Favorite Martial Arts Movies of Author, Brawl in Cell Block 99 & Bone Tomahawk writer/director S. Craig Zahlerby 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 »
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.
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: 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 »
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.
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.
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 »
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.
A classic kung fu movie that deserves its reputation. Terrific training sequences.
10. 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.
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.
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 »
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
22. Rumble in the Bronx (1995)
R | 87 min | Action, Comedy, Crime
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.
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.
Votes: 17,095 | Gross: $10.44M
24. 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: 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 »
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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: 39,495 | Gross: $2.68M
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 »
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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 »
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 »
44. American Ninja (1985)
R | 95 min | Action, Adventure, Romance
American soldier, obviously very skilled in martial arts, single-handedly takes on mercenaries in the Philippines.
Votes: 12,699 | Gross: $10.50M
45. Police Story 2 (1988)
PG-13 | 101 min | Action, Comedy, Crime
The Hong Kong supercop must stop a group of blackmailing bombers, while the villains of Police Story (1985) are out for revenge.
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.
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 »