On top his dedication to authenticity on film, Bruce also did things like throw a particular kick seamlessly, 3 times in a row, which may seem like nothing to rave about in present times, but choreography wise, nobody was thinking like that and it was a visual treat. Still a true martial artist at heart, Bruce went on to invent his own form of fighting (Jeet Kune Do - The Way of the Intercepting Fist), which can be said to be a major link in the chain that leads to MMA (mixed martial arts) fighting styles, as the initial ethics are the same.
Bruce also goes on to write great philosophical books as well as concepts on fighting, directs his own movies Way of the Dragon and Game of Death. And though the latter title was never completed, the found footage of the pagoda fights, illustrate a never before seen combination of philosophy, fighting philosophy and martial arts action...if you watch the right version.
Bruce of course then stars in one the most enduring martial arts movies of all time - Enter the Dragon which becomes the template for a gazillion martial arts films that follow. Enter...makes him the first international Asian superstar (no disrespect Toshiro Mifune) and signifies the beginning of doors being opened to other Asian actors. He also fathers Brandon Lee who gives us Showdown In Little Tokyo, Rapid Fire and The Crow.
Bruce in Action
"He also came in with an absolute contrast to the flowery martial arts that was going on, bringing a hard, raw and real style, not just in his physicality, but in his emotional reactions."
Jackie Chan pushed the boundaries for acrobatic kung-fu, complex action scenes and comedy. For a long time he was the most daring and courageous actor in the world, partly because he is still a stuntman at heart. But Jackie has also proved himself in the fields of directing, producing and editing. In fact Jackie is the first person to show an action sequence happening 3 times, with 3 different camera angles, but having each edit start at the very beginning of the repeated scene (see Armour of God 2: Operation Condor). Jackie has also sung on many of his film's soundtracks and I personally credit him as being a pioneer of free running - think about it.
Jet Li has brought the traditional martial arts into modern day set films. He can make Wu-shu, Tai-Chi and Baghazhang fit in where they shouldn't and this has allowed him infiltrate the US market in a very unexpected way. His crossover audience is hard to fathom and is likely to have the same people who watch The One also watch The Sorcerer and the White Snake.
Donnie Yen I consider to be seriously underrated, as an actor and fighter. Little stints in films such as Blade 2 and Highlander: End Game did him no real international justice. But I was so glad with the worldwide success of IP Man, as it allowed Donnie to flex his fists of fury as well as his acting prowess for the world to see. As a director, he is committed to making scenes as original as possible and it's interesting to see him choreograph a scene, as when an actor comes up with an idea for the next move in a fight sequence, he will often ask 'why that move' because in his mind, the move has motive, so a punch is never just a punch and that is how dedicated he is to originality.