Favorite Martial Arts Movies of Author, Brawl in Cell Block 99 & Bone Tomahawk writer/director S. Craig Zahler

by S_Craig_Zahler | created - 27 Oct 2012 | updated - 19 Feb 2018 | Public

Movies that showcase the skills of the performers and have strong fight sequences.

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1. Once Upon a Time in China II (1992)

R | 113 min | Action, Adventure, Biography

In the sequel to the Tsui Hark classic, Wong Fei-Hung faces The White Lotus society, a fanatical cult seeking to drive the Europeans out of China through violence, even attacking Chinese ... See full summary »

Director: Hark Tsui | Stars: Jet Li, Rosamund Kwan, Siu Chung Mok, David Chiang

Votes: 8,452

2. 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.

Director: Hark Tsui | Stars: Jet Li, Rosamund Kwan, Biao Yuen, Jacky Cheung

Votes: 16,126

3. Drunken Master II (1994)

R | 102 min | Action, Comedy

74 Metascore

A young martial artist is caught between respecting his pacifist father's wishes or stopping a group of disrespectful foreigners from stealing precious artifacts.

Directors: Chia-Liang Liu, Jackie Chan | Stars: Jackie Chan, Ho-Sung Pak, Lung Ti, Anita Mui

Votes: 40,440 | Gross: $11.55M

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.

4. 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 »

Director: Chia-Liang Liu | Stars: Chia-Hui Liu, Sheng Fu, Lily Li, Kara Wai

Votes: 2,293

5. 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.

Directors: Sammo Kam-Bo Hung, Corey Yuen | Stars: Jackie Chan, Sammo Kam-Bo Hung, Biao Yuen, Pauline Yeung

Votes: 6,520

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.

6. 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.

Directors: Jackie Chan, Sammo Kam-Bo Hung | Stars: Jackie Chan, Sammo Kam-Bo Hung, Biao Yuen, Dick Wei

Votes: 13,499

7. The Prodigal Son (1981)

R | 100 min | Action, Comedy

A rich man's son (Yuen Biao) believes himself to be the best kung fu fighter in Canton. Unfortunately, his father, anxious for his son's safety, bribes all his opponents to lose. After a ... See full summary »

Director: Sammo Kam-Bo Hung | Stars: Biao Yuen, Ching-Ying Lam, Sammo Kam-Bo Hung, Frankie Chan

Votes: 2,720

8. 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.

Director: Chia-Liang Liu | Stars: Chia-Hui Liu, Lieh Lo, Chia Yung Liu, Norman Chu

Votes: 13,152

A classic kung fu movie that deserves its reputation. Terrific training sequences.

9. The Way of the Dragon (1972)

R | 90 min | Action, Adventure, Crime

58 Metascore

A man visits his relatives at their restaurant in Italy and has to help them defend against brutal gangsters harassing them.

Director: Bruce Lee | Stars: Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris, Nora Miao, Ping Ou Wei

Votes: 28,959

10. Ip Man (2008)

R | 106 min | Action, Biography, Drama

59 Metascore

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.

Director: Wilson Yip | Stars: Donnie Yen, Simon Yam, Siu-Wong Fan, Ka Tung Lam

Votes: 197,597

11. Project A 2 (1987)

PG-13 | 101 min | Action, Comedy, Crime

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.

Director: Jackie Chan | Stars: Jackie Chan, Maggie Cheung, Rosamund Kwan, Carina Lau

Votes: 8,304

12. Five Element Ninjas (1982)

R | 107 min | Action, Drama

A young martial artist seeks revenge on the Ninja who kills his martial arts brothers and teacher. He finds help in the form of a new teacher (who knows Ninjitsu) and new brothers. Together... See full summary »

Director: Cheh Chang | Stars: Tien-Chi Cheng, Tien Hsiang Lung, Meng Lo, Michael Wai-Man Chan

Votes: 1,839

13. Once Upon a Time in China III (1992)

R | 109 min | Action, Adventure, Biography

Master Wong and his disciples enroll in the 'Dancing Lion Competition' to stop an assassination plot and to battle an arrogant, deceitful opponent.

Director: Hark Tsui | Stars: Jet Li, Rosamund Kwan, Siu Chung Mok, Xin Xin Xiong

Votes: 5,973 | Gross: $3.56M

Some great stuff and the introduction of Club Foot, but too much wire work to be as good as parts I & II.

14. SPL: Kill Zone (2005)

Not Rated | 93 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

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.

Director: Wilson Yip | Stars: Donnie Yen, Simon Yam, Sammo Kam-Bo Hung, Jing Wu

Votes: 10,690

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.

15. Enter the Dragon (1973)

R | 102 min | Action, Crime, Drama

83 Metascore

A martial artist agrees to spy on a reclusive crime lord using his invitation to a tournament there as cover.

Director: Robert Clouse | Stars: Bruce Lee, John Saxon, Jim Kelly, Ahna Capri

Votes: 89,612 | Gross: $25.00M

16. Crippled Avengers (1978)

R | 107 min | Action, Drama

Three men, crippled by an evil warlord, become friends and learn kung fu with the help of an old teacher and his idiot pupil.

Director: Cheh Chang | Stars: Kuan-Tai Chan, Feng Lu, Phillip Chung-Fung Kwok, Meng Lo

Votes: 2,000

17. Encounters of the Spooky Kind (1980)

R | 102 min | Action, Comedy, Fantasy

Cheung's wife and boss are seeing each other, and decide to dispatch him with a wizard. But the wizard's rival aids and defends Cheung and a magic war rises.

Director: Sammo Kam-Bo Hung | Stars: Sammo Kam-Bo Hung, Fat Chung, Lung Chan, Ha Huang

Votes: 1,747

18. Eastern Condors (1987)

R | 93 min | Action, Drama, War

An action film about a daring commando raid into Vietnam to destroy a munitions dump left behind by American marines.

Director: Sammo Kam-Bo Hung | Stars: Sammo Kam-Bo Hung, Biao Yuen, Haing S. Ngor, Joyce Godenzi

Votes: 1,832

19. Martial Outlaw (1993 Video)

R | 86 min | Action, Crime, Drama

A DEA agent and his brother, a Los Angeles cop, battle the Russian mafia.

Director: Kurt Anderson | Stars: Jeff Wincott, Gary Hudson, Vladimir Skomarovsky, Krista Errickson

Votes: 296

My favorite English language martial arts movie. Wincott is vicious.

20. Challenge of the Masters (1976)

R | 95 min | Action, Drama

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.

Director: Chia-Liang Liu | Stars: Chia-Hui Liu, Kuan Tai Chen, Yue Wong, Lily Li

Votes: 431

21. Fist of Fury (1972)

R | 107 min | Action, Drama, Romance

68 Metascore

A young man seeks vengence for the death of his teacher.

Director: Wei Lo | Stars: Bruce Lee, Nora Miao, James Tien, Maria Yi

Votes: 23,200

22. Rumble in the Bronx (1995)

R | 87 min | Action, Comedy, Crime

61 Metascore

A young man visiting and helping his uncle in New York City finds himself forced to fight a street gang and the mob with his martial art skills.

Director: Stanley Tong | Stars: Jackie Chan, Anita Mui, Françoise Yip, Bill Tung

Votes: 36,081 | Gross: $32.39M

23. Armour of God 2: Operation Condor (1991)

PG-13 | 80 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

Jackie is hired to help the UN find Nazi gold hidden in Sahara. He's accompanied from Spain by 2 (later 3) cute women. As there are others wanting the gold, lots of kung fu fighting and comedy follows.

Director: Jackie Chan | Stars: Jackie Chan, Carol 'Do Do' Cheng, Eva Cobo, Shôko Ikeda

Votes: 17,095 | Gross: $10.44M

24. Police Story (1985)

PG-13 | 100 min | Action, Comedy, Crime

78 Metascore

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.

Directors: Jackie Chan, Chi-Hwa Chen | Stars: Jackie Chan, Maggie Cheung, Brigitte Lin, Kwok-Hung Lam

Votes: 25,357 | Gross: $0.11M

25. Once Upon a Time in China V (1994)

Not Rated | 101 min | Action

Brand new epic adventure set during a tumultuous time in China, when left without a leader, the cavalry is attacked by the powerful allies and pirate bands. A martial arts master, Wong ... See full summary »

Director: Hark Tsui | Stars: Wenzhuo Zhao, Rosamund Kwan, Siu Chung Mok, Kent Cheng

Votes: 734

26. 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.

Director: Sammo Kam-Bo Hung | Stars: Jackie Chan, Biao Yuen, Sammo Kam-Bo Hung, Benny Urquidez

Votes: 10,511

27. Dirty Ho (1976)

R | 103 min | Action, Comedy, Drama

A prince enlists a thief to serve as his bodyguard to protect him from assassins.

Director: Chia-Liang Liu | Stars: Yue Wong, Chia-Hui Liu, Lieh Lo, Lung Wei Wang

Votes: 829

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.

28. Once Upon a Time in China and America (1997)

Not Rated | 102 min | Action, Adventure, History

Following an ambush in his visit to America, Wong Fei-hung becomes separated from his fellow travelers and suffers memory loss.

Director: Sammo Kam-Bo Hung | Stars: Jet Li, Rosamund Kwan, Xin Xin Xiong, Kwok-Pong Chan

Votes: 3,249

29. Fearless (2006)

PG-13 | 104 min | Action, Biography, Drama

70 Metascore

A biography of Chinese Martial Arts Master Huo Yuanjia, who is the founder and spiritual guru of the Jin Wu Sports Federation.

Director: Ronny Yu | Stars: Jet Li, Li Sun, Yong Dong, Yun Qu

Votes: 69,906 | Gross: $24.63M

30. Gui ma tian shi (1984)

Not Rated | 95 min | Action, Comedy, Horror

An incorrigible drunkard kung fu expert brings to this story all the rites and rituals of religion plus the foibles and cunning of the common men into one glorious long laugh.

Director: Cheung-Yan Yuen | Stars: Cheung-Yan Yuen, Yat Chor Yuen, Shun-Yee Yuen, Hai-Ling Chu

Votes: 283

31. Blood and Bone (2009)

R | 93 min | Action, Crime, Drama

In Los Angeles, an ex-con takes the underground fighting world by storm in his quest to fulfill a promise to a dead friend.

Director: Ben Ramsey | Stars: Michael Jai White, Julian Sands, Eamonn Walker, Dante Basco

Votes: 29,659

A movie that shows what Michael Jai White can do--- good acting and strong choreography.

32. Ip Man 3 (2015)

PG-13 | 105 min | Action, Biography, Drama

57 Metascore

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.

Director: Wilson Yip | Stars: Donnie Yen, Lynn Xiong, Jin Zhang, Mike Tyson

Votes: 39,495 | Gross: $2.68M

33. 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.

Directors: Wei Lo, Chia-Hsiang Wu | Stars: Bruce Lee, Maria Yi, James Tien, Marilyn Bautista

Votes: 22,314

34. Last Hurrah for Chivalry (1979)

Not Rated | 106 min | Action, Drama

A son tries to avenge his father, and gets two sword fighters to help him.

Director: John Woo | Stars: Pai Wei, Damian Lau, Kong Lau, Chiu-Hua Wei

Votes: 1,219

35. Righting Wrongs (1986)

Not Rated | 85 min | Action, Comedy, Crime

Yuen Biao plays Jason Chan a lawyer, angry at the way the law seems to protect the bad guys, he decides to take the law into his own hands when a key witness and his entire family are ... See full summary »

Director: Corey Yuen | Stars: Biao Yuen, Cynthia Rothrock, Melvin Wong, Roy Chiao

Votes: 1,012

Great Yuen Biao stuff and Cynthia Rothrock's shining moment.

36. BKO: Bangkok Knockout (2010)

R | 106 min | Action

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.

Director: Panna Rittikrai | Stars: Sorapong Chatree, Kerttisak Udomnak, Krittiya Lardphanna, Supakson Chaimongkol

Votes: 1,417

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.

37. Flash Point (2007)

R | 88 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

38 Metascore

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.

Director: Wilson Yip | Stars: Donnie Yen, Louis Koo, Ray Lui, Collin Chou

Votes: 11,849 | Gross: $0.00M

Some silly stuff in here, but really great stuff at the end.

38. Bloodsport (1988)

R | 92 min | Action, Biography, Drama

29 Metascore

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.

Director: Newt Arnold | Stars: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Donald Gibb, Leah Ayres, Norman Burton

Votes: 70,176 | Gross: $11.81M

39. Mr. Nice Guy (1997)

PG-13 | 88 min | Action, Comedy, Crime

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.

Director: Sammo Kam-Bo Hung | Stars: Jackie Chan, Richard Norton, Miki Lee, Karen McLymont

Votes: 23,552 | Gross: $12.67M

40. Xin long zhong hu dou (1992)

87 min | Action

A kickboxer is killed in the ring by a dirty opponent who works for a syndicate. The sister of the dead kickboxer vows revenge by facing off against both the dirty kickboxer and the crime syndicate.

Director: Da Wei Shen | Stars: Moon Lee, Wilson Lam, Mark Cheng, Yukari Tamura

Votes: 60

41. 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 »

Director: Hark Tsui | Stars: Wenzhuo Zhao, Xin Xin Xiong, Sonny Su, Valerie Chow

Votes: 2,781

42. The Grandmaster (2013)

PG-13 | 130 min | Action, Biography, Drama

73 Metascore

The story of martial-arts master Ip Man, the man who trained Bruce Lee.

Director: Kar-Wai Wong | Stars: Tony Chiu-Wai Leung, Ziyi Zhang, Jin Zhang, Chen Chang

Votes: 29,022 | Gross: $6.59M

43. The Avenging Eagle (1978)

R | 90 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

Chi Ming-sing is a former disciple of a gang run by overlord Yoh Xi-hung. Yoh's disciples hunt Chi relentlessly as he travels on a soul-searching journey. He comes to the aid of a seemingly... See full summary »

Director: Chung Sun | Stars: Sheng Fu, Lung Ti, Feng Ku, Lung Chan

Votes: 712

44. American Ninja (1985)

R | 95 min | Action, Adventure, Romance

20 Metascore

American soldier, obviously very skilled in martial arts, single-handedly takes on mercenaries in the Philippines.

Director: Sam Firstenberg | Stars: Michael Dudikoff, Steve James, Judie Aronson, Guich Koock

Votes: 12,699 | Gross: $10.50M

45. Police Story 2 (1988)

PG-13 | 101 min | Action, Comedy, Crime

68 Metascore

The Hong Kong supercop must stop a group of blackmailing bombers, while the villains of Police Story (1985) are out for revenge.

Director: Jackie Chan | Stars: Jackie Chan, Maggie Cheung, Kwok-Hung Lam, Bill Tung

Votes: 15,234

Some great usage of props, but one of the few later Jackie movies to employ undercranking to speed up the fights, which is disappointing.

46. The Dragon Flies (1975)

R | 111 min | Action, Drama, Adventure

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.

Directors: Brian Trenchard-Smith, Jimmy Wang Yu | Stars: Jimmy Wang Yu, George Lazenby, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Roger Ward

Votes: 1,098

47. Dreadnaught (1981)

91 min | Action, Comedy, Horror

A short-tempered, violent criminal named "White Tiger" is on the run from the police and joins a theater troupe for disguise, killing anyone who angers him or who suspects his identity. One... See full summary »

Director: Woo-Ping Yuen | Stars: Biao Yuen, Ka-Yan Leung, Shun-Yee Yuen, Tak-Hing Kwan

Votes: 596



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