The Top 250 Greatest Martial Arts Movies of All-Timeby Eric-Scissorhands | created - 16 Mar 2011 | updated - 21 Nov 2017 | Public
"Everybody was Kung-Fu fighting, Those cats were fast as lightning, In fact it was a little bit frightening, But they did it with expert timing..."
In a genre that can be as horrendous as it is pure genius no one can deny that Martial Arts Action Cinema has influenced some of the finest directors of the past 30 years. This is the definitive list of the Top 250 Greatest Martial Arts Movies from The East, to West, And Back Again....
Movies that fall under my "Martial Arts" category and will be considered and included here are as follows: Hand to Hand Combat, (Kung Fu, Hapkido, Filipino Kali, Jeet Kune Do, Muay Thai, Karate, Pankration, MMA, Etc...) Samurai, Ninjas, and Anything to do with Weapon Use & Swordplay.
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1. Fist of Fury (1972)
R | 107 min | Action, Drama, Romance
A young man seeks vengence for the death of his teacher.
I know its cliche to have one of Bruce Lee's films at the top, but who can argue with his impact? Seriously. There were martial arts films before him sure, however he is the sole reason the genre exploded in the 70's, and well after his death to even today and for many more years to come, He broke down racial barriers and became the first Asian Superstar the world has ever known, His work ethic and workout regime was ahead of its time, he founded his own form of Martial Arts, and came up with the concept of mixing different aspect from different forms from all over the world to make the most affective use in any situation, basically to adapt to any fighting method, which went on to of course inspire the UFC & MMA in general and for that reason he is being hailed as the "Father of Mixed Martial Arts" and his impact on POPULAR culture is incredible, especially with just 4 completed Kung Fu films under his belt.... Bruce Lee is the KING of KUNG FU Cinema and is arguably the greatest Martial Artist of the 20th century. He is a Philosopher, a Teacher, A Director, A Writer, An Actor, A MARTIAL ARTIST, An Inspiration, A Family Man, and A Legend. Its safe to say he influenced & inspired EVERYONE on this list.
As for Fist of Fury taking the top spot, i can tell you right now, it was a bitch ranking these films, especially the Top 10, they are ALL Masterpieces, and are interchangeable really, it just so happens im in a "Fist of Fury mood" at the moment and any of Bruce's films can and should be at the top anyway, doesn't matter which one, they are ALL land marks in cinema history as far as im concerned. This film may not be as polished as many other films on this list, it had a lower budget too, and sure, it feels a bit dated by today's standards. But there is no arguing at Bruce Lee being a timeless icon. His charisma, influence and overall skill is still unmatched today. Bottom line is, there would be no Jackie Chans, Van Dammes, And/or Jet Lis without this man and his contribution to the Martial Arts World & Cinema.
TRIVIA: -A Young Jackie Chan appears as an Extra.
-Jet Li Remade the film as "Fist of Legend." He then went on to film a "Prequel" in the form of "Fearless."
-Donnie Yen Also Remade it for TV as "Fist Of Fury: Sworn Revenge." He went on to film a Sequel entitled "Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zen."
2. Fearless (2006)
PG-13 | 104 min | Action, Biography, Drama
A biography of Chinese Martial Arts Master Huo Yuanjia, who is the founder and spiritual guru of the Jin Wu Sports Federation.
Votes: 69,176 | Gross: $24.63M
Based on the true story of real life martial arts master Huo Yuanjia.
This film is ranked at the # 2 spot after viewing the DIRECTORS CUT. The theatrical version was fine for casual movie goers and if i rank that version of the film on here it'd be at # 5, but if you fancy yourself a "martial arts movie fan" or a fan of GOOD CINEMA in general, pick up the DIRECTORS CUT, the one that opens and ends with a special cameo by Michelle Yeoh, features a deleted fight scene with a Muay Thai Boxer, and additional footage to help flesh out the story more and develop the characters. The Directors Cut in my honest opinion is Jet Li's Masterpiece. In it he expresses in-detail what he believes is the true meaning of "Wushu." It is a story about the journey on takes, Full of Tragedy, Self Growth, Perseverance, and Self Discovery. The Directors Cut is the only way to see this film, the story is alot more complete, the fights uncensored, uncut, and overall the film is that much more Beautiful in comparison to the butchered, dubbed, and dumbed down version released in theaters. I highly recommend you see the film the way Jet Li and the rest of the cast and crew originally intended it to be.
TRIVIA: -Huo Yuan Jia, the founder of the Jin Wu School, was the deceased master that Chen Zhen, also played by Jet Li in Fist of Legend aswell as Bruce Lee in Fist of Fury, seeks to avenge.
-With Fearless, Jet Li has now been filmed as all of the "big three" amongst the historical martial artists in Qing Dynasty (1645-1911) China, whose exploits has been novelized and dramatized many times. They are 1) Fang Shiyu (c.1700s) in the Fong Sai Yuk series, 2) Huo Yuanjia (1868-1910) in Fearless, and 3) Huang Feihong (1847-1924) in the Wong Fei Hung series.
3. Drunken Master II (1994)
R | 102 min | Action, Comedy
A young martial artist is caught between respecting his pacifist father's wishes or stopping a group of disrespectful foreigners from stealing precious artifacts.
Votes: 39,961 | Gross: $11.55M
Drunken Master II - "Old Wine in a New Bottle."
Rarely does a sequel ever surpass its predecessor. This is one of those rare cases. It's got everything the original had, and more. Anita Mui stands out for her hilarious performance as Wong Fei Hung's Mother, and the fight and action scenes are phenomenal, some of the BEST in the genre for sure. Ive seen this film dozens of times and i just never get tired of it. Its just that good. Keep in mind there are no Stuntmen, Wires, or CGI, everything Jackie does here and in most of his films are REAL. That's what makes him the BEST.
Jackie Chan was named the successor to Bruce, and its not because he copied his style, make no mistake, before the 1st Drunken Master he had his share of failed Bruce Lee Clone Projects, and it wasnt until he smartened up and did things HIS way did his career truly take off, everyone knows, there will never be another Bruce Lee, and as Jackie said himself, "I dont want to be the next Bruce Lee, i want to be the first Jackie Chan."
4. Ip Man (2008)
R | 106 min | Action, Biography, Drama
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.
Based on the true story of real life martial arts master Yip Man. (the man who trained & taught Bruce Lee Wing Chun.)
So you think the Hulk is fierce when hes angry? Wait till you see Ip Man's reaction after witnessing a Japanese school of martial artists kill off one of his friends. His fists become the equivalent of an rapid fire machine gun.
Donnie Yen FINALLY cements his place as one of the "greats" of the martial arts cinema world alongside Bruce, Jackie, Jet & Sammo among others. This is Easily Donnie Yen's BEST. The One he'll be remembered for...
An interesting bit of Trivia is that, although Donnie has been around since the 80's, 90s, and 00's, occasionally taking part in gems such as Hero & Iron monkey, it wasnt until this film did he achieve massive mainstream acceptance. In other words while his peers Jackie, Jet, & Sammo all peaked during their 20's, it wasnt until Donnie reached his late 30's did he reach his "peak" career wise with Ip Man. Some one even argue he only got better with age, which is a rare case in cinema period. This was the role he was born to play, and is currently continuing his winning streak by releasing some of the best martial arts movies today. After 3 decades in the business, and with Jackie & Jet releasing fewer and fewer action movies, he has finally earned the title as the top martial arts star in the world. A title first given to Bruce Lee, then to Jackie & Jet, And now on to Donnie.
5. Enter the Dragon (1973)
R | 102 min | Action, Crime, Drama
A martial artist agrees to spy on a reclusive crime lord using his invitation to a tournament there as cover.
Votes: 88,500 | Gross: $25.00M
The film that gained Bruce Lee World Wide Fame. He oozed charisma and stole every scene he was featured in.
NO list is complete without this, this film is truly a landmark in Cinema, and at one point i personally considered the greatest kung fu movie ever.
In 2004, Enter the Dragon was deemed "culturally significant" and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.
Its also worth noting all Three of the famous "Dragon Brothers" make appearances, Jackie Chan as Han's henchman in the cave, Biao Yuen as a Tournament Fighter, & Sammo Hung as the Shaolin fighter Bruce sparred with at the very beginning of the movie.
Their appearances are highlighted in this clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Z6z1b-q9u8
TRIVIA: In their one scene together, Lee actually struck Jackie Chan in the face with one of the fighting sticks he used. He immediately apologized and insisted that Chan would work on all of his movies after that, but he died before he could keep the promise.
6. The Raid 2 (2014)
R | 150 min | Action, Crime, Thriller
Only a short time after the first raid, Rama goes undercover with the thugs of Jakarta and plans to bring down the syndicate and uncover the corruption within his police force.
Votes: 104,147 | Gross: $2.63M
More than just a martial arts film, this movie is a crime epic in every definition of the word. With a pinch of Scorcese/Tarantino influence this movie takes place right after the first and almost feels like a completely different type of film while still keeping it in the same world. (Think how Nolan transitioned Batman Begins to The Dark Knight). While the first film was set in one location and was mostly non stop action from start to finish, this one is twice as long as the Raid Redemption and twice as epic. There are more characters introduced, more development and story driven, and dont worry, it has as much action as the first, maybe more, I will have to see it another hundred times to determine that.
Anyways, this is a sequel that joins the elite ranks of one of greatest action movies ever made IMO. Its even better than the original as hard as that is to believe. It takes all the bone smashing, jaw dropping fight scenes from its predecessor and builds on that.
Beautifully shot, acted, and scored there really isnt much to say other than holy *beep* that was a *beep* awesome thrill ride of a movie.
Highly recommended. ;)
7. Fist of Legend (1994)
R | 103 min | Action, Drama, Thriller
In 1937, a Chinese martial artist returns to Shanghai to find his teacher dead and his school harassed by the Japanese.
INTENSE. That's the word that best describes the fight scenes in this Jet Li classic. FYI this is a REMAKE of Bruce Lee's "Fist of Fury." & the unofficial sequel to "Fearless."
8. Kung Fu Hustle (2004)
R | 99 min | Action, Comedy, Fantasy
In Shanghai, China in the 1940s, a wannabe gangster aspires to join the notorious "Axe Gang" while residents of a housing complex exhibit extraordinary powers in defending their turf.
Votes: 116,287 | Gross: $17.11M
Stephan Chow's Comedic Martial Arts Masterpiece. See. it. now.
-Bruce Lee Tribute: When the Landlady is seated between the Boss and his assistant, she faces the boss, and mimics the gestures Bruce Lee used while also facing a crime boss in Way of the Dragon. She wags her finger at him, then closes both fists, then just the right (while knuckles cracking can be heard), she jerks her head up, and the boss nods he understands, then she thumbs her nose, exactly like Bruce Lee in The Way of the Dragon. Chow tends to reference Bruce in ALL of his films.
-As of 2005, this film had the widest cinematic release in the USA of a foreign language film.
9. Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior (2003)
R | 105 min | Action, Crime, Thriller
When the head of a statue sacred to a village is stolen, a young martial artist goes to the big city and finds himself taking on the underworld to retrieve it.
Votes: 67,479 | Gross: $4.56M
"Jackie Chan, Jet Li and Bruce Lee are my masters; they're the inspiration for my work. Bruce Lee was a heavy fighter who threw hard punches. Jackie moves very fast and uses a lot of comedy, and Jet Li is very fluid. I've tried to combine all of their styles and added some things of my own." - Tony Jaa
He learned from the best, and has now created one of the Best Martial Arts/Action movies of the decade.... Jaa is fantastic in this film. When i first saw it i truly didnt expect it to be as good as it was, the next Bruce Lee & Jackie Chan? NO! the one and only Tony Jaa!
10. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)
PG-13 | 120 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy
A young Chinese warrior steals a sword from a famed swordsman and then escapes into a world of romantic adventure with a mysterious man in the frontier of the nation.
Votes: 239,566 | Gross: $128.08M
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was a movie sensation, topping $100 million at the U.S. box office, the first foreign-language film to cross that mark. It elevated the Martial Arts epic to serious cinema, catapulting the genre into mainstream Western audiences.
How many martial arts films can you say have won multiple Oscars & Academy awards? Not very much...This however did just that. This is Ang Lee's Masterpiece. A modern-day 'wuxia' classic. Probably the most well known Wuxia Film ever.
11. Drunken Master (1978)
PG-13 | 111 min | Action, Comedy
Wong Fei-Hung (Jackie Chan) is a mischievous, yet righteous young man, but after a series of incidents, his frustrated father has him disciplined by Beggar So (Siu Tin Yuen), a Master of drunken martial arts.
Inspired by the "Early Years" of Legendary Martial Arts Figure and Grandmaster Wong Fei Hung.
This (along with Snake in Eagle's Shadow) are the two turning points in Jackie's Rich & Long History in 'the business.' He started off as a Stuntman and an extra appearing in blink and miss scenes in films that starred Bruce Lee & Sammo Hung. After Bruce's death he was just another face in the countless ocean of Bruce Lee clones, imitators who had no real future.
It wasnt until Jackie got a hold of his career and was given artistic freedom did he break free from all the other clones to set his own path to glory by his own style and terms.
This is a true classic and anyone and everyone whos even a little bit interested in the genre should grab a copy. Its got lots of the signature Jackie Humor, acrobatics, and choreography we all have come to love and expect from any and all of Jackie's Action pictures.
12. The Way of the Dragon (1972)
R | 90 min | Action, Adventure, Crime
A man visits his relatives at their restaurant in Italy and has to help them defend against brutal gangsters harassing them.
Bruce Lee's baby. He wrote, directed, & starred in this. Not to mention the Roman Colosseum fight scene alone almost made the world explode with its pure badassness. Bruce Lee VS Chuck Norris!
13. The Raid: Redemption (2011)
R | 101 min | Action, Thriller
A S.W.A.T. team becomes trapped in a tenement run by a ruthless mobster and his army of killers and thugs.
Votes: 175,454 | Gross: $4.11M
An instant classic, and one of the BEST action films made in the last decade or two. Pure adrenaline rush. Indonesia's Iko Uwais who made his film debut in "Merantau" takes it up a notch and delivers the goods. If youre an action junkie you wont be disappointed.
14. Police Story (1985)
PG-13 | 100 min | Action, Comedy, Crime
A virtuous Hong Kong Police Officer must clear his good name when the drug lord he is after frames him for the murder of a dirty cop.
Votes: 24,538 | Gross: $0.11M
I can honestly sum up the reason why you NEED TO SEE THIS FILM in three words:
THE. MALL. SCENE.
It has got to be one of the most incredible fight/action scenes of ALL TIME. Not to mention Jackie literally destroys an entire small village in the first major action scene alone. A Must See indeed.
15. Bruce Lee: A Warrior's Journey (2000 Video)
PG | 100 min | Documentary, Action, Biography
Legendary martial artist Bruce Lee is the subject of this thoughtful documentary by Lee aficionado John Little. Using interviews, behind-the-scenes footage and action sequences from Lee's ... See full summary »
Features Bruce Lee's COMPLETED Game of Death Sequences FULL & UNCUT. NO *beep* stand ins, cardboard cut-outs and/or look a likes, this is the real deal.
Forget the abomination the studio glued together called the "Game of Death" and see this version instead, its the way Bruce intended G.O.D. to be... or the closest we will ever get to it really.
16. Police Story 3: Super Cop (1992)
R | 91 min | Action, Comedy, Crime
A Hong Kong detective teams up with his female Red Chinese counterpart to stop a Chinese drug czar.
Votes: 17,656 | Gross: $16.27M
Jackie Chan & Michelle Yeoh make for an exciting pair here. Supercop, the 3rd film in the "Police Story" series if my favorite entry so far. Great characters, funny situations, and as always superb action.
What makes it stad out from Jackie's other films is atleast for me, his costar, Michelle Yeoh, who is the first and only one of his leading ladies to perform all her own stunts. That and their great chemistry together! its a shame they havent worked on more films outside of this and the spinoff. I loved watching them work off each other. Great stuff.
17. Hero (2002)
PG-13 | 107 min | Action, Adventure, History
A defense officer, Nameless, was summoned by the King of Qin regarding his success of terminating three warriors.
Votes: 165,631 | Gross: $53.71M
Like ALL Yimou Zhang films, this is a work of ART. the Cinematography is just masterful.
TRIVIA: -Jackie Chan was offered the role of the King but turned it down.
-Jet Li reportedly insisted that the role of Sky, which had been tentatively filled by a different actor, be given to Donnie Yen. Li and Yen had not worked together on a movie since Wong Fei Hung II: Nam yi dong ji keung (1992).
-Is the first foreign language film to open at #1 at the US box office.
18. Chocolate (2008)
R | 110 min | Action, Drama
An autistic girl with powerful martial art skills looks to settle her ailing mother's debts by seeking out the ruthless gangs that owe her family money.
Votes: 16,497 | Gross: $0.01M
From the Director of "Ong Bak:Muay Thai Warrior" comes the new Martial Arts Sensation from Thailand, Ms. Jeeja (or Jija) Yanin!
Jeeja Yanin, has been described as "the Female Tony Jaa" and i can honestly say its fitting. Like Jaa, she does ALL of her own stunts and fighting, Like Jaa, her films uses little to NO cgi effects and wires, and like Jaa, Jeeja's debut film, 'Chocolate' is mindblowingly good, especially for long time fans of hardcore wireless Martial Arts action. Not to mention theyre both from Thailand and work with the same directors. Thailand is quickly becoming the "new Hong Kong" in terms of the quality of above average martial arts spectaculars coming out in recent years, its very reminiscent to Jackie Chan & Michelle Yeoh back in their prime. And like Jackie & Michelle who joined forces in "Supercop," Tony & Jeeja WILL BE teaming up for the sequel to Tony Jaa's The Protector, The Protector 2... Lets just hope their chemistry is as good as Jackie & Michelle's in that film, because we all know they both have the skills and ability to blow us away with their crazy stunts, action, and fight choreography.
Bottom line, If you love martial arts films, Do NOT miss this, i can honestly say as a long time fan of the genre this is going to be a classic, and i look forward to seeing more of this upcoming star in the near future.
PS the final 30 minutes of the film is non stop action, one of the greatest climaxes of the decade IMO. Like stated earlier, very reminiscent to early Jackie Chan... Stunt wise.
TRIVIA: The film originally included Zen watching scenes from Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan movies (in addition to Tony Jaa), but these scenes were eventually cut due to licensing problems. These licensing problems also caused other scenes to be removed from the original movie. The ice factory scene was originally shot as a split screen of Zen imitating the exact same moves she had seen Bruce Lee do in a fight scene from the movie Tang shan da xiong (1971). It showed a clip of Bruce Lee doing his fight moves at the same time as Zen was mimicking Bruce Lee's moves. The warehouse scene was shot in a similar fashion, but this time it showed a split screen of Zen imitating Jackie Chan, wherein she would do her interpretation of a Jackie Chan fight routine. Eventually not only were the split screen scenes removed, but any scenes that involved Zen performing moves that too closely resembled fight sequences from Bruce Lee or Jackie Chan movies were all cut as well. The original full version that included these scenes has not been released anywhere in Thailand.
19. Dragons Forever (1988)
TV-14 | 102 min | Action, Comedy, Romance
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.
When the Dragon Gang gets together Magic Happens. The chemistry these three martial arts legends have are unmatched. This flick is hilarious & the fight scenes? good lord they rocked.
20. Heroes of the East (1978)
R | 105 min | Action, Comedy
A Chinese man (Liu) marries a Japanese woman through an arranged marriage and manages to insult all of her Japanese martial arts family by issuing a challenge to her that is misinterpreted ... See full summary »
the concept of displaying Chinese martial arts vs Japanese martial arts is extremely interesting. Plus the chemistry Gordon Liu & Yuka Mizuno share is fantastic. A Must See for fans of either Martial Arts Forms, Chinese, Japanese, or otherwise.
And yes, im aware most "Martial Arts Movie Purists" would give the nod to The 36th Chamber as Gordon Liu's finest work, and while i LOVE that film to death, i personally prefer this one.
21. The Protector (2005)
R | 111 min | Action, Crime, Drama
A young fighter named Kham must go to Australia to retrieve his stolen elephant. With the help of a Thai-born Australian detective, Kham must take on all comers, including a gang led by an evil woman and her two deadly bodyguards.
Votes: 33,412 | Gross: $11.91M
I consider this the true sequel to Ong Bak more than the actual sequel to Ong Bak. The one shot upstairs fight sequence is amazing. The Stunts? Incredible. Jackie Chan can rest easy and retire with the thought that Jaa will continue on in his place for the next generation of Action Movie fans.
The final 20 minutes are Bone Crushingly spectacular.
22. Wheels on Meals (1984)
TV-14 | 100 min | Action, Comedy, Crime
Two Chinese friends, who operate a food truck in Barcelona, Spain, use their martial arts expertise to help their private investigator friend protect the pickpocket Sylvia, who's been targeted by a ruthless gang.
Jackie Chan. Sammo Hung. Biao Yuen. - The Gangs all here.
Watching this film made me realize something, that the "dragon brothers" are so much like the Three Stooges in terms of physical comedy. They are their equal in hilariousness. They make me laugh like no other when the three of them are all together.
23. The 36th Chamber of Shaolin (1978)
R | 115 min | Action, Adventure, Drama
A man studies kung fu at the Shaolin Temple to fight back against the oppressive Manchu government.
The Shaolin training sequences are unforgettable. This is essential viewing for all martial arts movie fans.
24. Once Upon a Time in China (1991)
R | 134 min | Action, Adventure, Biography
Late 1800s Foshan, Guangdong: Wong Fei Hung/Jet Li trains men in martial arts to help defend against foreign powers already holding Hong Kong and Macau. He looks after cute 13th Aunt, who's just returned from England. Lots of fight scenes.
Based on the Real Life Story of Legendary Folk Hero and Martial Arts Master Wong Fei Hung.
The Once Upon A Time in China Series is seriously EPIC. An All time Great.
TRIVIA: According to the commentary on the Region 1 DVD, this movie started out as a proposed new film to star Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung, and Yuen Biao. Jackie would have played Wong, (which he'd previously played in Drunken Master), Sammo would have played Butcher Wing (as he did in Lin Shi Rong), and Yuen would be Lueng Foon (who played the role in Lin Shi Rong). This idea fell through and only Yuen Biao made it into the finished film.
25. House of Flying Daggers (2004)
PG-13 | 119 min | Action, Adventure, Drama
A romantic police captain breaks a beautiful member of a rebel group out of prison to help her rejoin her fellows, but things are not what they seem.
Votes: 102,074 | Gross: $11.05M
Another Yimou Zhang film. Beautiful.
TRIVIA: -The literal English translation of the Chinese title is "Ambushed From Ten Directions".
-Yimou Zhang conceived the story in the late 1990s as a companion to Ying xiong (2002) (aka Hero).
26. Tai-Chi Master (1993)
R | 96 min | Action, Comedy, Drama
Two friends, ex Shaolin monks, part ways as they brush with the ongoing rebellion against the government. The ambitious one rises up to be a powerful military commander, while his betrayed friend resorts to learn the calm ways of Tai Chi.
Jet Li + Michelle Yeoh = WIN.
This is a tale of Friendship and Betrayal. One of the best ever.
One thing you'll notice while watching this flick is the Matrix borrowed heavily from this, sure Woo Ping choreographed both films, but its pretty obvious how the fight scenes in both film are pretty similar... except that the ones featured here are superior in every way.
27. Ip Man 3 (2015)
PG-13 | 105 min | Action, Biography, Drama
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.
Votes: 38,369 | Gross: $2.68M
So I finally got around to watching this and I wasnt disappointed. It had everything that made Ip Man such an entertaining martial arts movie. Still not quite up there with the original IMO, but a definite improvement over 2, production wise anyway. The final fight scene, the fight scene with Ip man and Mike Tyson and Young Bruce Lee meeting Ip Man again were all A+ moments.
28. The 8 Diagram Pole Fighter (1984)
Not Rated | 98 min | Action, Drama
The Yang family was the loyal strong-arm of the Imperial army. But a jealous General betrays the Eilte Spearman and their father to the opposing Mongol army. After an ambush of a battle, ... See full summary »
The Yangs are a well-known family of soldiers in the service of the government but are betrayed by a government official conspiring with the Mongols. All of the Yang family males except the 4th, 5th, and 6th brothers are killed (played by Hsiao Ho (actor), Gordon Liu and Fu Sheng respectively). 4th brother is captured by the Liao and is not mentioned again (in the source story he marries a Liao princess and returns). Fu Sheng loses his mind after the death of his family, while the other brother (Gordon Liu), takes refuge in a temple to put his anger and past behind him. Liu’s superb martial arts skill, particularly with the quarterstaff, impress the temple’s senior monks. After refusing to leave the temple at first, Liu later fights for the right to depart after he learns that his sister has been captured by the conspirators and a senior monk is killed by the Mongols. Liu confronts the Mongols and during the ensuing battle to free his sister, the monks from the temple arrive to lend support and help him to defeat the Mongols.
29. Project A (1983)
PG-13 | 105 min | Action, Comedy
Fighting against pirates at the turn of the 20th century, the Hong Kong navy are failing miserably. It's up to Sergeant Lung (Jackie Chan) to take matters into his own hands.
INCREDIBLE Stunt and fight sequences. Stuff you'd expect from the masterful Jackie Chan. Sammo Hung And Biao Yuen stars as well, so you know youre gonna get some quality physical humor as well as brilliant stunts and action scenes.
30. Ip Man 2 (2010)
R | 108 min | Action, Drama, Sport
Centering on Ip Man's migration to Hong Kong in 1949 as he attempts to propagate his discipline of Wing Chun martial arts.
Votes: 86,330 | Gross: $0.21M
ALMOST as good as the first, not quite as awesome but still awesome none the less.
Plus Donnie Yen Vs Sammo Hung go for Round II! (they went head on in a little flick prior to this called Kill Zone.)
31. The Big Boss (1971)
R | 99 min | Action, Crime, Drama
A young man sworn to an oath of non-violence works with his cousins in an ice factory where they mysteriously begin to disappear.
The film was based on the true story of Cheng Chiu-on who fought the tyrants in Thailand. Cheng lived at the end of the 1800s and beginning of the 20th century. A memorial statue of him was erected in a garden in the Bangkok more than 80 years ago.
I dont give a damn what its listed as, this films title is THE BIG BOSS. Calling it FistS of Fury, never made sense to me, all it did was cause confusion with Bruce's follow-up to this Fist of Fury. Same goes for the renaming of Way of the Dragon to The Return of the Dragon in a low attempt at cashing in on Enter the The Dragon. KEEP THEIR ORIGINAL TITLES DAMMIT.
This is Bruce Lee's 1st movie as an adult (he was a child actor some time during his youth). AND the most bloody. It broke box office records in its first release and reintroduced the world to its first Asian Superstar aswell as its first Martial Arts Cinema Icon.
32. Legendary Weapons of China (1982)
R | 109 min | Action, Comedy, Drama
A band of killers from an ailing kung fu and magic society are sent on a manhunt for a former member of the society, whose bad mouthing threatens it's existence.
18 Weapons, 1 Fight.
The final 10-minute fight between the 50-year-old Liu and his real brother, Liu Chia-rong, features the most outstanding and authentic Chinese weapons choreography in the history of the genre. Each weapon is clearly demonstrated in one continuous scene that you wish would never end.
33. Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)
R | 111 min | Action, Crime, Thriller
After awakening from a four-year coma, a former assassin wreaks vengeance on the team of assassins who betrayed her.
Votes: 902,268 | Gross: $70.10M
Quentin Tarantino Pays "homage" to Asian Cinema.
I personally consider Both "Volumes" one long 4 hour Martial-Arts-Spaghetti-Western-Revenge EPIC.
While watching this film in the theater i had on the biggest grin, i couldnt help but whisper to myself, "Damn, Tarantino sure knows his *beep* - This film is like watching a 4 hour "best, of martial arts & Asian cinema," the countless amount of 'nods', 'homages', and 'references' were a blast to watch. The soundtrack is also damn near PERFECT for the mood, and for setting the tone of the film. I could not praise this film enough. Its just that damn good, especially for us movie nerds. Some of the films that got referenced that i immediately spotted include but not limited to are:
Lady Snowblood Various Shaw Bros. Kung Fu Films Samurai Fiction Bruce Lee Another Battle Sex & Fury Zatoichi Black Lizard The Streetfighter Sukeban Deka Master of the Flying Guillotine Tatooed Swordsman Lone Wolf & Cub Battle Royale Ichi the Killer Five Fingers of Death Samurai Reincarnation etc....
The anime sequence was awesome too, it was the icing to an already tasty cake.
BTW I recommend you pick up the Uncut, Uncensored JAPANESE release of the film, the color is restored during the final fight climax scene with the crazy 88.
34. Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004)
R | 137 min | Action, Crime, Thriller
The Bride continues her quest of vengeance against her former boss and lover Bill, the reclusive bouncer Budd, and the treacherous, one-eyed Elle.
Votes: 612,801 | Gross: $66.21M
I personally consider Both "Volumes" one long 4 hour Martial-Arts-Spaghetti-Western-Revenge EPIC.
Quentin Tarantino Pays "homage" to Asian Cinema.
This one showcased the 1 inch punch, made famous by Bruce Lee, and the AWESOME Gordon Liu, of 36 Chambers fame as the BEST character in the entire film. PAI MEI.
TRIVIA: -In order to achieve the specific look of Chinese "wuxia" (martial arts) film of the 1970s, Quentin Tarantino gave director of photography, Robert Richardson, an extensive list of genre films as a crash-course in the visual style they used. The list included films by genre-pioneers Cheh Chang and the Shaw Brothers. Tarantino also forbade the use of digital effects and "professional" gags and squibs. As such, he insisted that bloody spurts be done in the fashion made popular by Chang Cheh: Chinese condoms full of fake blood that would splatter on impact.
-Part of the movie was shot at the legendary The Shaw Brothers Creative Group studio in Hong Kong. Quentin Tarantino has seen so many movies made at the studio that he felt it was important for him to work there.
-Quentin Tarantino had intended for three actors of different nationalities to represent their respective countries. Chia Hui Liu represents China, Sonny Chiba represents Japan, and David Carradine represents the United States. Tarantino said that had Bruce Lee still been alive he'd have been asked to appear in Kill Bill as well.
-The Character Pai Mei is based on Pak Mei, the originator of the "White Eyebrow" kung fu technique. According to legend, Pak Mei was one of the few masters left following the decimation of the Buddhist temples, and later sold out other masters to save himself and his team during an attack they had mounted that subsequently went wrong. For this reason, Pak Mei Kung Fu has always been known as the "forbidden technique," and Pak Mei himself has been a villainous figure in Chinese folklore and film for hundreds of years.
35. The Man from Nowhere (2010)
R | 119 min | Action, Drama, Thriller
A quiet pawnshop keeper with a violent past takes on a drug-and-organ trafficking ring in hope of saving the child who is his only friend.
Votes: 54,997 | Gross: $0.01M
Tae-Sik Cha makes Jason Bourne look like an sissy-boy.
36. Unleashed (2005)
R | 103 min | Action, Crime, Drama
A man enslaved by the mob since childhood and raised into behaving like a human attack dog escapes his captors and attempts to start a new life.
Votes: 93,846 | Gross: $24.52M
"Chained by Violence. Freed by Music."
This is by far Jet Li's finest acting performance. The only film in his career that demands more range as a "serious actor" than anything hes starred in before or since... And he pulls it off quite well. The Martial Arts arent bad either, Woo Ping And Jet collaborates once again to choreograph some of the most vicious and exciting fight sequences produced.
The supporting cast is all star aswell and hits the ball out of the park. Bob Hoskins, Morgan Freeman, & Kerry Condon were all gave great performances.
37. Shogun Assassin (1980)
R | 85 min | Action, Adventure
When the wife of the Shogun's Decapitator is murdered and he is ordered to commit suicide by the paranoid Shogun, he and his four-year-old son escape and become assassins for hire, embarking on a journey of blood and violent death.
"He whips out his sword and relieves his victims of their heads!"
SHOGUN ASSASSIN is actually a re-released, dubbed version of the first two "Lone Wolf and Cub" films that came out from Japan in the Seventies.
I saw the original two films before seeing this recut, reedited and dubbed version, and i can honestly say i prefer this version, i usually prefer films in their native tongue however the lack of a soundtrack in the original had me literally falling asleep. The story is "dumbed" down here in the dub, but it really doesnt matter, the story wasnt very "intelligent" or complex to begin with, its supposed to be a straight out REVENGE flick. They cut out a few sex and rape scenes in this version aswell as altering or completely removing plenty of the original dialogue, which is refreshing for me, since i felt they were really unnecessary. They kept all the stuff i like from the original cut, which were the decapitation, blood, violence, and Action. But The main reason i prefer this cut is because of the introduction of Daigoro's narration, which isn't present in the original films. It adds a different dimension to the story that it changes the whole tone of the film.
Besides bad dubbing, this flick is better edited, scored, and just an easier place to start. If you like this film then im sure youll hunt down the rest of the "Lone Wolf & Cub Series." like i did... Theres 6 movies in all.
38. Iron Monkey (1993)
PG-13 | 85 min | Action, Crime, Drama
A martial artist/doctor steals from the corrupt authorities as a masked thief to give to the poor while another martial artist/doctor is forced to hunt him down. But a major threat unites them as a powerful and traitorous shaolin monk takes over the authorities.
Votes: 14,635 | Gross: $14.68M
Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. This is Pure Wire Fu Greatness. Its kinda like a prequel to Jet Li's Once Upon a Time in China Series. A young Wong Fei Hung is featured here before he went on and became an legendary figure in martial arts history.
This could also be described as The Chinese Robin Hood.
39. Five Deadly Venoms (1978)
R | 97 min | Action
The final student of a dying martial arts master is instructed to locate the previous five students and defeat any evil ones among them.
A Shaw Bros Classic and fine piece of Chinese story-telling.
Now while ill admit, most Kung Fu flicks especially those from the 70s & 80s lack any real "story" or "plot" and that the filmmakers are more concerned with the fight choreography & ACTION, not that different from say... Porn. Theres the 1 on 1, 2 on 1, then the group scene right?
This film is an exception. It has a well thought out plot, lots of character development and of course delivers the action only Hong Kong Cinema brings the action.
40. The Street Fighter (1974)
R | 91 min | Action, Crime, Thriller
Tough karate master Terry Tsurugi takes it upon himself to protect a late businessman's daughter from the Yakuza.
Do not confuse this with the crappy video game adaptation featuring Van Damme. This one grabs you in the nuts and ripps your balls off. Plus Sonny Chiba makes some of the funniest faces and battle cries since the legendary Bruce Lee. A personal favorite.
TRIVIA: -The blind assassin wielding a cane sword appears to be an obvious reference to the Zatoichi blind swordsman films starring Shintarô Katsu.
-First film to ever get an X rating for violence.
41. Come Drink with Me (1966)
Not Rated | 95 min | Action, Crime
A group of bandits kidnaps the governor's son and demands their imprisoned leader to be set free in exchange.
The one that started it all.
This classic directed by the legendary King Hu stars kung fu’s first screen queen, Cheng Pei-pei. She plays the mysterious swordswoman Golden Swallow, who tries to free a kidnapped official held in a Buddhist monastery. It set new standards for martial arts movies as its 20-year-old star became the most renowned kung fu heroine in martial arts cinema history. With fight direction by Hang Ying-jie (the big boss in Bruce Lee’s The Big Boss), Come Drink With Me inspired Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, which is why Lee insisted on casting Cheng as the treacherous Jade Fox.
42. Warriors Two (1978)
R | 95 min | Action, Drama
Beloved for its combination of thrilling combat choreography and hilarious physical comedy, the film tells the story of a humble cashier who discovers a plot to kill his small town mayor.
Sammo Hung Kicks Ass - Shaw Bros Style!
This flick while not really a Shaw Bros production really feels like a Shaw Bros film, from the look, feel, plot, everything is reminiscent and can be easily mistaken as one of their classics.
This film has some of the best Wing Chun action around.
I for one firmly believe Sammo Hung is just as talented as a film maker and as an martial artist as Jackie Chan. Both Legends in my Book.
43. My Young Auntie (1981)
Not Rated | 121 min | Action, Comedy
Cheng Tai-Nan (Kara Hui) is an honest and faithful servant of a dying patriarch who wants nothing more than to protect his vast wealth from his selfish, conniving nephew, Yung-Sheng. ... See full summary »
A Personal Favorite, this is a Charming Tale of an Odd Generational Gap. What makes this film work is the always great Kara Hui as the "Young Auntie." Her Martial Arts skills is as magnificent as her Beauty. the film revolves around its provincial protagonist, who struggles to find her way in Americanized Canton. Unlike most "kung-fu comedies," the action scenes are used to reinforce the comedy, instead of the other way around.
Oh and BTW I think its worth mentioning Gordon Liu has an amusing cameo. Complete with a ridiculous looking wig, a mustache, a guitar, and a dance number!
44. The Blade (1995)
105 min | Drama, Action
After the master of the Sharp Manufacturer saber factory abdicates and appoints On, his least popular worker, as his successor, On, unwilling to lead his surly colleagues, embarks on a ... See full summary »
Maybe the Greatest Wuxia film of the 90's.
Tsui Hark’s visceral retelling of The "One-Armed Swordsman."
45. 13 Assassins (2010)
R | 141 min | Action, Adventure, Drama
A group of assassins come together for a suicide mission to kill an evil lord.
Votes: 58,045 | Gross: $0.80M
A classic samurai tale that, while very similar to Akira Kurosawa’s “Seven Samurai” in spirit, is actually a remake of the 1963 film by Eiichi Kudo. It’s a first for Miike, but he still puts his stamp on the material with some great visuals, buckets of blood, and one of the best (and without a doubt longest) fight sequences of the last 30 years.
46. Snake in the Eagle's Shadow (1978)
PG | 90 min | Action, Comedy