Legendary Martial Arts Movies

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Having recently watched The Master of the Flying Guillotine in class, I thought it would be cool if I did a list of the top martial arts movies. If you haven’t seen these films, you should definitely watch them since they are essentially the foundation of martial art films. This is a compilation of the kung-fu films that I have seen and is solely based on my opinion. Enjoy!

4. The Legend of Drunken Master (2000)

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Let’s start the list off with one of the most famous martial arts movie stars of all time: Jackie Chan. In this film, Chan gains his fighting prowess from indulging in alcohol, which by itself, creates a very interesting movie. Not to mention Jackie Chan does all of his drunk choreography and stunts, which really adds to the awesome-ness of the movie.  As well as being a legendary film, The Legend of Drunken Master is a masterful comedy, making it one of the most brilliantly choreographed Hong Kong chopsockeys ofits time. The movie has some of the funniest, and the coolest, fight scenes I’ve ever seen. You definitely do not want to miss this movie.

3. Ip Man (2008)

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I love this movie so much. The fight scenes in Ip Man are so breathtakingly awesome that you’ll want to go out and learn martial arts. The movie is based on the true story of Grand Master Yip Yen, Bruce Lee’s mentor, an probably the greatest martial arts master of all time. Yip Yen(portrayed by Donnie Yen) is gentle and caring, but when it comes to hand to hand combat, he is extremely badass. Not only is this film filled to the brim with amazing fight scenes, it provides historical insight into the life of a great man and what it was like living in 1930’s Southern China. Also, you get to see the legendary style of Wing Chun in action, which is a martial art based on grappling and close-range striking. Anyways, great movie. Watch it.

2. Hero (2002)

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If I had to describe this movie in one word, that word would have to be beautiful. Beautiful location, beautiful sword fighting, even the plot, albeit simple, is beautiful with its twists and subtleties. While many martial art films focus on violence, Hero relies on the thought and philosophy of combat, also blood is nearly non-existent. Although it largely consists of swordplay, Hero is much more than it appears to be.  It is a tale of philosophy, emotions, and lessons, such as a sacrifice for the greater good. Filled to the brim with history and myths, Hero really stretches the boundaries of the martial arts genre, and it looks great while doing so. In summation, Hero is majestic as hell.

1. Enter the Dragon (1973)

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Don’t be surprised that the number one film on this list is a Bruce Lee movie. Before his death, Bruce helped launch the cult popularity of martial art films in the west with this movie. To this day, it remains one of the most watched kung-fu flicks of all time. In Enter the Dragon, Lee plays a secret agent sent undercover as a martial arts fighter in a crime lord’s underground tournament. His lightning-quick speed is awesome and it results in several unforgettable fight scenes. Although it contains thin plot, little development, and sub-par acting, the combat is breathtaking. It’s no Citizen Kane, but it doesn’t try to be either. It accomplishes beauty and perfection in one of the most simplest ways. It’s hard to explain why it’s one of the greatest martial art films of all time, so you’ll just have to take my word and go watch it.

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