Another reason I love Kung Fu movies is that the stories are familiar. There's always an ancient character who is full of Deep Wisdom. The main character always feels out of place. Later he finds out why: he is really the grandson of Somebody Important (although they're not all named Luke) and is destined for The Great Thing. Then there is the relationship between a ShiFu (master) and the student. Most of the movie is spent chronicling how the talented but undisciplined/inexperienced young person comes to respect the master, overcomes great odds by learning the Great Truth, and Fulfills his Destiny.
In Kung Fu Panda, the Great Truth is "you can do anything if you believe in it." The juxtaposition of this very American idea with a classic Kung Fu movie jolted me. It's like going to a symphony concert in Carnegie Hall to find mahjong tables set up in the lobby. Or biting into a sushi roll and finding
This made me think about themes in fiction and how many of them are truly universal. Having lived in three countries, I am conscious of the differences, not only in vocabulary, but also the more subtle cultural undertones of the different groups. My book takes place in