A film genre originated in the Pacific Rim. This genre of film is one kind of action film characterized by extensive fighting scenes employing various types of martial arts. This genre should not be limited to Asian films. There are many action movies by well known western martial artists such as Steven Segal and Jean Claude van Damme.
Martial Arts film stars can be classified in two types, namely genuine martial artists who pursued a filming career vs dancers and actors who acted in martial arts film under the directions of choreographers.
Martial arts film stars who are martial artists on their own merits:
- Bruce Lee's "Enter the dragon" (1973) was one of the films that brought the genre into mainstream Western acceptance.
- Jackie Chan continued this crossover during the 80s and 90s, finaly conquering the US market with Rumble in the Bronx (1995) and the two Rush Hour films. He is renowned for his blend of martial arts comedy, but has directed, action directed and starred in over 50 films of almost all conceivable genres. Despite proper martial arts training from a chinese opera school, Jackie often tells people that he is an actor, not a martial artist.
- Jet Li won a national Chinese Wu Shu (Martial Arts) championship before turning into a movie star.
- Sammo Hung or Gumbo Hung was a fellow opera school student of Jackie Chan and Yuen Biao. He has directed, action directed and starred in numerous Hong Kong films, as well as playing the leading role in the American TV series "Martial Law".
- Yuen Biao
- Chuck Norris (Karate: Japanese Martial Arts very similar to the principle of ShaLin boxing.)
- Steven Segal (Aikido: Japanese Martial Arts very similar to the principle of Chinese TaiChi.)
- Jean Claude van Damme (Thai kickboxing: Thai Martial Arts quite unique to itself.)
Martial Arts film stars that are merely actors: