In virtually all existing scholarship on martial arts cinema, what is indicated in the invocation of such an ostensibly vast cinematic realm (temporally and culturally) is the specific and narrow martial arts cinema of Hong Kong from the 1960s to the 1980s. Scholarship has ignored, dismissed or written off many of the threads which have come together to form the unique cinematic patchwork known as martial arts cinema; even more problematically, they have all-too-easily dismissed the American thread as quasi-racist orientalist opportunism on the part of Hollywood filmmakers. Against this deeply problematic view, this essay reviews two important recent contributions to American martial arts cinema scholarship in order to highlight problems in previous work and to create space for a new position from which to better understand and appreciate the American inheritance of the martial arts.View/Download
Barrowman, Kyle. 2015. ‘History in the Making: Martial Arts Between Planet Hollywood and Planet Hong Kong’, Martial Arts Studies 1, 72-82
Kyle Barrowman is the editorial assistant and book reviews editor of Martial Arts Studies. He is a PhD student in the School of Journalism, Media, and Cultural Studies at Cardiff University and his research focuses on issues of realism, aesthetics, and philosophy in martial arts cinema, particularly in the films of Bruce Lee and Steven Seagal.