Martial Arts

by bumpylight | created - 08 Jan 2012 | updated - 2 months ago | Public

Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris have approved these selections with roundhouse kicks, even though the productions hew to a rather broad definition of "martial arts".

Given the nature of the genre, most of the entries herein also appear in my Pizza-Worthy Guy Flicks list, although the latter omits a number of entries that struck me as being too weird or oddball to deserve the full pizza and beer treatment.

[last rationalized at 5 titles]

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1. 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.

Director: Woo-Ping Yuen | Stars: Jackie Chan, Siu Tin Yuen, Jung-Lee Hwang, Dean Shek

Votes: 33,097

2. 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: 40,735 | Gross: $11.55M

3. Kung Fu Hustle (2004)

R | 99 min | Action, Comedy, Fantasy

78 Metascore

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.

Director: Stephen Chow | Stars: Stephen Chow, Wah Yuen, Qiu Yuen, Siu-Lung Leung

Votes: 118,844 | Gross: $17.11M

4. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)

PG-13 | 120 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

93 Metascore

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.

Director: Ang Lee | Stars: Yun-Fat Chow, Michelle Yeoh, Ziyi Zhang, Chen Chang

Votes: 242,642 | Gross: $128.08M

5. Seven Samurai (1954)

Not Rated | 207 min | Adventure, Drama

98 Metascore

A poor village under attack by bandits recruits seven unemployed samurai to help them defend themselves.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Takashi Shimura, Keiko Tsushima, Yukiko Shimazaki

Votes: 290,908 | Gross: $0.27M

The original Japanese classic that inspired the American knockoff The Magnificent Seven.

6. Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior (2003)

R | 105 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

69 Metascore

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.

Director: Prachya Pinkaew | Stars: Tony Jaa, Petchtai Wongkamlao, Pumwaree Yodkamol, Suchao Pongwilai

Votes: 68,304 | Gross: $4.56M

7. 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: 90,171 | Gross: $25.00M

8. Iron Monkey (1993)

PG-13 | 85 min | Action, Crime, Drama

79 Metascore

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.

Director: Woo-Ping Yuen | Stars: Rongguang Yu, Donnie Yen, Jean Wang, Sze-Man Tsang

Votes: 14,789 | Gross: $14.68M

9. 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: 198,514

10. Ip Man 2 (2010)

R | 108 min | Action, Biography, Drama

67 Metascore

Centering on Ip Man's migration to Hong Kong in 1949 as he attempts to propagate his discipline of Wing Chun martial arts.

Director: Wilson Yip | Stars: Donnie Yen, Xiaoming Huang, Sammo Kam-Bo Hung, Lynn Xiong

Votes: 88,238 | Gross: $0.21M

11. 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: 16,223

12. 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: 8,497

13. 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: 3,277

14. The Raid: Redemption (2011)

R | 101 min | Action, Thriller

73 Metascore

A S.W.A.T. team becomes trapped in a tenement run by a ruthless mobster and his army of killers and thugs.

Director: Gareth Evans | Stars: Iko Uwais, Ananda George, Ray Sahetapy, Donny Alamsyah

Votes: 178,976 | Gross: $4.11M

15. 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: 2,026

16. 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: 10,680

17. Shaolin Soccer (2001)

PG | 87 min | Action, Comedy, Fantasy

68 Metascore

A young Shaolin follower reunites with his discouraged brothers to form a soccer team using their martial art skills to their advantage.

Director: Stephen Chow | Stars: Stephen Chow, Wei Zhao, Yat-Fei Wong, Man-Tat Ng

Votes: 69,979 | Gross: $0.49M

18. Oldboy (2003)

R | 120 min | Action, Drama, Mystery

77 Metascore

After being kidnapped and imprisoned for fifteen years, Oh Dae-Su is released, only to find that he must find his captor in five days.

Director: Chan-wook Park | Stars: Min-sik Choi, Ji-tae Yu, Hye-jeong Kang, Dae-han Ji

Votes: 470,181 | Gross: $0.71M

19. Sanjuro (1962)

Not Rated | 96 min | Action, Crime, Drama

A crafty samurai helps a young man and his fellow clansmen save his uncle, who has been framed and imprisoned by a corrupt superintendent.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Tatsuya Nakadai, Keiju Kobayashi, Yûnosuke Itô

Votes: 28,712

20. Yojimbo (1961)

Not Rated | 110 min | Action, Comedy, Crime

A crafty ronin comes to a town divided by two criminal gangs and decides to play them against each other to free the town.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Eijirô Tôno, Tatsuya Nakadai, Yôko Tsukasa

Votes: 100,828

21. The Magnificent Butcher (1979)

PG-13 | 108 min | Action, Comedy, Drama

A hot headed young butcher, who is also a kung fu disciple, gets embroiled in a feud with a rival shaolin temple.

Director: Woo-Ping Yuen | Stars: Sammo Kam-Bo Hung, Tak-Hing Kwan, Biao Yuen, Pai Wei

Votes: 1,985

22. Rush Hour (1998)

PG-13 | 98 min | Action, Comedy, Crime

60 Metascore

A loyal and dedicated Hong Kong Inspector teams up with a reckless and loudmouthed L.A.P.D. detective to rescue the Chinese Consul's kidnapped daughter, while trying to arrest a dangerous crime lord along the way.

Director: Brett Ratner | Stars: Jackie Chan, Chris Tucker, Ken Leung, Tom Wilkinson

Votes: 224,182 | Gross: $141.15M

23. The Karate Kid (1984)

PG | 126 min | Action, Drama, Family

60 Metascore

A boy and his mother move to California for a new job. He struggles to fit in, as a group of karate students starts to bully him for dating a rich girl from their clique. It's up to the Japanese landlord, Miyagi, to teach him karate.

Director: John G. Avildsen | Stars: Ralph Macchio, Pat Morita, Elisabeth Shue, Martin Kove

Votes: 161,542 | Gross: $90.82M

24. 13 Assassins (2010)

R | 141 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

84 Metascore

A group of assassins come together for a suicide mission to kill an evil lord.

Director: Takashi Miike | Stars: Kôji Yakusho, Takayuki Yamada, Yûsuke Iseya, Ikki Sawamura

Votes: 58,842 | Gross: $0.80M

25. 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.

Director: Woo-Ping Yuen | Stars: Jet Li, Michelle Yeoh, Siu-Ho Chin, Fennie Yuen

Votes: 8,964

26. 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: 36,349 | Gross: $32.39M

27. Three Outlaw Samurai (1964)

Not Rated | 94 min | Action, Drama

When poor peasants kidnap a magistrate's daughter to coerce him into reducing taxes, a wandering ronin and two renegades from the magistrate's guard take up the fight for them.

Director: Hideo Gosha | Stars: Tetsurô Tanba, Isamu Nagato, Mikijirô Hira, Miyuki Kuwano

Votes: 2,662

28. Shinobi: Heart Under Blade (2005)

R | 107 min | Action, Drama, Fantasy

Star-crossed lovers must fight on opposing sides in a battle that will determine the next Shogun.

Director: Ten Shimoyama | Stars: Yukie Nakama, Joe Odagiri, Tomoka Kurotani, Erika Sawajiri

Votes: 11,840

29. After the Rain (1999)

91 min | Drama

During a downpour, a generous ronin and his supporting wife are stranded at a country inn. The ronin comes to the attention of a lord who wants to hire him as an instructor for his men, who treat the ronin with disrespect.

Director: Takashi Koizumi | Stars: Akira Terao, Yoshiko Miyazaki, Shirô Mifune, Fumi Dan

Votes: 3,586

30. Little Big Soldier (2010)

PG-13 | 96 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

An old soldier kidnaps a young General of an enemy state and takes him on a long journey to collect the reward.

Director: Sheng Ding | Stars: Jackie Chan, Leehom Wang, Sung-jun Yoo, Peng Lin

Votes: 13,965

31. 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: 10,758

32. Knockabout (1979)

PG-13 | 92 min | Action, Comedy, Drama

The brothers and small time crooks Yipao and Taipao convince a martial arts expert to take them on as students.

Director: Sammo Kam-Bo Hung | Stars: Ka-Yan Leung, Chia Yung Liu, Biao Yuen, Kuang Yu Wang

Votes: 1,077

33. Iron Fisted Monk (1977)

R | 93 min | Action, Comedy, Drama

A lowly restaurant worker aims to take revenge on the Manchurian thugs who killed his boss by joining a Shaolin temple under the advise of the monk that rescued him from certain death.

Director: Sammo Kam-Bo Hung | Stars: Sammo Kam-Bo Hung, Sing Chen, James Tien, Hark-On Fung

Votes: 611

34. 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: 29,256

35. Unleashed (2005)

R | 103 min | Action, Crime, Drama

58 Metascore

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.

Director: Louis Leterrier | Stars: Jet Li, Bob Hoskins, Morgan Freeman, Kerry Condon

Votes: 94,983 | Gross: $24.52M

36. Who Am I? (1998)

PG-13 | 108 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

A Secret Agent loses his memory after falling from a crashing helicopter. He is then chased by several other agency operatives, but he has no idea why.

Directors: Benny Chan, Jackie Chan | Stars: Jackie Chan, Michelle Ferre, Mirai Yamamoto, Ron Smerczak

Votes: 34,421

37. The Raid 2 (2014)

R | 150 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

71 Metascore

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.

Director: Gareth Evans | Stars: Iko Uwais, Yayan Ruhian, Arifin Putra, Oka Antara

Votes: 106,536 | Gross: $2.63M

38. The Young Master (1980)

PG-13 | 105 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

After failing his fellow students in a Lion Dance competition, Dragon (Jackie Chan) is sent away from his school in disgrace, on the condition that he must find his errant brother. Much ... See full summary »

Director: Jackie Chan | Stars: Jackie Chan, Pai Wei, Biao Yuen, Lily Li

Votes: 5,959

39. 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.

Director: Jeong-beom Lee | Stars: Won Bin, Sae-ron Kim, Tae-hoon Kim, Hee-won Kim

Votes: 56,562 | Gross: $0.01M

40. 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 »

Director: Chia-Liang Liu | Stars: Chia-Hui Liu, Yuka Mizuno, Yasuaki Kurata, Naozo Kato

Votes: 1,846

41. 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.

Director: Sammo Kam-Bo Hung | Stars: Ka-Yan Leung, Casanova Wong, Sammo Kam-Bo Hung, Chia Yung Liu

Votes: 1,043



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