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The Art of Action: Martial Arts in Motion Picture (2002)

A look at the history of martial arts films from their chinese roots to the present, presented by Samuel L. Jackson.


(as Keith Clarke)



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Credited cast:
Himself - Interviewee
Himself - Interviewee
Herself - Interviewee
Raymond Chow ...
Himself - Interviewee
Latrell Walker in Exit Wounds (archive footage)
Himself - Interviewee
Himself - Narrator
Himself (archive footage)
Himself - Interviewee
Himself - Interviewee (archive footage)
Himself - Interviewee
Himself - Interviewee
Chia-Liang Liu ...
Himself - Interviewee
Hoi Mang ...
Himself - Interviewee


A look at the history of martial arts films from their chinese roots to the present, presented by Samuel L. Jackson.

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Release Date:

June 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Arte Marcial no Cinema  »

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Did You Know?


Bruce Lee: To me - okay? - to me, ultimately martial art means honestly expressing yourself. That is very difficult to do.
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User Reviews

An expressive art of a genre.
2 May 2010 | by (the Mad Hatter's tea party.) – See all my reviews

I love my martial art films and the made-for-television documentary "Martial Arts in Motion Picture" that was hosted / narrated by Samuel L Jackson made for a light, but entertaining viewing. Maybe a little uneven in its vast context by trying to squeeze so much in, while sometimes wallowing on certain aspects /stars / films more so than some other deserving enterprises. So much is not touched upon, which can be disappointing if you're looking for a very in-depth analysis on the genre but at only 100 minutes is there was going to be plenty of significant topics on the cutting room floor. I didn't care all that much for the contemporary Hollywood influences (e.g. "Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon", "The Matrix", "Rush Hour 2"and "Charlie's Angels,") and the segments touching upon them. I got more out of the passages showcasing the pioneers of the genre focusing on Peking Opera's involvement and its gelling with the Shoalin temple. The interviews and footage were great though --- some rare shots too. Plenty of dynamically righteous combat on show. It was a treat. Especially seeing some of the silent features were interesting. There it looked at the influence and importance women had --- and how kung-fu were performed by actors and it wasn't until later on when professional martial arts students were used. Then it would focus upon instrumental factors including Bruce Lee (an iconic figure around the world), Shaw Brothers productions, and producer Raymond Chow, Sammo Hung, Jackie Chan (with his knack for humour) and John Woo. Unfortunately they only mentioned / showed Woo's American efforts "Face/Off" and "Mission Impossible II". There are a whole lot of riveting thoughts / interviews by the likes of Pei-pei Cheng, Chia Hui Liu, Stanley Tong, Cynthia Rothrock, David Carradine, Steven Segal (which his work isn't even mentioned or shown) and Ronny Yu. It's a curious look at the evolution of the experimental styles through the decades, but the spirit, the discipline and innovation remains intact within each new wave. Like they mention it's not just about fighting, it's a way of life and those concerned passionately embrace it.

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