Friday Fun Post - Your Favorite Martial Arts Movies


In honor of the Oscars this upcoming Sunday, I would like to introduce a list of some of my favorite Martial Arts Movies.

***Wikipedia was used as a source.


What were my criteria?  

1) Fight choreography 

2) Diversity of the MA being showcased

3) Authenticity of the MA 


Feel free to post your favs and why.  If they are different from my list then that's even better.  Poll enclosed below.


Happy Friday! 


1) Fist of Fury - Bruce Lee    

What's it about?  - The film is set in the early 20th century in Shanghai International Settlement. The martial arts student Chen Zhen returns to Jingwu School to marry his fiancée Yuan Le-erh. However tragic news awaits him; his master Huo Yuanjia had died, apparently from illness. Chen is deeply saddened and traumatised by the sudden demise of his teacher. Not long after the funeral; two Japanese students from the Bushido School and man working for Hiroshi Susuki in Hongkou, show up. They present a sign to Jingwu School, bearing the words "Sick Men of East Asia" (東亞病夫), seemingly as to insult Huo Yuanjia, describing the Chinese as "weaklings" in comparison to the Japanese. They taunt the Jingwu students to fight them and promise that they will "eat their words" if the Jingwu students dare to fight and defeat them.   


Martial Arts featured : Traditional Chinese and Japanese combat (unarmed combat  and melee weapons) (Bruce kicks ass and takes names later)




2) Fearless - Jet Li

What's it about?  - It is loosely based on the life of Huo Yuanjia, a famous Chinese martial artist who challenged foreign fighters in highly publicised events, restoring pride and nationalism to China at a time when Western imperialism and Japanese manipulation were eroding the country during the last few years before the birth of the Republic of China.    


Martial Arts featured : Traditional Chinese and Japanese combat (unarmed and melee weapons), British boxing and American wrestling (Beautiful choreography)


***Jet Li's 2006 film Fearless is loosely based on the real life of Huo Yuanjia, Chen Zhen's master in Fist of Fury.




3) Ong Bak - Tony Jaa

What's it about? - In Ban Nong Pradu, (northeastern Thailand) the village's most prized possession is an ancient Buddha image, named Ong-Bak. Their best martial artist is named Ting.  During the night, Ting's uncle stumbles into the temple. He witnesses and yells at intruders but is knocked out with a piece of wood. He awakes to find the statue's head missing. The villagers are worried. Ting promises to recover it. The villagers help pay for his trip to Bangkok, where he is to meet his scumbag cousin Humlae and get help in tracking down the thieves.    


Martial Arts featured : Muay Thai or Muay Boran (the ancestor of modern Muay Thai) (Awesome MB/MT technique)



4) Gladiator - Cuba Gooding Jr.

What's it about? - Set in the mean streets of Chicago, Tommy Riley and his father have just moved in an attempt to start a new life. His father has accumulated many gambling debts, but has found a new job that requires him to travel extensively, leaving his son alone at home.  A loan shark sends two collectors to Tommy's house where he is threatened unless his father pays off a debt.  A local boxing promoter by the name of Pappy Jack offers him a chance to fight in an illegal underground boxing operation. Tommy then agrees to fight one match, in exchange to pay off the debt.    


Martial Arts featured : Traditional boxing, "dirty" boxing and Bare-knuckle boxing (The boxing basics displayed here are superior to any of the Rocky movies)




5) Above the Law - Steven Seagal 

What's it about? - Nico Toscani is a cop in the Chicago Police Department’s vice squad. Early on, he developed an interest in martial arts, and soon he moved to Japan to study from the masters. Nico and his partner Jax are now investigating a drug ring, and after busting two of the dealers, he discovers plastic explosives. Nico eventually finds out the dealers he busted are linked to a corrupt CIA agent named Kurt Zagon, who tried to fund an invasion of Nicaragua and was under heat from Congress to reveal his undercover operations.


Martial Arts featured : Aikido and melee weapons  (A nice scene displaying Aikido in a "real world" setting)



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