Where Do Martial Art Movies Come From?

Raging Fire movie

Well Go USA Entertainment and Martial Arts Movies in the USA

Recently, I watched the movie Paper Tigers on Netflix. It is full of great action and it's very funny. A few days later, I watched Ip Man 4: The Finale. At the beginning of these films was an increasingly familiar logo consisting of an orange diamond with a W in the center. I noticed the logo at the beginning of many of the martial art films I've enjoyed over the past few years. Who are they? Are they a martial arts movie fan's lifeline to quality action films? I think so.

Both of the films mentioned above are distributed by Well Go USA Entertainment. For many viewers, understanding the significance of what Well GO USA does may not be readily apparent. Luckily, I was able to get in touch with CEO, Doris Pfardrescher, and get some insight into the company, what they do, and what the future holds for Well Go USA Entertainment and martial art/action films in North America.

What constitutes a Well Go USA film? What qualities does a film have to possess for you to pick it up?

As it relates to martial arts and Asian action films, we specifically look for movies that have great action choreography and a cast of both proven and emerging talent. It's true that we are always trying to find the biggest and best action movies coming out of Asia, but we also seek out new filmmakers who undeniably have an eye for the genre, an intimate familiarity with the smaller details of action filmmaking that often comes from their own experience as a martial artist. You can really pick out a director who has a true love for and knowledge of the genre and what it takes to make an awe-inspiring action movie, as opposed to someone just looking to get a film made. At the end of the day, our mission is to offer North American audiences access to films that get at the heart of why many people go into filmmaking in the first place

By adhering to the martial arts genre, and related genres, are you trying to fill a need in the US market, or create one?

I would say we are doing both. We've successfully built a brand around martial arts and Asian action movies, so obviously there's a need we are trying to fill, but at the same time, we want to tap into new audiences who may not yet know how much is there for them too. Whether it's currently well known or not, there really is something in martial arts movies for everyone. The tenets behind many forms of martial arts are relatable across culture, creed, interests, and beliefs, and there are so many ways to communicate stories of shared values that don't necessarily require a shared language.

You distribute films across all platforms. Now that Covid has become a real factor in everyone's life and business, are you finding theatrical releases are still the most popular? Or are viewers moving more toward other platforms such as streaming?

There is still so much uncertainty surrounding theatrical releases these days, and we—like everyone else in the industry—are just doing our best to roll with the punches and navigate through it all while also doing the utmost to help our theater partners during this time. We do feel that the theatrical experience is still a very important part of our release strategy as well as of the viewing experience overall, but we also understand that streaming has become the predominant form of audience viewing since the advent of the pandemic.

Are there any big plans for the last half of 2021?

In particular, we've been putting a lot of effort into developing our OTT channel Hi-YAH! TV—the only streaming channel currently dedicated exclusively to martial arts and Asian action films—and we are so excited to be able to give subscribers the opportunity to watch RAGING FIRE at no additional cost before it's available for rent or purchase on any digital or retail platform. We're especially proud to do so at a much more affordable price point than we've seen other studios set for tentpole titles. It makes perfect sense for us to debut this strategy with RAGING FIRE, which is not only the inimitable Donnie Yen's newest endeavor but also the final film of the late Benny Chan, and even includes a tribute to his legacy at the end. Hi-YAH! subscribers are loyal martial arts movie fans through and through, and if anyone should be offered the first crack at seeing this film on digital, it's this group of people who have such love for the genre and the talent and directors who bring those beloved stories to life.

What is next for the company?

We feel that we know and understand exactly what our fans are looking for, in part because they're so good about reaching out and letting us know—we do listen to their comments and suggestions, and we take those into account! Therefore, producing our own original content is a huge priority of ours, particularly as a means of further elevating the experience of Hi-YAH! subscribers. In fact, our Hi-YAH YouTube channel just recently reached 100k subscribers, which we think is indicative both of the fact that many fans are hungry for this type of content and of the reality that there are so many more martial arts and Asian action fans-in-training we have left to reach!

Check out Well Go USA Entertainment’s site here:


The Hi-YAH streaming service can be found here:


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