Watch The Best Kung Fu Films Online
Kung fu films are a subgenre of martial arts films and Hong Kong action cinema set in the contemporary period and featuring realistic martial arts. Kung fu films lack the fantasy elements seen in wuxia, a related martial arts genre that uses historical settings based on ancient China. Swordplay is also less common in kung fu films than in wuxia and fighting is done through unarmed combat.
Kung fu films are an important product of Hong Kong cinema and the West, where it was exported. Studios in Hong Kong produce both wuxia and kung fu films.
The kung fu genre was born in Hong Kong as a backlash against the supernatural tropes of wuxia. The wuxia of the period, called shenguai wuxia, combined shenguai fantasy with the martial arts of wuxia. Producers of wuxia depended on special effects to draw in larger audiences like the use of animation in fight scenes. The popularity of shenguai wuxia waned because of its cheap effects and fantasy cliches, paving way for the rise of the kung fu film. The new genre still shared many of the traits of wuxia. Kung fu protagonists were exemplars of chivalry akin to the ancient youxia, the knight-errants of Chinese wuxia fiction.