July 16, 2020

Classics of martial arts, witty comedies and modern action films. The best martial arts movies are rated in descending order.

20. Who Am I?

Ngo si seoi

  • Hong Kong 1998
  • Action, comedy, adventure
  • Duration: 118 minutes
  • IMDB: 6.8

A special forces group performing a mission in the jungle of South Africa is being destroyed. The only surviving fighter loses his memory and is desperately trying to figure out his past.


Of course, such a list should start with the work of Jackie Chan. This famous actor and director became famous not only for his cool fighting scenes and tricks, which he performs without an understudy. Chan also manages to submit a complicated action with humour.

19. Flash Point

Dou foh sin

  • Hong Kong, China, 2007
  • Action, Crime
  • Duration: 87 minutes
  • IMDB: 6.8

A gang of Vietnamese criminals plans to organize a daring raid to rescue their leader and destroy all the witnesses of their activities but Detective Sergeant Jan Ma interferes with their plans. He alone is able to deal with all the villains.


The main role in this film was played by one of the best on-screen kung fu masters of the last decades Donnie Yen. From childhood, he was engaged in martial arts in his mother’s school, and he got to the cinema almost by accident. But now Ian has a huge fan base. The on-screen battles of this actor are always very realistic and at the same time excitingly set.

18. Chocolate

Chocolate

  • Thailand, 2008
  • Action, drama
  • Duration: 92 minutes
  • IMDB: 6.9
Best Martial Arts Films: Chocolate
Shot from the movie “Chocolate”

Zen is the daughter of the Thai Mafia boss and Japanese Yakuza’s mistress. She is autistic but has an incredible talent for martial arts. To help her terminally ill mother, Zang and his friend make small performances. And then she finds a notebook listing people who owe a lot of money to their family.


Those who consider martial arts to be exclusively male occupations should definitely watch Chocolate with a great Thai actress and sportswoman Jaanin Wismitanananda. It is also interesting that her heroine copies the movements she sees in the movies. Therefore, viewers can recognize individual scenes from Ong Bak, as well as The Protector, the next film on our list.

17. The Protector

Tom yum goong

  • Thailand, USA, Hong Kong, France, 2005
  • Action, crime, thriller
  • Duration: 111 minutes
  • IMDb: 7.1

An elephant is being stolen from a peasant family from Thailand. The main character Kham, who has fallen in love with these animals since childhood, goes to Australia to return them, and at the same time to deal with the abductors.


Thai actor Tony Jaa really grew up in a family of elephant breeders and has been training since childhood, jumping up and down on huge animals. So the picture can be considered partly autobiographical. In this film, the most noteworthy is the large-scale fight scene in the restaurant: four minutes of action on several floors with a huge number of extras were shot in one frame without editing.

16. Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior

  • Thailand, 2003
  • Action, thriller, crime
  • Duration: 108 minutes
  • IMDb: 7.2

Villains steal the head of a Buddha statue from a small Thai village. A Muay Thai master named Thing sets off in search of relics in Bangkok.

In this film, Tony Jaa played his first major role. Adventure action immediately sets a good pace. But still, the fifteen-minute fight scene in the fight club can be considered the best. Here the hero encounters three opponents, each of whom fights in his own style.


15. Wheels on Meals

Kuai can che

  • Hong Kong, 1984
  • Action, crime, comedy
  • Duration: 108 minutes
  • IMDb: 7.2
Best Martial Arts Films
Shot from the movie “Wheels on Meals”

Cousins ​​Thomas and David work in Barcelona in a travelling cafe on the basis of a minibus. Once they help a charming thief who is in trouble. From this moment, the life of the brother’s changes.

This film is one of the best in terms of setting the fights of Jackie Chan. By the way, he shot a picture of Sammo Hung. Many people remember him in the lead role in the TV series “Chinese City”. In fact, he is a very famous director of battle scenes. At the same time, Hun himself played the role of Detective Moby in this picture.


14. Once Upon a Time in China

Wong fei hung

  • Hong Kong, 1991
  • Action, adventure
  • Duration: 134 minutes
  • IMDb: 7.3

At the end of the 19th century, China suffered from American expansion. Dear doctor and kung fu master Won Feihun is not happy about these events, but he tries not to open conflict with the invaders. But when his lover is abducted and trying to sell in a brothel, Won Feihong begins to take revenge.

Jet Li was called by many the main successor to Bruce Lee in martial arts films. It was he who was entrusted to play the legendary historical figure – martial artists of the Qin Dynasty. Although the best battle scenes are still in the continuation of “Once Upon a Time in China 2”. There, the hero meets the villain played by Donnie Yen.


13. The way Of The Dragon

Meng long guo jiang

  • Hong Kong, 1972
  • Action, Crime
  • Duration: 99 minutes
  • IMDb: 7.3

Tang Lun is coming from Hong Kong to Rome to help his friends. Their restaurant is trying to select the local mafia. But the bandits underestimate the young man: he can defeat any opponent with his bare hands.

Bruce Lee’s first Hollywood work popularized martial arts films around the world. And it was in this picture that Chuck Norris made his debut on the screens: in the image of the villain Colt, he turned out to be the main opponent of Tan Moon, and their fight still looks great.


12. Fist of Fury

Jing wu men

  • Hong Kong, 1972
  • Action, Drama
  • Duration: 106 minutes
  • IMDb: 7.4
Martial Arts Films: Fist of Fury
Shot from the movie “Fist of Fury”

Martial arts master Chen Zhen arrives in Shanghai to attend his teacher’s funeral. It turns out that the Japanese who have occupied the city are mocking students in Chinese kung fu schools. Chen Zhen decides to defend the honor of his comrades.

It was this film that made Bruce Lee and his style famous. Prior to this, the actor played only one major role in the film “The Big Boss.” But in Fist of Fury, his mastery was given maximum time. The legendary scene was where the hero Lee fights immediately with two dozen opponents.


11. Project A

A gai wak

  • Hong Kong, 1983
  • Action, Comedy
  • Duration: 100 minutes
  • IMDb: 7.4

At the beginning of the XX century, a gang of pirates terrorizes Hong Kong. Naval Police Sergeant Ma Yulong, nicknamed Dragon, reveals their plans and engages in a fight with the leader.

This film Jackie Chan personally set. Although the main roles are exactly the same trinity that later starred in the Diner on Wheels: Sammo Hong, Yuan Biao and Chan himself.


10. Drunken Master

Zui quan

  • Hong Kong, 1978
  • Action, Comedy
  • Duration: 111 minutes
  • IMDb: 7.5

The son of a kung fu master, Wong Feihong, is not disciplined and fights with everyone he meets. However, he shows excellent martial arts abilities. Father sends him to Master Su, teaching the “eight drunken saints” style. The young man escapes from a cruel mentor but encounters an evil mercenary.

It was this film that glorified Jackie Chan and his unique style. He played the same famous Won Feihong, in whose image Jet Li later appeared in Once Upon a Time in China, but showed him completely different. The second part of the picture was released only in 1994, and there, by the way, the fights were even better.


9. Fist Of Legend

Jing wu ying xiong

  • Hong Kong, 1994
  • Thriller, Drama, Action
  • Duration: 103 minutes
  • IMDb: 7.5
Martial Arts Films: Fist of Legend
Shot from the film “Fist of Legend”

A remake of Fist of Fury tells almost the same story. Chen Zhen learns about the death of his teacher and confronts the Japanese dojo.

In this film, they not only repeated the main plot of the famous classic with Bruce Lee, but also perfectly copied some battle scenes. A large-scale fight with many rivals here looks more modern and posed more interesting.


8. Fearless

Huo yuan jia

  • China, Hong Kong, 2006
  • Action, Biographical, Drama
  • Duration: 104 minutes
  • IMDb: 7.6

Ho Yuanjia dreams of becoming a famous martial artist. But in the pursuit of fame, he loses almost everything in life. And only after years the realization of the real purpose in life comes to him.

All the same Jet Li played another legendary historical figure. The real Wushu master, Ho Yuanjia, was a famous fighter who also fought against the colonization of China. The picture freely retells the main points of his biography.


7. Raid

Serbuan maut

  • Indonesia, France, USA, 2011
  • Action, Crime, Thriller
  • Duration: 96 minutes
  • IMDb: 7.6

A police squad goes to a multi-story building to arrest a well-known drug dealer. The house is guarded by dozens of heavily armed criminals, so the special forces want to conduct the operation quietly. But plans are disrupted by an absurd accident, and the raid turns into a bloody showdown.

This picture is packed with action scenes from the very beginning to the end. And the main role in the film was played by Iko Yuvays – master of the Indonesian wrestling penchak silat. The picture also has the sequel “Raid 2”, where the quality of filming has already grown, and the production of fights has remained at the same high level. But the film “Raid: A Bullet in the Head” is not related to the franchise, the same actor just plays in it.


6. Police Story

Ging chaat goo si

  • Hong Kong 1985
  • Action, comedy, crime
  • Duration: 106 minutes
  • IMDb: 7.6
Best martial arts films: Police Story
Shot from the movie “Police Story”

Police arrest mafia boss Chi Thou. One of the employees, Kevin Chang, is assigned to guard the secretary of the criminal, who is being witnessed in the case. But the girl suddenly disappears.

And another directorial work of Jackie Chan, in which he played the role of a brave policeman, traditional for himself. Perhaps one of the most energetic films of this actor with excellent humour and incredible action.


5. Kung Fu Hustle

Kung fu

  • Hong Kong, China, 2004
  • Comedy, Action, Crime
  • Duration: 99 minutes
  • IMDb: 7.7

Fraudster Sin trades with petty crimes, posing as a member of the gang “Axes”. But he finds himself in an area where many residents are well aware of kung fu and will not give offence. Meanwhile, the real “Axes” decide to seize the only place free from their influence.

If Jackie Chan’s films, albeit in a comedy form, adhere to the traditions of martial arts films, then “Kung Fu Showdown” is a frank parody of the genre. The director and leading actor Steven Chow at that time was already famous thanks to the film “Slaughter Football”. Here he turns to the criminal theme but again does it cheerfully and with excellently set fights.


4. Enter the Dragon

  • Hong Kong, 1973
  • Action, Drama, Crime
  • Duration: 102 minutes
  • IMDb: 7.7

On a secluded island, turned into a real fortress, a contest of the best fighters from around the world is held. The police suspect that all this is just a cover for smuggling. Then the mentor of the Shaolin monastery of Li is sent to the island.

In addition to Bruce Lee, who played the main role, many other legendary fighters appeared in the picture. For example, Bolo Ian and world champion in karate Jim Kelly. And in the crowd, still unknown stuntmen flicker Jackie Chan and Sammo Hung. Alas, this is the last picture with Bruce Lee. He did not live to see the premiere for several days.

3. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Wo hu cang long


  • Taiwan, Hong Kong, USA, China, 2000
  • Fantasy, Action, Adventure
  • Duration: 120 minutes
  • IMDb: 7.8
Films about martial arts: “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”
Shot from the movie “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”

Famous martial artist Lee Mubai passes a green steel magic sword to his friend and plans to go into meditation. But soon the villains abduct the artifact. Lee Mubai sends him in search of him and meets his longtime adversary.

It was this film by Ang Lee (the future director of Brokeback Mountain) that returned interest in martial arts films in the 21st century. The tape received 10 Oscar nominations and won in four of them.

2. Hero

Ying xiong


  • China, Hong Kong, 2002
  • Fantasy, Action, Drama
  • Duration: 107 minutes
  • IMDb: 7.9

The hero, who is called Bezymyanny, arrives at the court of the future emperor and tells that he defeated three enemies who planned the assassination of the ruler. He describes in detail all his adventures, but to distinguish truth from fiction is very difficult.

The picture, where again the main role was played by Jet Li, consists of three parts. Moreover, each of them is shown in its own color scheme. Several martial artists have starred in the film. But the most impressive can be considered the battle of Bezymyanny with a hero named Heaven, played by Donnie Ian.

1. Ip Man

Yip man


  • Hong Kong, China, 2008
  • Action, Drama, Historical
  • Duration: 106 minutes
  • IMDb: 8.0

Yip Man, a martial artist, lives in Foshan County. He no longer takes students and only occasionally arranges sparring with colleagues. But then he has to fight with the visiting master Jing and the invaders from Japan.

Donnie Yen starred in the film, based in part on a real biography of the legendary master. The real Yip Man taught Wing Chun, and it was from him that Bruce Lee himself learned. The fights in the picture are simply incredible. It is not surprising that later the film came out as much as three sequels.

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