10 Best Martial Arts Movies For Hardcore Fans of Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan
Prepare for some of the most inspiring fights you've ever seen.
The popularity of martial arts movies is still growing today, although there are thousands of such films and it seems that everything has been said and shown.
But directors don't think so and movie fans agree with them.
Interest in martial arts in movies does not disappear because it is just spectacular, and if you add a dynamic plot and exciting adventures to the fights, then the success of the movie is guaranteed.
1. Yip Man
Yip Man, which launched a franchise of four movies, tells the story of real-life kung fu master Yip Man, who was Bruce Lee's teacher. However, the movie is positioned more as a semi-biographical one. The historical context of Yip Man is the Sino-Japanese War, and the setting is the Chinese city of Foshan.
The lead role was played by Donnie Yen, who is a Wushu master himself. This type of martial arts was practiced by the actor's mother, who was able to open her own gym in Boston after the family moved to the US.
The movie, which paved the way for the former athlete Jean-Claude Van Damme to the big screen, tells the story of an underground martial arts championship. In order to participate, the main character voluntarily leaves the military unit and goes to Hong Kong.
Critics were skeptical about Bloodsport, and Jean-Claude Van Damme was even nominated for a Golden Raspberry. However, the movie was a box office success and eventually achieved cult status.
The real-life Frank Dux took part in the filming as a fight scene coordinator, and a few years later became one of the co-authors of the script for the movie The Quest, which became Van Damme's directorial debut.
3. Fist of Fury
The cult movie starring Bruce Lee, tells the story of a skilled martial artist. He comes to Shanghai for the funeral of his kung fu and karate mentor. News that the Japanese are involved in the murder and attacks on students forces him to stay to defend the school's honor.
One of the extras on the set of Fist of Fury was Jackie Chan, although in the end he was not even listed in the credits. But a few years later he got the lead role in the sequel New Fist of Fury.
This Thai action film centers on a girl diagnosed with autism who intuitively learns martial arts. Trying to raise money for her mother's cancer treatment, Zen finds a list of her debtors and decides to go after them for money.
The lead actress, Yanin Vismitananda studied ballet and taekwondo, and mastered Muay Thai for the filming. She also performed all the stunts in the movie herself.
5. Drunken Master
The iconic movie tells the story of an undisciplined young man. In order to re-educate the main character, his father sends him to a famous kung fu master who uses the "The Eight Drunken Immortals" style.
The movie is based on the biography of a martial arts master named Wong Fei Hung: in the movies Once Upon a Time in China and Last Hero in China he was played by Jet Li, and in Around the World in 80 Days Sammo Hung.
Drunken Master became one of the highest-grossing films in Hong Kong history, and also finally cemented the actor's image as a slightly ridiculous, but purposeful and always winning character.
6. Mortal Kombat
Before taking on Resident Evil, Paul W. S. Anderson made a fantasy action movie based on another cult game – Mortal Kombat. In it, three characters must fight for victory in an ancient military tournament.
By the way, Mortal Kombat could have turned out completely different. The role of Sonya Blade was originally given to Cameron Diaz, but the actress broke her wrist just before filming started. And Johnny Cage could have been played by Brandon Lee, but he tragically died on the set of the movie The Crow.
Another historical biopic, but this time the plot centers on Wushu master Huo Yuanjia. Fearless shows his journey to realize the true purpose of martial arts and to open his own school. The lead actor, Chinese actor Jet Li, is also a Wushu master in real life.
The film also starred powerlifting champion and former Australian wrestler Nathan Jones and Oscar-winning actress Michelle Yeoh, but her role was so minor that it was ultimately cut from the theatrical release version of the movie.
8. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
The story of a great martial arts master named Li Mu Bai, who goes in search of a magic sword, has earned the creators a slew of prestigious awards. Among them are four Oscars, two Golden Globes, and an MTV Award.
In 2015, a sequel, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny, was released, but it received negative reviews, and only Michelle Yeoh returned from the original cast.
9. The Protector
Two elephants were stolen from a family of farmers in Thailand. The main character, Kham, who has loved these animals since childhood, travels to Australia to return them while dealing with the kidnappers.
Thai actor Tony Jaa actually grew up in a family of elephant breeders and trained since childhood to jump on top of these huge animals. So the film is partly autobiographical.
10. The Way of the Dragon
Tang Lung comes to Rome from Hong Kong to help his friends – the local mafia is trying to take over their restaurant. But the criminals underestimate the young man: he can defeat any opponent with his bare hands.
Bruce Lee's first Hollywood film popularized martial arts movies all over the world. And it was in this movie that Chuck Norris made his debut on the big screen: as the villain Colt, he turned out to be the main opponent of Tang Lung, and their fights still look great.