Filmmakers should know kung fu isn’t that superior1 min readReading Time: < 1 minute
Martial arts movies always do well at the Chinese box office. Films like Yip Man I and II, Fearless (a movie about turn-of-the-20th century kung fu legend Huo Yuanjia), and Legend of the Fist: the Return of Chen Zhen all brought in strong box office.
One of the recurring themes of these films is the superiority of Chinese martial arts to Western fighting.
There’s usually a scene in which a large, clumsy foreigner is beaten by a nimble and skilled Chinese martial arts master. There’s more than a touch of xenophobia in these depictions, as the graceless foreigner is humiliated by the local hero.
Kung fu movies were invented in the 1950s in Hong Kong, and then enjoyed their golden age between the 1970s and the early 1990s. The rest of China took to the genre with enthusiasm in the 1980s, when Hong Kong cinema began to reach the mainland, and the mainland directors were quick to adopt the forms and stereotypes of Hong Kong movies.