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Thursday, May 23, 2024

The top-rated movies in the genre of martial arts.


The plot revolves around the heroic Yang Family, which defended the Song dynasty against foreign invaders. It is also a study on loyalty to family, group and country. It is a must-see for fans of martial arts movies.This one is unconventional, as it portrays the Japanese not as outright villains but simply aggrieved, honourable fighters.If we’re talking about Muay Thai, people know about it mostly due to this movie. The story is about three 19th-century warriors whose loyalty and vitality are tested by a series of events that lead each to contemplate their many life decisions that brought them to that point.
To celebrate the genre, we’ve picked out some of our favorite martial arts movies of all time. These include some of the genre’s greatest hits as well as some of the lesser-known films that are still great.Yes Madam is a classic of Hong Kong action cinema, one of the first female kung fu movies to feature hard kicking women and a big step forward for the burgeoning “Battling Babes” genre. Released in 1985 and now available on Blu-ray by Eureka Entertainment, Yes Madam is a must see for anyone interested in martial arts films.This is a film of epic scope told through small moments and even smaller gestures.

It chronicles the narrative and experiences of Ip Man leading up to his passing.

The film features a classic scene, in which Hung defends himself with skill and humour while simultaneously completing a piece of calligraphy.

11 – The Raid 2 (2014)

It’s just amazing and so fun to watch.

17 – Warriors Two (1978)

And it’s definitely a jewel: The blind one, the deaf mute, the one without legs, and the brain-damaged “idiot”: together, they make an unstoppable force of vengeance against the local martial arts master who crippled them, and his son, who ironically lost his arms at a young age.So sit back, relax, and prepare to be entertained!

Traditional wing chun is actually very rare to see on screen.

Everything we love about martial arts movies is here.It’s the definition of a kung fu people-pleaser. You might remember the release of the U.S version, due to the efforts of Quentin Tarantino to get an appropriate theatrical release in America.Although there are only so many words to use to describe how Tsui, in barely 10 years, had established himself as an incomparable master of the Golden Age of Hong Kong cinema, there are probably no words to properly express the effortless beauty of some of Tsui’s images, spread all over the film.

“An invincible engine of destruction wreck his way through everything in his path” is a good description for this one.

A Shaw Brothers classic that suffered the tragedy of one of its stars dying during filming, The Eight Diagram Pole Fighter is a brutal and action-packed kung fu epic. It features some of the most spectacularly choreographed fight sequences in the history of the genre.

18 – Magnificent Butcher (1979)

Tod and Copper, the puppy, form an immediate bond that is tested as Copper learns that his master is a hunter and will hunt Tod for revenge. Eventually, Copper learns to ignore Tod and the two animals become friends again.

Berry Gordy, the founder of Motown Records, co-produced this bizarro movie that mixes martial arts and music in a jaw-dropping mix that must be seen to be believed. The Last Dragon was a box office hit for its time and remains an instant cult classic.

And it’s not only a Jackie Chan movie, it’s the best Jackie Chan movie. Here, the master leads as Wong Fei Hung, a Chinese folk hero who employs his Zui Quan (Drunken Boxing) skills to stop the corrupt British consul set on illegally exporting Chinese artifacts out of the country.Although nearly all the action sequences are wonderfully exhaustive and memorable, the final fight is a breathless show-stopper.The battle that takes place in A Touch of Zen is not so much between political factions vying for power, but between two systems of social order. One respects the intrinsic nature of things, while the other attempts to replace and dictate the natural world in order to claim dominance.

If you need something new to watch tonight, take your pick from our list of the best martial arts movies! We hope this helps you find your next favourite movie. 

Even if you’re not into the kung-fu/martial arts world, you’ve definitely heard the name of the movie before, or you’re aware that Bruce Lee is in it.These movies are among the most exhilarating and intense ever produced, guaranteed to make your pulse race.

A movie that just plays it cool, until the final 25-minute series of fight scenes.

3 – Enter The Dragon (1973)

6 – Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)

In this classic movie from mainland China, Jet Li stars as a young man who is taken into the Shaolin temple by monks to train in kung fu. He trains to avenge the death of his father.
Tony Jaa’s performance is epic in all three of the movies of the franchise, even earning the title of “the long overdue answer to Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan”.

Final Thoughts

Featuring another one of the true greatest: Jet Li. And it’s just a masterpiece.
Hung stars as a literal butcher who has learned the ways of kung fu from folk hero Wong Fei-hung, played here by the truly magnificent Kwan Tak-hing.

2 – The 36th Chamber of Shaolin (1978)

A female protagonist at the head of an army, basically set the world so that Kill Bill could happen some years later.
No Kung-Fu-movies list could be finished without an appearance of one of the greatest: Jackie Chan.Not only the highest-grossing foreign film ever, but also happens to be yet another foreign film that changed the cinematic landscape: a kung fu flick with pulpy soul and a romantic heart.

Gordon Liu plays a young student who is wounded when his school is culled by the Manchu government, so he flees to the Shaolin temple.

The kung fu movies of the 1980s and 1990s made millions for Chinese and Hong Kong film studios. Now, Shaolin is cashing in on the popularity with a series of big-budget fight films that will pit its rivals’ strength against it by recruiting world-famous actors and directors.This is a timeless masterpiece. It’s filled with unforgettable scenes and battles, like the climactic showdown between Han and a one-handed Lee, or when Lee takes on numerous henchmen in the depths of the fortress (even defeating a young Jackie Chan, who has his neck broken).It’s the rare film where those training sequences actually outshine the traditional fights, because they’re just so beautiful, fluid and inventive.

Taimak Guirriello stars as Bruce “Leroy” Green, a martial arts buff who seeks the exalted station of the last dragon. He must battle crooked arcade king Eddie Arkadian and the evil Sho’ Nuff to obtain the mystical glow.

13 – Ong Bak (2003)

8 – Five Element Ninjas, AKA Chinese Super Ninjas (1982)

14 – Fist of Legend (1994)

16 – The Grandmaster (2013)

7 – Drunken Master 2, AKA The Legend of Drunken Master (1994)

Come Drink With Me not only broke the wuxia mold, it practically created it.The film combines elements of wuxia, gangster and police action in an engaging and fun-filled tale about a pair of hard kicking women cops who get the job done. It is a film that has something for everyone, from a triad boss’s hyena cackle to Michelle Yeoh’s fierce, kick-in-the-heart performance.Do you enjoy watching movies about martial arts? If the answer is yes, then you’ll definitely appreciate this compilation of the greatest martial arts films ever made.

1 – Five Deadly Venoms (1978)

The movie centers on Phillip Kwok’s captivating character, who impresses with his confidence and remarkable physical prowess. Despite having a convoluted storyline, this Shaw Brothers martial arts film boasts exceptional combat sequences featuring a talented ensemble cast.

5 – Crippled Avengers (1978)

A sweeping historical drama with a rather confusing plot, but if you need to tell the synopsis for the class, there are multiple clans vying for possession of a scroll.
Don’t settle for the American version featured on Netflix, look for the Chinese original and you’re in for a treat. There are tons of flashy swordplay and lots of wire-aided fight scene craziness. Well, just another of Jet Li’s greatest films.The second movie in the franchise is good enough to reach #5 on this list. But the original is just a cult movie.

 When talking about crazy and visceral fight choreography, you must talk about this one.

There are 36 chambers, in which he must toil to discipline his body, mind, reflexes and will. As classic as it gets.The use of stunts and special effects contributed to the creation of some of the most memorable moments in martial arts films.Wood ninjas pose as trees and use claws to slash and tear. And finally, the supremely goofy Earth ninjas are somehow able to tunnel through solid soil like freaking earthworms and explode out of the ground with an almighty bang.

Western movies could never compare to this.

19 – Swordsman 2 (1992)

The Grandmaster is a gorgeously paced historical epic told in patient piecemeal. From the opening to the end, it’s beautiful filmmaking.You might remember the more politically correct title for this movie: Return of the 5 Deadly Venoms.

It perfectly balances the tribute to Japanese and Chinese martial arts with all the visceral fight scenes that are Tarantino’s trademark. A must-watch.

Funnily enough, Jet Li played the part of the student and the master. His character is the student of his 2006 character in Fearless, Huo Yuan Jia. 

20 – Come Drink with Me (1966)

What can we say about Enter the Dragon that hasn’t been said already?We get an amazing contrast in styles, and fights that pit balanced elements of combat against one another—for example, Chinese drunken boxing vs. Sino-Okinawan karate.Through the use of genre borrowings, Kung Fu Hustle creatively transforms Hollywood and Mainland Chinese cinema to construct a visually refreshing and politically critical cinematic narrative. It does so by intersecting a range of temporal, spatial, political and cultural contexts in order to comment upon the world.

Each group of ninjas has their own absurd costumes and ridiculous quirks: Gold ninjas use their shields to blind enemies. Water ninjas use snorkels and pull opponents down underwater to drown them. Fire ninjas use smoke shields to hide and move.

The masks, the fighting scenes, the mythology. This movie is emblematic of an entire era of Hong Kong cinema and the joy they took in delivering beautiful choreography and timeless stories of good vs. evil.

4 – Once Upon a Time in China (1991)

For example, Jaa ascending from the bottom of a tower to the top, fighting dozens of mooks in a single, unbroken shot that lasts four minutes.

Based on a popular Louis Cha wuxia novel, Sword Stained With Royal Blood is a sprawling epic. It’s a bit convoluted, but it’s also massively entertaining.After toiling as a labourer, he is finally granted the right to learn kung fu, which begins the film’s famous training sequences.Kung Fu Hustle is the second movie from Hong Kong’s King of Comedy, Stephen Chow. It combines elements of Western gangster films, musicals, slapstick and martial arts inspired sci-fi movies to evoke an imaginary Shanghai in the 1940s.

It’s just a funny, classic story, worth watching.Let us know if there’s anything else we should add in the comments section at the bottom!

1. The Eight Diagram Pole Fighter (1978)

Essentially a remake of Bruce Lee’s Fist of Fury, with some really fancy fighting. I mean, Jet Li really knows how to kick some asses in this movie.The Raid (2008) gave us Silat and Iko Uwais, but the sequel that came out six years later gave us one of the most thrilling, martial arts movies ever made.

2. The Shaolin Temple (1989)

10 – Iron Monkey (1993)

Purely entertaining, Iron Monkey never takes itself overly seriously, striking an easy-going balance between hyper-kinetic, somewhat unrealistic action and a broadly appealing, Robin Hood-like story.

3. Sword Stained With Royal Blood (1980)

15 – Heroes of the East (1978)

After a mother fox and her young kit are chased by hunters and hounds, they hide in tall grass near a farm. When a shot rings out, they are saved by a kindly owl named Big Mama (Pearl Bailey).

4. A Touch of Zen (1993)

No Jet Li, no Jackie Chan, no Bruce Lee. Uma Thurman in her yellow suit with a sword in her hand is just iconic.

12 – Kill Bill Vol. 1 & 2 (2003-2004)

A bit of a crazy movie, but that’s what kung-fu movies are all about. The story revolves around a few young fighters seeking vengeance against a ninja clan that massacred their classmates, but it’s the villains that really stand out.Well, that’s if we’re not talking about Warriors Two, a modest, straightforward story of a young man training in martial arts to protect a town, featuring quite a lot of authentic wing chun, in the style which master Ip Man would have taught to a young Bruce Lee.

6. Kung Fu Hustle (1988)

A Touch of Zen is an action-adventure film with a strong spiritual element. A Ming dynasty noblewoman must escape from an evil eunuch, seeking refuge at a decrepit town where she gets assistance from a naive scholar & a group of mysterious yet powerful monks.

9 – Tom-Yum-Goong, AKA The Protector (2005)

Martial arts films are an integral part of the history of action movies. And while some are more dramatic than others, all of them have a storied history of great fights and memorable characters.Even if you’ve never seen it, when thinking about a martial arts film, it probably looks like this one.

8. Yes Madam (1998)

Oh, the seventies. Those were the days. At least when we talk about awesome, kung-fu movies.It’s just different when you watch it, but still a work of art.

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