Concept

Gun fu

Summary
Gun fu, a portmanteau of gun and kung fu (also known as gun kata, bullet ballet, gymnastic gunplay and bullet arts), is a style of sophisticated close-quarters gunfight resembling a martial arts battle that combines firearms with hand-to-hand combat and traditional melee weapons in an approximately 50/50 ratio. It can be seen in Hong Kong action cinema, and in American action films influenced by it. The focus of gun fu is both artistic style and the usage of firearms in ways that they were not designed to be used. Shooting a gun from each hand (usually paired with jumping to the side at the same time), dual wielding, shots from behind the back, as well as the use of guns as melee weapons (usually knife fights) are all common. Other moves can involve submachine guns, assault rifles, combat shotguns, rocket launchers, and just about anything else that can be worked into a cinematic shot. It is often mixed with grappling maneuvers. Gun fu has become a staple of modern action films due to its visual spectacle, a result of often impressive choreography and stuntwork, regardless of its unrealistic elements when compared to real-life gun warfare. As the name suggests, gun fu has roots in martial arts films from Hong Kong action cinema, including wuxia films and kung fu films from the likes of Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan. These films typically involved martial artists fighting large numbers of enemies in stylized choreographed action set-pieces, with a fighting style that lay somewhere between brawling and dancing. Hong Kong filmmaker John Woo, who began his career directing martial arts films, took the martial arts style of action and added guns, combining the elegance and precision of kung fu with the brutality and violence of gangster films. John Woo originated the style that would later be called gun fu in the 1986 Hong Kong action film A Better Tomorrow. The film launched the "heroic bloodshed" genre in Hong Kong, and gun fu action sequences became a regular feature in many of the subsequent heroic bloodshed films, which combined the elegance and precision of kung fu with the brutality and violence of gangster movies.
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