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#1 Posted by Nightriff (6225 posts) -

Finding out a few weeks ago that Jackie Chan is currently finishing up his last "hardcore" action film, I have been infected with the Martial Arts bug. I emailed the Bombcast in hopes of getting them to discuss how they feel about the genre but of course, not much of a surprise, they didn't read it.

For me, I truly enjoy a good martial art film...but for some unknown reason I forgot that fact. But now that I have rekindled my love for the genre, I'm very excited to revisit some of my favorites (and hope they still are as good as I remember) and check out the ones that I never saw for some reason or another. Jackie Chan will always be my favorite actor in the genre as I feel that his style is just unique and believable. His blend of comedy and action is something I truly appreciate and the more I read about the Drunken Master films, the more I can't wait to watch them.

As it is a subgenre of action films, I really wanted to know specifically how @Jeff feels about these films. I'm going to send him a message on Comic Vine and hope that he answers and describes how he feels about these films in general.

I personally feel that martial arts films are as good as the classic action films the GB crew has previously talked about at some point. Die Hard is the greatest action movies of all time and in my top 5 favorite films in general, I also personally put Rumble in the Bronx right next to it as an action film. Now I’m not as versed in action movies as I have previously thought, but since I am going to be only working night shifts for the next 4 months I will have plenty of time to watch TONS of action movies. At the top of my list is to watch Cobra, Drunken Master 1 and 2, and Enter the Dragon along with many, many others (any suggestions please advise in both general action and martial arts).

I think one of the main reasons why I enjoy the genre so much more is because with a gun, you get shot a few times you probably should be dead. The accuracy of all bad guys is pretty horrendous. But with martial arts you can get hit, kicked, tripped and can come back. This is the main reason I enjoy Chan so much is because he will get hit and kicked but keeps on fighting, it is somewhat believable at least compared to True Lies (the terrorists can’t hit shit but GOD DAMN do I love this movie). So how does the community feel about about Martial Art films? Let’s talk movies. If a stupid guy can say 3 sentences about how its a BORECAST and get 200 posts, then I hope to at least get a legit thread discussion out of this, please don't disappoint duders.

Also: my favorite scene, terrible story but I still cringe when I watch this scene. Love it.

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Films on my list:

  • Armour of God II:Operation Condor
  • Chinese Connection
  • Cobra
  • Commando
  • Demolition Man
  • Drunken Master
  • Drunken Master II
  • Enter the Dragon
  • Hard Boiled
  • Ip Man
  • Police Story 1 and 2
  • Rambo 1 and 2 (skipping 3 unless told otherwise)
  • Road House (willing to skip if told otherwise)
  • Total Recall
#2 Posted by falserelic (5721 posts) -

Undisputed 2 had some pretty epic fight scenes.

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#3 Posted by CaLe (4225 posts) -

Ip Man was pretty awesome.

I see your fight scene and I raise you.

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#4 Posted by falserelic (5721 posts) -

@CaLe: I remember that fight scene it was epic indeed. Now I raise one of the most weirdest fight scenes.

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#5 Edited by Damian (1521 posts) -

Watch Dong Cheng Xi Jiu if you're into a lot of ridiculous. It doesn't sound like you're into wire-work martial arts movies, but that one is one of a kind, truly. Then there's Kung Fu Hustle, Mortal Kombat, Gymkata, Iron Monkey, and of course Enter the Dragon. Other than that, I love all of Jackie Chan's martial arts films. Especially Drunken Master, Who am I and this scene from Fearless Hyena (skip to 17:30 for amazement).

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#6 Posted by LazyChan (14 posts) -

I've been on a Thai Martial Arts movie kick recently. They can produce some cringe worthy no wire fight scenes. The protector in the op is a good example. Ong Bak, Chocolate and Raging Phoenix are all good Thai martial art flicks. If you're a MMA fan you'll probably get a kick out of Donnie Yen's Flash Point. Here's a scene from the last fight which incorporates throws and grappling alongside awesome kung fu.

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#7 Posted by believer258 (12713 posts) -

Go watch The Raid: Redemption.

#8 Edited by falserelic (5721 posts) -

@LazyChan: That was a fun epic fight scene. Aswome.

#9 Posted by RenMcKormack (1087 posts) -

Yea go watch BOTH Drunken Master Films right away. The more modern version (maybe early nineties) has what me and my friends would argue as the best final fight scene in any movie.

Raid Redemption is good

I would also push hard for Ong Bak

If you like the Wu Tang Clan then you must watch Shogun Assassins

#10 Posted by zombie2011 (5197 posts) -
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I'm looking forward to this, it seems so ridiculous.

#11 Posted by Make_Me_Mad (3213 posts) -

I'm not exactly a connoisseur of martial arts films, but I do love them.  I make it my personal goal to watch Enter the Dragon every time I see it on television, and if in the midst of channel surfing I see someone getting kung-fu'd the odds of me watching that film skyrocket.  Really, I just love to watch dudes fight, and there's something really enjoyable about martial arts flicks.

#12 Edited by MarkWahlberg (4713 posts) -

Ong Bak is fucking fantastic. The whole time you can just tell they were having so much fun with it. The first one anyway, watched like 5 minutes of the second and was bored stiff. Ip Man has some cool fighting, but is also a little heavy on the pro-China anti-Japan propaganda stuff that has been popular in Chinese movies lately. Not that they're not allowed to do that, WWII sucked, but still. It can be a little grating.

It's not a great movie, but the first Transporter had some pretty fun fight scenes. Never actually seen the whole thing, though.

If you're a fan of Jackie Chan, I would suggest the Project A movies. I've only seen the second one, but it had some crazy fucking stunts. The whole ending sequence is kind of amazing. Made Drunken Master seem boring by comparison.

(also, Road House is a terrible movie and the fights aren't even any good, so skip it. Rambo 1 doesn't have much in the way of kung fu stuff but is legitimately good, can't speak to the sequels though)

#13 Posted by Galiant (2213 posts) -

@MarkWahlberg said:

Ong Bak is fucking fantastic.

Hell yes!

#14 Posted by LTSmash (698 posts) -

Black Belt Jones is pretty great.

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#15 Posted by StarvingGamer (9014 posts) -

Watch Hero.

#16 Edited by TeflonBilly (4742 posts) -

@believer258 said:

Go watch The Raid: Redemption.

This. That movie elevates the genre.

And I absolutely adore several of the films on your list, but I'd never call Commando, Total Recall or Cobra for martial arts flicks. They're straight up action flicks which concern themselves more with gunplay than martial arts. Just like Chow Yun Fat's John Woo flicks like Hard Boiled and The Killer.

You're missing a fair share of classics there. Like the Once Upon A Time In China trilogy, Fist Of Legend and Iron Monkey as far as Asian movies go. And American classics like Bloodsport and Kickboxer.

#17 Posted by Veektarius (5301 posts) -

I don't like any movie where a single guy takes on large numbers of other guys (at least ones who know what they're doing) because it breaks my suspension of disbelief. Clearly, this is not the thread for me, but you asked what I thought.

#18 Posted by sickVisionz (1299 posts) -

The Raid is awesome. I'll second Flash Point as well.Someone posted a clip from Ricky Oh... that film is a classic in the same vein as Killer Clowns From Outer Space.

@LTSmash: That looks amazing.

#19 Edited by GunstarRed (5797 posts) -

I used to watch so many martial arts movies. How the hell did you make this post without at least watching Enter The Dragon Beforehand? My favourite Jackie Chan movies were the Project A films and Police Story 3. It's a shame that he made so much shit after getting some success in Hollywood. The first Rush Hour was ok and the Shanghai movies are fun, but they are kinda pathetic when put up against some of his older movies. I have to say I enjoyed his performance in the Karate Kid remake though, and that New Police Story (that isn't so new now) seemed like he had returned to his former fighty self, he even has a fight in a Lego shop in it.

I remember liking some of the earlier Jet Li movies too Black mask is silly as hell, but violent and fun. There was like The Enforcer, The Defender something like that, they were cool.

Ong Bak is ace, The one where he's looking for an elephant not so much.

Opinions on the films on your list..

You NEED to see Hard Boiled as soon as possible, like right now, stop what you are doing, find it and watch Chow Yun Fat rule everyones face and slide down a rope for an abnormally long time murdering people.

The Rambo Movies are aweeeeeeeesome I personally LOVE part 2, but I wouldn't argue with someone if they said they preferred the first, The third is a little awkward, but as a dumb action movie it's a lot better than people would have you believe.

Commando, Total Recall and Road house are all a bunch of fun. Total Recall is just a big nonstop, well paced mega violent sci-fi movie, the other two are dumb but enjoyable.

The Drunken Master films and Enter The Dragon are wonderful. I adore Dragon, it showed how much charisma Lee had, he wasn't the best actor in the world, but the bits where hes being all James Bondy and collecting snakes are wonderful. Amazing back end of that movie. Police story 1 is great, 2 not so much 3 is the one you want to see.

The first Armour of God is better.

Demolition Man is not as fun as people remember it, it's bad, but not in a good way.

Cobra... I LOVE Cobra, it is such a strange movie when you break it down though, it definitely has action sequences, but I find it hard calling it an action movie, it has this bizarre music video sequence in it and Stallone cuts a pizza with some scissors and pretends to eat a giant plastic Hamburger, it is wonderful.

#20 Edited by Damodar (1631 posts) -

Drunken Master II is a spectacular piece of entertainment.

I am a pretty big martial arts film buff, but since I don't think anybody has mentioned it, I'll just mention that I deeply adore the stuff that the Shaw Brothers were putting out in the 70's. The stuff that basically inspired the RZA to make "The Man With The Iron Fists" and was also a huge part of the inspiration for Kill Bill.

The 36th Chamber Of Shaolin, Crippled Avengers, Five Deadly Venoms, The Kid With The Golden Arm, 8 Diagram Pole Fighter etc, are all great. Some are a little campier than others, but 36th Chamber is definitely one of my favourites.

Speaking of campy, silly martial arts movies, One Armed Boxer Vs The Flying Guillotine Master is basically required viewing.

Um it's a pretty slow burn and perhaps not a particularly amazing film, but Sha Po Lang has some pretty mindblowing fights in it. Basically anything with Donnie Yen is probably worth checking out for the actual fights.

Also just noticed Hard Boiled is on your list. SO good. Another great Chow Yun Fat film is Tiger On The Beat, but like a few others I mentioned, it might be a little hard to actually track down.

#21 Posted by Apathylad (3234 posts) -

@falserelic said:

@CaLe: I remember that fight scene it was epic indeed. Now I raise one of the most weirdest fight scenes.

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I had to look away during the stomach part but the "You've got a lot of guts, Oscar!" made me laugh. So bad.

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#22 Posted by Ghost_Cat (1514 posts) -

You are doing it all wrong man. Shoot Hard Boiled straight to the top. Chow Yun Fat might be more of a gun expert than a martial arts expert, but his magical hands give him the ability to be fucking surgical with any gun. Also, all of Chow Yun Fat's guns have unlimited ammo.

#23 Posted by Dunchad (536 posts) -

Ong-Bak, Ip Man, Fearless, Transporter 1-3, Bourne 1-3, District B13, Bloodsport, Pitch Black & Riddick, Redbelt, Haywire... Well, there's a bunch. Go and watch Van Damme, Jason Statham and Jet Li movies in addition to Jackie Chan's work - should be a good place to start.

Then there're bunch of samurai/wuxia films as well that are brilliant, I just tend to separate those from "martial arts movies".

#24 Posted by falserelic (5721 posts) -

Blood and Bone had some cool fight scenes aswell.

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#25 Posted by tarvis (74 posts) -

Master of the Flying Guillotine.

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With Neu!.

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And if you like David Mamet, but haven't seen it, Redbelt is fantastic.

#26 Posted by JasonR86 (10003 posts) -

It depends. They can be cool but they can be corny as hell too.

#27 Posted by BaneFireLord (3084 posts) -
@CaLe said:

Ip Man was pretty awesome.

I see your fight scene and I raise you.

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Ip Man was my introduction to martial arts movies. Completely amazing, start to finish.
#28 Posted by stryker1121 (1764 posts) -

Another vote for The Raid. You can watch this in HD for $2-$3 on Amazon Instant. Go watch this movie right now!

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#29 Posted by I_Stay_Puft (4666 posts) -

Once Upon a Time in China films. The Ip Man are probably the latest films in the genre that I thought were fantastic.

#30 Posted by Wes899 (2165 posts) -

If I remember right, Hero had some pretty cool fights. I think those all involved weapons so maybe that's not what you're looking for.

#31 Posted by 49th (3030 posts) -

Chocolate was pretty cool. Most of the Thai movies are great since they do all the stunts for reals.

#32 Edited by YI_Orange (1211 posts) -

The first Ong Bak. Don't hestitate, don't think, just do it. Ip Man got me back into martial arts movies, but Ong Bak won my heart. It's so god damn awesome.

As for general thoughts. I don't like Jet Li, something about him has always felt off to me. I also have some issues with older martial arts movies(though Drunken Master 2 is still good) since the production quality tends to not be great. They feel stiffer than newer stuff and sounds are really bad. It's prevented me from getting into Bruce Lee.

Edit - Oh yeah, Chocolate was pretty cool. After the first fight(which was screaming Tony Jaa(which is a good thing)) the fights reminded me a lot of Jackie Chan.

#33 Posted by Soulglove (156 posts) -

Just add these:

  • Killzone
  • Dragon Tiger Gate
  • Legend of the Red Dragon
  • Fearless
  • Ip Man 1 and 2
  • The Legend 1 and 2
  • Iron Monkey
  • Dynamite Warrior
  • Twin Warriors
  • Once Upon a Time in China 1, 2 & 3 and America
  • Kung Fu Hustle
  • Fist of Legend
  • Flash Point (prequel to Killzone)
  • Invisible Target
  • 14 Blades
  • Azumi 1 and 2
#34 Posted by Dagbiker (7022 posts) -

"Don't Think - Feel" - Chie

#35 Posted by BraveToaster (12636 posts) -

My opinion on martial arts films is the same as any other film genre. Some are awesome, some are good, and some are horrendous.

@Damodar said:

Basically anything with Donnie Yen is probably worth checking out for the actual fights.

I agree, Donnie Yen is awesome. It kind of sucks that he didn't last long in Blade II, though. OP, here are a few of his movies that you should check out.

Iron Monkey

Ip Man

Flash Point

Kill Zone - S.P.L

#36 Posted by MikkaQ (10296 posts) -

@RenMcKormack said:

If you like the Wu Tang Clan then you must watch Shogun Assassins

That's not even a martial arts film though, more like gory samurai epic. An awesome one though. Also cameos in Kill BIll 2!

If you like the Wu though, you gotta watch the original Shaolin and Wu-Tang, half the album is just samples from that. Also Master Killer/The 36th Chamber of Shaolin, since that's how both Master Killer and their first album got titled.

#37 Posted by LastNinja (296 posts) -

All of Bruce Lee's films not just Enter the Dragon

Undisputed 2 & 3

Hard Target


Ip Man 1 & 2

Black Dynamite

#38 Posted by Silvergun (298 posts) -

Hard Boiled is one of my all time favorite movies. It's simply amazing.

I've actually been watching a lot of Korean movies in the same vein (although let's face it, anything's going to be mellow by comparison to John Woo), and recently watched a great one called The Man from Nowhere. It's basically Korean Max Payne 3, and it's awesome!

Another one I really liked was Detective Dee: Mystery of the Phantom Flame. It's more in the style of Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, and has more of a mystery angle to it, but asses are kicked (and immolated) in great quantities.

#39 Posted by csl316 (10685 posts) -

Lots of cool movies here. Hero had some ridiculous but awesome stuff going on, too.

#40 Edited by NlGHTCRAWLER (1219 posts) -

You can not talk about MMA films and not mention The Raid at all

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The Raid is the best MA film I have ever seen. It's amazing.

#41 Edited by NTM (8295 posts) -

I like films that have martial arts, but isn't about martial arts. For instance, I guess I'd be in the minority, but I love things like The Dark Knight films, or the Bourne movies, and how they're not so much martial art films, but feature characters that are well trained in them and use them when needed. Some though, like Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon are fantastic because they have great stories. I'm not really into films that have meh stories but good action, although I have seen many of them.

#42 Posted by Ninja_Welshman (526 posts) -

I love martial arts films! I'm a huge Jackie Chan fan. His early films are amazing and still hold up to this day. Didn't like the stuff he did after Bronx that much. His best films for me are Wheels on Meals, Project A 1&2, Drunken Master, Police Story, Amour of God 1&2. But if you can check out his really early work like Fearless Hyena

#43 Posted by crusader8463 (14744 posts) -

I grew up loving them. Jackie Chan in particular was always great in his movies and I enjoyed just about every one of them just for his style of action.

#44 Posted by Apparatus_Unearth (3504 posts) -

I love the few that I've seen, but can someone recommend some of the absolute best martial arts films?

#45 Posted by Apparatus_Unearth (3504 posts) -

I should specify that I love Tarantino, so he movies that influenced Kill Bill would interest me, I just don't know what they are.

#46 Edited by SirOptimusPrime (2037 posts) -

I'll join the crowd loving Donnie Yen. FlashPoint was the first thing I saw by him, and that last fight scene is just crazy good.

I just wish he didn't have so many problems with a shoulder injury, because I would love to see him in the UFC.

#47 Edited by PenguinDust (12776 posts) -

I love Asian cinema and have been watching a lot over the past year. I've seen practically everything I'm interested in from Hollywood, so I turned to Japanese, Korean and Chinese films to entertain me. I've expanded beyond just martial arts movies, but they were the ones that served as my introduction.

Here are my top 11 in no particular order (links lead to trailers):

  1. Chocolate (2008) - like Jackie Chan, the heroine of this Thai martial arts movie does all her own stunts and she's amazing. Don't miss this one.
  2. Shinobi Heart Under Blade (2005) - a Japanese action romance with ninjas inspired by Romeo and Juliette. Very moving and picturesque.
  3. War of the Arrows (2011) - a Korean action movie about a fallen lord who followers Chinese kidnappers who've taken his sister. Epic in feel.
  4. The Shadowless Sword (2005) - another Korean movie, this one is about an exiled prince and his female bodyguard. Awesome and humorous at times, too.
  5. Jet Li's The Legend (1993) and The Legend 2 (aka Fong Sai-Yuk and FSY 2 respectively) - My personal favorite Jet Li movies which shine not just because of Li, but because of the actress who plays his mother, Josephine Siao. She's hilarious especially in the sequel.
  6. My Young Auntie (1981) - An older film by the Shaw Brothers with their classic style of martial arts choreography. Great stuff. The story is about a woman who married her dying employer so that he could keep his estate from falling into unscrupulous hands. She seeks out the heir he intended and finds herself fighting off those who want the old guy's will.
  7. Kung-Fu Hustle (2004) - a great modernization of the classic martial arts genre set in the 1930's China. A fantastic supporting cast of crazy kung-fu masters.
  8. The Bride With White Hair (1993) and its follow-up The Bride With White Hair 2 (1993) - the two tell one whole story, so I think you need to see both. A woman is scorned and returns as a vengeful spirit. The movie is both romantic and kick ass in action.
  9. Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame (2010) - A Chinese movie that may be the best looking Asian film I've seen. It's special effects and cinematography are on par with the best Hollywood has to offer. The story gets a bit crazy at the end, but it never fails to thrill throughout.
  10. Goemon (2009) - amazing Japanese martial arts movie that's a visual splendor. It's about a legendary theif who's a bit like Robin Hood.
  11. Jackie Chan's Police Story trilogy with special love for Supercop (1992) - These movies are great and I've seen the last over 20 times. Jackie Chan blends action with comedy like no other movie star, East or West.
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#48 Posted by Eaxis (996 posts) -

Goddamn this thread brought back some fond memories. I love the Jackie Chan movies from the 80s and 90s. Been a while since I watched a good fighting movie.

#49 Posted by MarkWahlberg (4713 posts) -

@NTM said:

I like films that have martial arts, but isn't about martial arts. For instance, I guess I'd be in the minority, but I love things like The Dark Knight films, or the Bourne movies, and how they're not so much martial art films, but feature characters that are well trained in them and use them when needed.

While I do like those movies, I have a big problem with the influence - Bourne especially - had on action movies in general. The frenetic quick-cut, close up editing style they use in the fight scenes is cool when done right, but too often moviemakers just use it as a cheap way of avoiding having to actually put any effort into choreography or stuntwork. I'm ok with it if it makes sense within the film's context - movies like Batman or Ninja Assassin, where the whole point is that you can't really see them - but generally speaking, if you're going to have a fight, at least let us see the damn thing.

#50 Posted by MikeGosot (3235 posts) -
@Apparatus_Unearth said:
I should specify that I love Tarantino, so he movies that influenced Kill Bill would interest me, I just don't know what they are.
Lady Snowblood inspired the final fightand the main antagonist of Kill Bill Vol. 1, Tarantino made the staff watch the movie when they made little breaks, so you should watch that. Also, judging by The Bride's jumpsuit, Tarantino really liked Bruce Lee. Watch Bruce Lee movies!