Wu Xia Pien

The Mandarin term wu xia pian originally referred to the genre of martial arts films. "Wu xia" means chivalrous combat, and "pian" means film. It�s China's version of the Western, but instead of six-shooters and saloons, its swords and kung-fu. It's arguably the first form of martial arts film, with its origins dating back hundreds of years (in the form of literature and theater).

Which is probably why the film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon flopped in its homeland. To us Westerners, CTHD embodied a different culture with a familiar edge and it was a refreshing change from the typical Hollywood action flick. Critics and audiences alike hailed it as an original blurring between eastern and western cinema, but these types of films have been around for decades back in China.

That being said, CTHD is a particularly good example of the Eastern and Western combination that will hopefully improve both sides of the equation. I, for one, will certainly investigate the genre further, as doubtless others will, but CTHD is definitely going to be the standard by which the others will be judged.