Ultimately, the externalization of a character’s sense of honor through combat is what ties these movies to the martial arts genre. As characters fight they reveal their codes of honor and their motivations for fighting. When the audience sees a character acting with honor, they determine that person to be “good”; likewise, when they see a character acting without honor, they determine that that person is “bad”. The classifications of “good” and “bad” then help to dramatize the conflict between the characters, and create the conflict expected in the martial arts genre.
Martial arts films take the simplest struggle in human beings and personify it. Every choice that someone makes is the battle between good and evil. The choice that a person makes can be over a small or big topic, but in martial arts films, the topics are always large. They are as big as having the fate of a whole village or a whole tribe rest on the outcome of the fight of good versus evil. Ordinary people do not have to make such difficult decisions, however they are constantly fighting themselves over the choice to take the easy or hard path. Martial arts films make the choice look easy. The films glorify the good path and show people that when they make a good choice, they will be rewarded. The films also portray the person who takes the right path in a positive light. The protagonist, the good person, portrays every good, honorable, and moral quality that is associated with an ideal being. The bad guy is the exact opposite of the protagonist and will cheat and use unnecessary violence to get whatever his greed drives him to obtain. The bad character has often has no redeeming qualities. The message boils down to: good and moral people make good choices and get rewarded, while people who are greedy will make bad choices and will eventually face a violent demise. The simplicity of the message makes everyone be able to connect with the film and see themselves in the characters.