Below are some movies that I've read on the subject of Martial Arts along with my review and recommendations. The movies are listed in alphabetical order by their title. If you know of a movie you want, you can click on the letter here to get to the entry quicker.
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The Bride with White Hair
This haunting Martial Arts story about doomed lovers separated by evil forces is a Hong Kong classic. It has all the elements of a good Chinese fable and captures some wonderful swordwork. But it's more than just a Martial Arts film, it's dark and sometimes quite creepy.
Bichunmoon (Dance with Sword)
Touted as the Korean-style Romeo and Juliet, this movie also features a lot of fun wire-work and sword-play. If you didn't like the tragic end of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, you'll probably not like this movie either. But those of us who do like the tragic love can be rewarded with an equally unique Korean Martial Action.
One of the great movies with legendary Bruce Lee, this movie is filled with intrigue and suspense. Also called Fist of Fury, this story of revenge for the death of his teacher depicts some of the rage and turmoil of an era in China. For those familiar with the plot, you'll notice the remake of it by another famous Martial Artist, Jet Li in Fist of Legend.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
When this movie had first been introduced to the Western cinema, it made quite a stir, creating a whole new following for Martial Arts movies. This tragic love story captures the best in the beauty and pageantry of many Martial Arts movies. The plot is in line with many of the more traditional Chinese love stories.
Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story
One of the best Martial Artists to live in our century, this biographical movie goes through some of the trials and tribulations it took for Bruce Lee to be recognized in a Western world that knew very little about Martial Arts.
Enter the Dragon
No Martial Arts discussion is ever complete without mentioning the legend, Bruce Lee, at least once. I remember watching this movie as a little girl and wondering what everyone was screaming about. I’d run around the house pretending to be Lee, that little flick of the nose, that stern expression, that famous call that told you the action was about to pick up.
Fist of Legend
I personally can’t get enough of Jet Li. I’ve loved every movie he’s been in so far and find his Martial Arts background most intriguing, performing in front of President Richard Nixon when Li was only 10-years-old. This movie, however, holds a special place in my heart. The styles and moves, the mixing of cultures, the depiction of conflict between honor and schools, the lack of extensive wire work, made this one of my favorites to pull out on a rainy day.
A story set in one of the most violent times of Chinese history, the first Emperor and Empire, Jet Li stars as a man called Hero who fights against the evil of this Emperor. Filled with beaultiful cinematography and fancy wire Martial Arts work, this is bound to become one of the classics of this genre of movies.
Before there was Ziyi Zhang, these three women dominated the female Martial Arts movie star scene. Michelle Yeoh, Anita Mui, and Maggie Cheung. See them in action together in this movie about three very different women with super Martial Arts powers who must form an uneasy aliance to stop an Evil Master.
Kiss of the Dragon
A block-buster movie starring Jet Li, this movie does a wonderful job in showing a powerful technique in Martial Arts known as Dim Mak. By utilizing pressure points, Jet Li quickly attacks and immobilizies his victims. But is it enough to gain back his life and unravel the corruption around him? One of Jet Li's best movies ever!
A Man Called Hero
A unique Chinese Martial Arts movie, this story is set in the "Wild West" of America. Fleeing after his family is slaughtered to protect the Red Sword, he must face both those that wish to kill him and the life and love he left behind.
While not exactly a Martial Arts film, I have to admit when Neo wakes up to say “I know Kung Fu.” I got a special chill down my back. The skill and technique coupled with the very unique camera work made this science fiction movie one of the top action movies of the year. The stunt coordinator is also known for his work in the next recommendation on my list.
A Disney classic, this beautifully done cartoon depicts the strength of a female legend named Mulan. A Chinese Joan of Arc type story, it introduced a whole new generation to the Eastern culture.
Once Upon a Time in China
An epic triology starring Jet Li, this is one of my first Martial Arts movies and I still love watching it over and over again. The fight scenes, the scenery, everything you come to expect from historical pieces with Jet Li.
A modern, sci-fi story that talks about parallel universes and what happens if we are able to travel between them. Besides being a great Jet Li movie, where else do you get to see him bang two motorcycles together?
A beautifully done movie, this captures the heart of live action anime. The story unfolds with three young warriors being brought up under a master, each with a different power, Wind, Cloud, and Frost. As the story unfolds, they find all they have been brought up to believe is not true and begin to battle amongst themselves for the affections of a woman. All the while, the real evil, the master that has taken them in, begins to uncover itself.
This whimsical movie about the legend of the founder of the Wing Chun system of Kung Fu takes you through one version of how this woman came into her martial arts. While far from factually accurate, some of Michelle Yeoh’s best work is displayed in here.
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