Favorite Martial Arts Movies of author S. Craig Zahler

Movies that showcase the skills of the performers and have strong fight sequences.
View:
Log in to copy items to your own lists.
1.
Once Upon a Time in China II (1992)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
In the sequel to the Tsui Hark classic, Wong Fei-Hung faces The White Lotus society, a fanatical cult... (113 mins.)
Director: Hark Tsui
 
2.
Once Upon a Time in China (1991)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Set in late 19th century Canton this martial arts film depicts the stance taken by the legendary martial... (134 mins.)
Director: Hark Tsui
 
3.
The Legend of Drunken Master (1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A young martial artist is caught between respecting his pacifist father's wishes or stopping a group of disrespectful foreigners from stealing precious artifacts. (102 mins.)
Director: Chia-Liang Liu
“ The hatchet gang sequence is the greatest fight sequence ever. I saw this movie 4 times in the initial release in Chinatown N.Y. at Sun Sing. ” - S_Craig_Zahler
 
4.
The 8 Diagram Pole Fighter (1984)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
The Yang family was the loyal strong-arm of the Imperial army. But a jealous General betrays the Eilte... (98 mins.)
Director: Chia-Liang Liu
 
5.
Dragons Forever (1988)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Three successful Hong Kong lawyers are hired by a chemical company of questionable ethics and must eventually make a difficult decision when their employer's motives become clear. (93 mins.)
“ Directed by Samo Hung, my favorite Hong Kong filmmaker and my favorite martial arts star. One of the only movies I ever sat in the theater to watch twice in a row. ” - S_Craig_Zahler
 
6.
Project A (1983)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Fighting against pirates in "old Hong Kong". Chinese costume drama with plenty of over-the-top tongue in cheek action and music. (105 mins.)
Director: Jackie Chan
 
7.
The Prodigal Son (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A rich man's son (Yuen Biao) believes himself to be the best kung fu fighter in Canton. Unfortunately... (104 mins.)
 
8.
The 36th Chamber of Shaolin (1978)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
The anti-Ching patriots, under the guidance of Ho Kuang-han, have secretly set up their base in Canton... (115 mins.)
Director: Chia-Liang Liu
“ A classic kung fu movie that deserves its reputation. Terrific training sequences. ” - S_Craig_Zahler
 
9.
The Way of the Dragon (1972)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
A man visits his relatives at their restaurant in Italy and has to help them defend against brutal gangsters harassing them. (100 mins.)
Director: Bruce Lee
 
10.
Ip Man (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
During the Japanese invasion of 1937, when a wealthy martial artist is forced to leave his home and work to support his family, he reluctantly agrees to train others in the art of Wing Chun for self-defense. (106 mins.)
Director: Wilson Yip
 
11.
Project A 2 (1987)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Dragon is now transferred to be the police head of Sai Wan district, and has to contend with a gangster kingpin, anti-Manchu revolutionaries, some runaway pirates, Manchu Loyalists and a corrupt police superintendent. (101 mins.)
Director: Jackie Chan
 
12.
Five Element Ninjas (1982)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A young martial artist seeks revenge on the Ninja who kills his martial arts brothers and teacher. He... (107 mins.)
Director: Chang Cheh
 
13.
Once Upon a Time in China III (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
Master Wong and his disciples enroll in the 'Dancing Lion Competition' to stop an assassination plot and to battle an arrogant, deceitful opponent. (109 mins.)
Director: Hark Tsui
“ Some great stuff and the introduction of Club Foot, but too much wire work to be as good as parts I & II. ” - S_Craig_Zahler
 
14.
SPL: Kill Zone (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
A near retired inspector and his unit are willing to put down a crime boss at all costs while dealing with his replacement, who is getting in their way. Meanwhile, the crime boss sends his top henchmen to put an end to their dirty schemes. (93 mins.)
Director: Yip Wai Shun
“ Some of the choreography is a bit too loose, but Samo is an excellent bad guy and the picture features a rare restrained performance by Simon Yam. Terrific ending. ” - S_Craig_Zahler
 
15.
Enter the Dragon (1973)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A martial artist agrees to spy on a reclusive crime lord using his invitation to a tournament there as cover. (102 mins.)
Director: Robert Clouse
 
16.
Crippled Avengers (1978)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Three men, crippled by an evil warlord, become friends and learn kung fu with the help of an old teacher and his idiot pupil. (107 mins.)
Director: Cheh Chang
 
17.
Spooky Encounters (1980)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Villager Bold Cheung (Sammo Hung Kam-Bo), known for his willingness to do anything courageous, bold or daring... (102 mins.)
 
18.
Eastern Condors (1987)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
An action film about a daring commando raid into Vietnam to destroy a munitions dump left behind by American marines. (93 mins.)
 
19.
Martial Outlaw (1993 Video)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  
A DEA agent and his brother, a Los Angeles cop, battle the Russian mafia. (86 mins.)
Director: Kurt Anderson
“ My favorite English language martial arts movie. Wincott is vicious. ” - S_Craig_Zahler
 
20.
Challenge of the Masters (1976)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
Teenager Wong Fei-hung is sent to train in the art of hung gar kung fu from his father's teacher, Luk Ah-choy. With training complete, Wong must fight an assassin and regain the honor of his school. (95 mins.)
Director: Chia-Liang Liu
 
21.
The Chinese Connection (1972)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
A young man seeks vengence for the death of his teacher. (102 mins.)
Director: Wei Lo
 
22.
Armour of God 2: Operation Condor (1991)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Agent Jackie is hired to find WWII Nazi gold hidden in the Sahara desert. He teams up with three bundling... (106 mins.)
Director: Jackie Chan
 
23.
Police Story (1985)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A virtuous Hong Kong police officer must clear his good name when the drug lords he is after frame him for the murder of a dirty cop. (101 mins.)
 
24.
Once Upon a Time in China V (1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  
Brand new epic adventure set during a tumultuous time in China, when left without a leader, the cavalry... (101 mins.)
Director: Hark Tsui
 
25.
Wheels on Meals (1984)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Cousins Thomas and David, owners of a mobile restaurant, team up with their friend Moby, a bumbling private detective... (108 mins.)
Director: Samo Hung
 
26.
Dirty Ho (1976)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A prince enlists a thief to serve as his bodyguard to protect him from assassins. (97 mins.)
Director: Chia-Liang Liu
“ Complicated choreography showcase, featuring amazingly interwoven trapping / joint locks and people used as props / weapons. Two long and unfunny slapstick "fight" scenes (with "comedy" groups) keep this from being at good as it might have been. But the fighting while drinking and fighting while shopping scenes are marvelous gems of invention. ” - S_Craig_Zahler
 
27.
Once Upon a Time in China and America (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
The story is set in both Hong Kong and the U.S. So goes to the U.S. to open a martial arts school. Around this time... (102 mins.)
Director: Sammo Hung
 
28.
Fearless (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A biography of Chinese Martial Arts Master Huo Yuanjia, who is the founder and spiritual guru of the Jin Wu Sports Federation. (104 mins.)
Director: Ronny Yu
 
29.
Gui ma tian shi (1984)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
(95 mins.)
Director: Cheung-Yan Yuen
 
30.
Blood and Bone (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
In Los Angeles, an ex-con takes the underground fighting world by storm in his quest to fulfill a promise to a dead friend. (93 mins.)
Director: Ben Ramsey
“ A movie that shows what Michael Jai White can do--- good acting and strong choreography. ” - S_Craig_Zahler
 
31.
Ip Man 3 (2015)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
When a band of brutal gangsters led by a crooked property developer make a play to take over a local school, Master Ip is forced to take a stand. (105 mins.)
Director: Wilson Yip
 
32.
The Big Boss (1971)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
A young man sworn to an oath of non-violence works with his cousins in an ice factory where they mysteriously begin to disappear. (100 mins.)
Director: Wei Lo
 
33.
Last Hurrah for Chivalry (1979)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
A son tries to avenge his father, and gets two sword fighters to help him. (106 mins.)
Director: John Woo
 
34.
Above the Law (1986)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Yuen Biao plays Jason Chan a lawyer, angry at the way the law seems to protect the bad guys, he decides... (102 mins.)
Director: Corey Yuen
“ Great Yuen Biao stuff and Cynthia Rothrock's shining moment. ” - S_Craig_Zahler
 
35.
BKO: Bangkok Knockout (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  
A group of "fight club" friends, whose styles vary from Muay Thai, Capoeira to Kung Fu and Tai Chi, must join forces and fight for their lives in a daring rescue of a kidnapped friend. (106 mins.)
Director: Panna Rittikrai
“ Incredible fights and great stunts in a movie with a terrible story and the homely cast of beat up stunt men. Oftentimes jaw-dropping, but you must accept a really terrible story, bad pacing and a tedious first 30 minutes. ” - S_Craig_Zahler
 
36.
Flash Point (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
A hot-headed inspector takes on a small but powerful Vietnamese-Chinese gang, after a series of crimes and murder attempts committed and putting an undercover cop and his girlfriend in great danger. (88 mins.)
Director: Yip Wai Shun
“ Some silly stuff in here, but really great stuff at the end. ” - S_Craig_Zahler
 
37.
Bloodsport (1988)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
Follows Frank Dux, an American martial artist serving in the military, who decides to leave the army to compete in a martial arts tournament in Hong Kong where fights to the death can occur. (92 mins.)
Director: Newt Arnold
 
38.
Mr. Nice Guy (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
A Chinese chef accidentally gets involved with a news reporter who filmed a drug bust that went awry and is now being chased by gangs who are trying to get the video tape. (88 mins.)
Director: Samo Hung
 
39.
The Blade (1995)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
After the master of the Sharp Manufacturer saber factory abdicates and appoints On, his least popular worker... (105 mins.)
Director: Hark Tsui
 
40.
The Grandmaster (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
The story of martial-arts master Ip Man, the man who trained Bruce Lee. (130 mins.)
Director: Kar Wai Wong
 
41.
American Ninja (1985)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  
American soldier, obviously very skilled in martial arts, single-handedly takes on mercenaries in the Philippines. (95 mins.)
Director: Sam Firstenberg
 
42.
Police Story 2 (1988)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
The Hong Kong super-cop must stop a group of blackmailing bombers at the same time that the villains of the first Police Story are out for revenge. (101 mins.)
Director: Jackie Chan
“ Some great usage of props, but one of the few later Jackie movies to employ undercranking to speed up the fights, which is disappointing. ” - S_Craig_Zahler
 
43.
Dragon Flies (1975)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
Hong Kong Inspector Fang Sing Leng travels to Australia to extradite a drug dealer. When the hood is assassinated on his way to court, everyone suspects Jack Wilton, a crime lord who the local police haven't been able to pick up. (111 mins.)
 
44.
Dreadnaught (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
A short-tempered, violent criminal named "White Tiger" is on the run from the police and joins a theater troupe for disguise... (91 mins.)
Director: Woo-Ping Yuen