Hollywood has a funny effect on film stars. Even on those from halfway around the world. Hollywood puts international celebrities on its own big screen, and suddenly they’re bigger than life.
Martial arts films may have originated in the Pacific Rim, but the degree of cult following they attained was pure Hollywood. There, film directors created a new class of movies built on martial arts moves and counter moves, good guys and bad guys, and questionable dubbing. In the process, they also produced a whole new generation of martial arts films, film stars and film fans.
Of course, Hollywood has many of it’s own western movie stars who have made it big busting martial arts moves. Chuck Norris, Wesley Snipes, G. J. Torres and Jean Claude van Damme have all taken the bad guys down with some mean kicks, chops and blocks.
But the undisputed real heroes of martial arts films remain the masters who originated in the east. Many of these national heroes have also graced Hollywood sets, and all enjoy a sizeable fan following. Here is a “who’s who” list of legendary artists and martial arts practitioners: