I think I'm about to embark on a wuxia binge(sure, I only have 3 series waiting, but I could probably make that last a month) As several people have friended me since I last watched wuxia(not that it's been that long) and some probably didn't know what I was talking about when I was posting, I have slapped together a wuxia guide-type post.
It ended up rather longer than planned, but is still much shorter than it could be. Here is wikipedia's entry on wuxia.meganbmoore
's much less informative but more succinct description: Wuxia are coming of age adventure stories set in ancient and medieval China. The heroes are (in my experience) usually young men raised in near or total seclusion, or who led simpler lives before starting on their adventures. Most are motivated either by a need to fulfill a promise to a parent or master, or by revenge(or both.) Though they don't always start out that way, they usually end up being one of the greatest fighter's of their time. Romance always plays some role, but with varying importance to the plot. Sometimes it will be a main focus, others, a more background thing. Most heroes, though, have several girls in love with them throughout the series. Some will love more than one girl(usually in succession, not simultaneously) and others (the good ones) will only love one girl throughout. If a series has 2 major heroes, there will usually be at least one of each kind. Some wuxia are straight up fantasy, and others historical dramas. Most, however, still have a touch of the fantastic, and all, even the most strictly historical, involve fantastical acrobatics, including impressive aerial feats(called "wire-fu.")
I'm not going to get into wuxia movies(except to say that Hero
seems to be the most popular but, IMO, none come close to matching up to Crouching Tiger/Hidden Dragon
) but most that have been released in the US in recent years-Crouching Tiger/Hidden Dragon, Hero, House of Flying Daggers, Curse of the Golden Flower
, etc.-are of the straight historical drama with amazing acrobatics variety.