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“Red Cliff” is a movie based on the War of the Red Cliffs, set in China around 208 and 209 A.D. It runs for about six hours. It starts out with enough action to pique your interest right away and you’ll immediately be pulled along by the characters in the movie. There isn’t much action in the middle of the movie, but the various characters’ ingenuity makes it a pleasure to watch.
Released in 2004, this wuxia movie stars some of the best martial arts film actors to hit the screen including Jet Li, Zhang Ziyi and Donnie Yen. While it may be too unrealistic for hardcore martial arts fans, the wuxia style of movie makes it enjoyable for those who love over-the-top action. The ending will leave you surprised and the story draws you in as you watch the adventures of Nameless, the movie’s “hero.”
Based loosely on the life of Chinese martial artist Huo Yuanjia, this movie is an enjoyable film for action movie lovers. The unique fighting will have you on edge the entire movie and you’ll love the various Western opponents Jet Li’s character faces. It is one of the best of Jet Li’s newer releases and you’ll easily follow the plot without subtitles.
“Ip Man” is a based on Yip Man, the man responsible for training martial arts legend Bruce Lee. It depicts the events that led to the grandmaster’s development of Wing Chun — his unique martial art — and it is a fascinating insight into life in China in the Sino-Japanese War. Donnie Yen plays the title character, with Sammo Hung and Simon Yam as entertaining supporting characters.
For those unfamiliar with Tony Jaa and his powerful Muay Thai strikes, this is the movie to watch. “Ong Bak” put Tony Jaa in the limelight and gave rise to the popularity of Muay Thai — one of the primary arts used in MMA today. Few actors embody their fighting art like Tony Jaa and the movie gives you a glimpse into Muay Thai.
Jackie Chan has entertained the world since he hit Hollywood, but Chinese audiences were laughing at his antics long before “A Rumble in the Bronx.” “The Drunken Master” was released in 1978 and it is one of the most successful of Jackie Chan’s movies — both in China and the United States. The film showcased the “Drunken Fist” style of fighting that is humorous and effective, and it defined him as a comedian-martial artist, giving him his persona when he arrived in Hollywood.
Another wuxia film, this movie was released in the early 2000s to great acclaim. It restored Chinese martial arts films’ popularity in the United States and the Western world, thanks to actors like Chow Yun Fat, Michelle Yeoh and Zhang Ziyi. The fight scenes make the storyline more enjoyable, too.
Bruce Lee meets Chuck Norris: What more can be said? There are few martial arts films as famous as this one, despite its several pitfalls such as poor acting and subpar plot. Just seeing Bruce Lee’s fighting is a treat and him defeating Chuck Norris is a battle royal no other movie has.
About the Author: As a lover of martial arts movies and a martial artist himself, Zach George writes about anything related to martial arts. He studied these films growing up in an attempt to improve his fighting style.