Chinese Martial Arts Film and the Philosophy of Action  book cover
1st Edition

Chinese Martial Arts Film and the Philosophy of Action

ISBN 9780367474157
Published March 30, 2021 by Routledge
174 Pages 28 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This book focuses on the philosophy of Chinese martial arts film, arguing that philosophy provides a key to understanding the whole genre. It draws on Chinese philosophical ideas derived from, or based on, Confucianism, Daoism, Buddhism, and other schools of thought such as Mohism and Legalism, examines a cluster of recent Chinese martial arts films centering on the figure of the xia—the heroic protagonist, the Chinese equivalent of medieval Europe’s knight-errant—and outlines the philosophical principles and themes undergirding the actions of xia and their narratives. Overall, the author argues that the genre, apart from being an action-oriented entertainment medium, is inherently moral and ethical.

Table of Contents


1. The Assassin and the Philosophy of Non-Action

2. Shadow and the Mandate of Heaven

3. Seven Swords and Confucian Militarism

4. Buddhist Impermanence and Martial Arts in The Grandmaster

5. The Final Master: A Novel Permutation on the Mohist Youxia

6. Wolf Warrior II: Latter-day Youxia

7. Conclusion

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Stephen Teo is Associate Professor in the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.