10 Greatest Martial Arts films of all time
To hundreds of movies, threw thousands of obvious battlefields and millions of throats … what’s the best? Which one did I lack my whole life? Which one should I have in my collection not to shame my family’s name?
Weve hit the internet. Reviews. Forums. Amazon. Posts. Bulletins. And this list is what we are the biggest Kung Fu films of all time and why you have to look at each one. Pay attention to movies that include Yuen Wo-Ping as director or action director. There is a reason why half of this list is movies where he was involved!
(You can also go directly to these movies in http://Amazon.com of this site).
# 1 – Way of the Dragon (1979)
This is the only film written and directed by Bruce Lee. (The game of death is the other one but is incomplete). We can write a lot about the plot, characters or battle scenes … but all you really care about is to look at Bruce Lee’s fight Chuck Norris in the final.
Martial Artists: Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris
Director: Bruce Lee
# 2 – Shaolin Temple (1982)
Distinguish the incredible history of the Shaolin Temple, the focal point for Chinese Martial Arts. Think of the Shaolin Monnike as Jedi Knights (an elite group of fighters) and the rest of China as the devastated universe about which Star Wars takes place (people who fear the elite fighters and want to get them out of power). Lots of work to do, you have, young Jet Li. * photo Yodas accent on the one * Define Irony: A movie shot on the site of the Shaolin Temple, telling a story about the fall of the Shaolin Temple, so much public interest that the temple was reopened was released shortly after the movie.
Martial Artist: Jet Li (His debut film)
Director: Chang Hsin-Yen
# 3 – Ong Bak (2003)
Unhurried action, Tony Jaa brings a new fighting style to the big screen and does it in style. Muay Thai (Thai Boxing) is stronger and more straightforward than the Chinese styles you used to see with Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan, giving a new look at how a martial arts film can be done. You will see more of him … guaranteed.
Martial Artist: Tony Jaa
Director: Prachya Pinkaew
# 4 – Iron Monkey (1993)
Doctor on day, thief at night … Iron Monkey is your classic Robin-hood meeting Kung Fu. It’s an action-packed movie that can not last for 5 minutes without an excellent battle scene. It all comes down to a battle between Iron Monkey (ie Robin Hood) and an old Shaolin Monk (remember, these guys are like the Jedi knights of Chinese martial arts … their elite). Remember the old Yuen Wo-Ping what I mentioned? Well, he’s the director in this one so you know it’s good!
Martial Artists: Yu Rong Guang, Donnie Yen
Director: Yuen Wo-Ping
Action Directors: Yuen Cheung-yan, Yuen Shun-yi
# 5-5 Deadly venoms (1978)
No room form martial arts beauties “in this one, there is so much blood and action that they throw only male actors. Leave the traditional elaborate costumes and enter the muscular, racing, bloody fighting style that becomes a trademark for director Chang Cheh. Each selected member is trained in an art corresponding to one of 5 hostile creatures (Scorpion, Snake, Centipede, Gecko, Frog) with the 6th role player trained in all five. Six main champions actors = LOTS O Action
Martial Artists: 6 Martial Artists (yes, 6 main characters)
Director: Chang Cheh
# 6 – The Seven Samurai (1954)
One of the greatest classic Kung Fu films of all time and probably Kurosawas best job Some Samurai of the time was on their luck (homeless) and willing to do something for a meal. A group under the assaults of bandits recruits a group of seven such Samoa soldiers and asks them to help defend their town. The film is about the Samurai who teaches the town to fight and cheat in a massive battle between a town and almost 50 attacking bandits. The stage is excellent, the emotions run high and Kurosawa keeps you from start to finish.
Martial Artists: 7 Martial Artists (all the names you will not know, since this movie is so old).
Director: Akira Kurosawa
# 7 – Legend of Drunken Master (1994).
Some will say it is the greatest martial arts film of all time due to its balance between plot line, comedy, drama and wonderful kung fu sequences. Probably Jackie Chans best martial arts performance. You will love the final scene where you learn what drunk master really means. Wash talk box splitting, fire spit craziness!
Martial Artist: Jackie Chan
Director: Lau Kar-leung
# 8 – Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon (2000)
Based on a Pentalogy (yes, it’s 5 books) written by Wang Dulu, this movie usually covers the 4th book. Critically acclaimed international borders with its incredible character development, intricate plot, martial arts ideals, beautiful special effects and faster than the eye fights, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, set a new standard for martial arts films. To tell Zhang Ziyi (the main female character and a wonderful martial artist) to come back to the kitchen will probably cost you 50 pounds for the bags. Get ready for captions, cuz turn on the English section is like watching … you … like watching a Kung Fu movie in English.
Chief Champion Artist: Chow Yun Fat
Other Martial Artists: Zhang Ziyi, Michelle Yeoh, Chang Chen, Cheng Pei-pei
Director: Ang Lee
Action Director: Yuen Wo-Ping
# 9 – Kill Bill Vol. 1 (2003)
You will want your home theater room for this one. It’s hard to beat beautiful women who blow the shit apart into quick action-packing complaints, bloody, gory, cut-em-up (more buzz words go here) movie jam with as many martial arts dead as possible. Tarantino uses expert camera angles and an abundance of special effects to deliver a better-than-real visual experience, giving this blood and guts thriller an artistic feel, you will appreciate in the end. Did I mention it, Uma Thurman in it?
(Kill Bill Vol. 2 brings clogging to the set, but hey … we had to choose one movie. Say five-point Palm-explosive heart technique 5 times fast.)
Actors: Uma Thurman, David Carradine, Lucy Liu, Daryl Hannah , Vivica A. Fox
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Action Director: Yuen Wo-ping
# 10 – Fist of Legend (1994) A
classic story of Chinese versus Japanese martial arts, Fist of Legend is actually a remake of the original Bruce Lee- film, fist of anger. If Bruce Lee is the original James Bond, Jet Li is Pierce Brosnan. Hell is never the original, but the modern movie-up and larger budget brings the amusement value just a hair above the original Fist of Fury. (The ghost of Bruce Lee is likely to hit me to write.) The Yuen Brothers are famous for great action choreography, and they deliver on this one. (Casting Jet Li helped them a little.)
Martial Artist: Jet Li
Director: Gordon Chan
Action Directors: The Yuen Brothers
The fun does not stop.
We tried to stop at just 10 … really, we did it. But we could not control ourselves.
“As soon as it hits your lips, it’s so good!” – Will Ferrell in “Old School”