As much as I like martial arts movies (American or East Asian) b/c not many ppl can accomplish such spectacular physical feats unlike a lot of the American sci-fi,drama and some action movies I'm more use to watching I find them particulary lacking when it comes to issues that cause thought-stirring even if it's mainly emotional.I guess the Matrix movies might sort of count but martial arts weren't the point of the movie but just the principle fighting method they decided to use for it's flashiness which is brought out even more by the special effects that come with that sci-fi world.
The only ones that I can think of that have messages are like in there own ways the original two Karate kid movies and the Jaden Smith remake to some extent by more so with Jet Li's Kiss the dragon.It shows you how a women was forced into the squalidness of prostitution and had her duaghter taken away by a brutal husband who an agent (Li) is working for intially but gets betrayed,has this women involved in his mission which suddenly doesn't become some run of the mill get in,get the job done,get out mission to do but it turns more personal for both of them.I'm sure there's some interesting undertones there.
I mean there's so much more potential to martial arts movies besides the usual stuff about fighting techniques and their accompanying philosophies,traditions,dynastic politics,honor and vengance.The last two are so cliche that when I see a trailer for an Asian historical action or martial arts movie (esp.when it's fictionalized stuff) I start thinking "please dont be about revenge and/or honor,please dont be about revenge and/or honor,please dont be about revenge and/or honor".
Revenge is just sssooo cliche doesn't it make anyone else feel like rolling their eyes and saying "COME ON!,CANT you be more creative?!?".I mean there's other East Asian movies that dont do martial arts but go into stuff like hope, reliability,compassion,love, the struggles of a whole family,venturing into unknown moral limits and happiness aren't there?.Also I've yet to see any historical action a/o martial arts movie that explains what honor is.I mean I'm sure we all know it's like a big thing in East Asian culture but in movies it's never really seems to go beyond beyond a hardly explained concept of worth or through some pomp and rhetoric some concept of an elusive and highly exalted nobleness.
If anyone can point out some martial arts movies that dont do one the revenge and honor tropes but somthing more different,please do tell.