Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Some of my favorite martial arts/action movies

I am somewhat of a martial arts/action movies buff. Many fans always compare their Top Ten list of All-Time Favorite Martial Arts Movies or Action Scenes. I, to date, cannot be pegged into a Top Ten of my favorites.

So I 'cheat' and come up with a few lists broken out into various categories. I guess one day I will have my Top Ten list, but until then, check out mine. 

Do you agree? Disagree? What is your Top Ten?

Some "oldschool" I love (in no order)

1) Five Venoms - 'nuf said... Wing Tsun master Leung Ting did the MA choreography

2) Invincible Shaolin aka Unbeatable Dragon - 5 Venoms gang stars... evil Manchu general, Wang Lung-wei, manipulates Northern Shaolin to fight Southern Shaolin -- features "Snake" learning the Yung Chun (aka Wing Chun) style and "Toad" learning Southern Praying Mantis - 2 of my fave styles

3) Shaolin vs Ninja aka Heroes of the East - Gordon Liu (Master Killer) marries a Japanese woman... inadvertently his comments to his wife about the Japanese MA is misinterpretted as a diss by her martial brothers and sensei... the sensei sends 7 of his students... all experts in various arts to challenge Liu - judo, single nunchuku & single sai vs butterfly swords; japanese spear vs red-tassled spear; etc

4) Invincible Leg Fighters - Dorian Tan shows why he should be in consideration as one of the best kickers of the oldschool generation (My friend says he was very good in The Hot, The Cold, and the Vicious -- I haven't had a chance to watch yet)

5) 5 Masters of Death aka 5 Masters of Shaolin - the first kung fu movie I can remember seeing... i was ~10 yrs old; all star cast -- all from director Chang Cheh's stable of actors/godsons -- a who's who of oldschool superstars: David Chiang, Ti Lung, Alexander Fu Sheng, etc

6) 36th Chamber of Shaolin aka Master Killer - Gordon Liu -- inspirational training scenes on a par with Rocky training scenes

loads more...

Bruce Lee/Jackie Chan/Jet Li

1) Way of the Dragon aka Return of the Dragon - prefer this over Enter the Dragon - Bruce Lee wrote, directs, stars, and did the MA choreography

2) Enter the Dragon - 'nuf said

3) Armor of God - Jackie plays the Asian Hawk, a Chinese Indiana Jones... loads of action.. one stunt almost killed Jackie and left him with a hole in his head

4) Fist of Legend - Jet Li remakes Bruce Lee's The Chinese Connection aka Fists of Fury

5) Once Upon a Time in China 1-3 - Jet Li plays Wong Fei-hung

Some recent I love in no order

1) Flashpoint - more action movie than pure martial arts movie, but Donnie Yen vs Calvin Chou is the wet-dream of any MMA/BJJ fan

2) Ip Man 1 & 2 - Donnie again... these 2 movies may be a thin veil of the Chinese Nationalism... both movies follow the same structure... Ip Man is challenged by the rest of the CMA community, he beats them... foreigner comes in and kills one of the Chinese MA community who was a friend of Ip's... he fights the foreigner and wins ... think it was a little unrealistic for him to take on 10 karatekas in #1 -- but overall, love Donnie's acting... he doesn't play his usual cocky self (which is closer to real life for him)... he plays a subdued/reserved man. The tabletop fight vs Sammo in #2 is way over-the-top but so enjoyable!

3) Legend of the Fist - Return of Chen Zhen - no surprise, Donnie yet again... may have been a statement to Hollywood casting Taiwanese pop idol Jay Chou as Kato lol... great visuals/sets a la Tim Burton's Batman... the opening fight vs the German soldiers had me so hyped, I couldn't sleep that night! watched it over and over! the adrenaline and testorene overflowed! overall uneven movie for me, but Shu Qi/Hsu Chi's acting as well as Donnie's was good. The fights and visuals helped make this movie for me to be a favorite - it could've been better

4) 14 Blades - ok my last Donnie for now lol - Donnie in a period piece, plays Green Dragon, the best of the Emperor's secret police... takes on a powerful eunuch ... look for oldschool Chen Kuan-tai in a cameo fight; plot is a little confusing, but scenery is beautiful and the fights entertaining... love rottie Kate Tsui with her whip/veils style

5) Ong Bak - Tony Jaa - love the thai bareknuckle fights... 1 little krabi krabong fight... Jaa's inspirations while growing up was Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan... lots of Chan's 'parkour' stunts by Jaa. 

6) Tom Yum Goong aka The Protector - Tony Jaa again. towards the end, probably homage to Bruce Lee's Game of Death, filmed in one long take, he is in a restaurant and fights his way to the upper floors; one of my fave scenes ever, Jaa breaks the arms and legs of 53 goons if memory serves (yes I'm a martial arts movies geek, i sat there and counted! lol at me)

7) Yamada - The Samurai of Ayothaya -- Buakaw has a part in this... based on Historical figure, samurai stranded in Thailand, comes to adopt Thailand as his homeland and helps defend it from attacks -- if you loved the Thai bareknuckle action in Tony Jaa's Ong Bak, check this one out!

8)The Raid: Redemption - Iko Uwais in an almost pure 90 mins non-stop adrenaline ride! one fave scene is his use of the PR-24 baton paired with a folding knife against ~10 bad guys.

9) The Man From Nowhere aka This Man - in the bonus features of the dvd, the making of part... it's mentioned the powers that be behind this movie wanted to show something different to the Korean audiences and they went with the Filipino martial arts... my fave art... fight scenes were short and ballistic... last fight scene had the star fight off like 10 guys with a gun and later a knife... the knife fights is one of the best in recent memory... when i watched this movie, the testosterone/adrenaline overflowed...couldn't sleep afterwards (i watch these 'violent' movies when the wife and kids are asleep)

10) City of Violence - Korean movie, 2 buddies take on the rest of the Korean mafia that is out to kill them... parts of it is homage to the cult classic The Warriors

loads more...

Will be watching sooner or later:

Takashi Miike's 13 Assassins - period piece
War of the Arrow - period piece

I really have to come up with my Top Ten list lol ... what are some of your favorite martial arts movies?


Song2 said...

Great list. Many I have seen, many I havent. I will check out the ones I've missed

Stickgrappler said...

Hello Song2:

Thank you - hope you enjoy the ones you've not seen before!



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