Fu draws heavily upon the Indian cultural film making style, which has many songs and dances in between the movie (Kato, 2012). Additionally, the Indian producers play more with color and editing, followed by deep screen-play, instead of investing in fights and weapons. The Japanese Kung Fu style movies are dependent on the Japanese Samurai story telling technique, which is setting up the story in different parts of the country, and obscene fight scenes, which are as intense as they are violent.
Account for the differences One of the major distinctions of the paradigms of Kung Fu films in the discussed countries is the element of storytelling and action. In China, the start of martial arts is attributed to the cultural need for aiding hunters and protecting against the enemies (Greene, 2014). Along with these, stories of the strongest martial artists (myths) emerged, with the intention of motivating the young warriors to follow suit. As such, the Chinese Kung Fu films draw heavily upon storytelling. Despite the fact that they are action packed, the producers and directors rely on deep stories which develop gradually as the film’s theme unfolds. Similarly, the Japanese culture has an influence on their Kung Fu action films. The Japanese Kung Fu film makers develop their stories on the basis of the Japanese Samurai (XXXX). The Samurai, well known for violence and ruthlessness in attack, characterized the Japanese action genre. India’s culture also has an influence on their Kung Fu action films. The country’s art directors have a tendency of using music and dance to spice up their productions. As such, the country’s Kung Fu films are characterized by singing and dancing (Ganti, 2012). Additionally, the Kung Fu action films are filled with romance and passion, which makes them different from those from other regions. Culturally, Hong Kong is a modernized form of traditional Mainland China customs. As such, their Kung Fu films are different from the others on the basis of cultural blending with the Western form. Hong Kong’s youth culture also has many aspects of Western pop culture, and they are huge fans of Hong Kong-Hollywood themed films such as The Matrix. As such, their cultural blending influences their directors to produce such films. The influence of politics has proven to be a potent force in the Kung Fu film industry. One of the most politically influenced film industries in the world is the Mainland China film industry (Fu & Desser, 2000). This has led to the question of “Chinese Identity’ in the country’s Kung Fu productions. Many scenes from the Mainland China Kung Fu films render the world of martial arts through an interwoven interplay of national and internationals politics. More specifically, mainland china Kung Fu productions present an analysis of the system of colonial oppression in which the colonialists ripped the Chinese of their property and benefits, leading to the raise of martial arts heroes who delivered the people from mystery. In Japan, the outpouring of Kung Fu Samurai movies into the Asian market happened against the background of the country’s postwar economic expansion, which was facilitated by political influence (Shuk-tong, 2009). As such, most of the Japanese King Fu movies lack the essence of political-incorrectness, in other words, the producers avoid issues which would be considered politically wrong. This is why the films use less political figures, and concentrate more on heroic Samurai figures. As earlier identified, the quality of the Kung Fu films varies greatly between the discussed countries. It has been observed that the economic positions of a country determines the amount of investment into its film industry (Fu & Desser, 2000). After the Second World War, Japan’s economy was almost paralyzed. As such, most of the country’s investments went into rebuilding the country, and sectors such as entertainments became lesser priorities. As such, most of the Kung Fu movies produced in those periods were of low quality. At the same time, the strengthening economic and political ties between Hong Kong and Mainland China meant that their productions were of higher qualities as compared to the rest of Asian countries. In India, Ganti (2012) says that the government’s positive policies regarding the entertainment industry have helped the film makers to come up with some of Asia’s most appreciated films.
Kung Fu movies are absolutely a hallmark of Asia’s entertainment industry. Tracing its roots back to a Chinese fight style, the style found its way into the motion picture industry in the wake of the 20th century. In Hong Kong, Mainland China, Japan and India, the films have unique characteristics, which are influenced by factors such as culture, traditions, politics, power and the general audience. There is no particular culture or tradition which is more superior to the other. However, the Chinese traditions have a greater influence on the genre than the rest of the countries that have been discussed. Additionally, it has been demonstrated that politics, economics and power have a great influence on the quality and quantity of Kung Fu movies produced in the four countries. The future of the Kung Fu movies depends on industrial factors such as the audience, technology, evolution of production concepts and perhaps most importantly, global reception and acceptance of the genre.

Fu, P. & Desser, D. (2000). The cinema if Hong Kong: History, arts, identity. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
Ganti, T. (2012). Producing Bollywood: Inside the contemporary Hindi film industry. London, UK: Duke University Press.
Greene, N. (2014). From Fu Manchu to Kung Fu Panda: Images of China in American Film. Hong Kong Universy Press.
Kato, M. T. (2012). From kung fu to hip hop: globalization, revolution, and popular culture. SUNY Press.
Press Trust of India. (2014). India, China join hands to produce ‘Kung Fu Yoga’. India Express. 22 October 2014. Retrieved on 23 March 2015 from:
Shuk-tong. (2009). Japanese and Hong Kong film industries: Understanding the origins of East Asian film networks. New York, NY: Routledge.

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