Kung-fu, poster, THE INVISIBLE FIST, US poster art, circa 1974. (Photo by LMPC via Getty Images)
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The 15 Best Kung Fu Movies Ranked
15. Ong-Bak
Tony Jaa stars in the low-budget “Ong-Bak: Muay Thai Warrior,” which diverges from the wire-fu, bullet-time theatrics that came to dominate the genre after “The Matrix.” This callback to early 90’s martial arts melodramas delivers an elevated action movie that uses Jaa’s natural athletic ability for the fight sequences instead of special effects.
14. The Raid: Redemption
While “The Raid: Redemption” features shaky-cam cinematography, its simple filmmaking style contradicts the extravagance of other modern martial arts movies that can come off as self-satire. The heavy weaponry threatens to steal the spotlight, but the inventively graphic and convincing hand-to-hand fight scenes truly bring the action to life.
13. Fearless
“Fearless” follows the story of the real Chinese martial arts hero, Huo Yuanjia, as he defeats foreign fighters in highly publicized bouts in the 19th century during a period where Western influence dominated China. The film is shot beautifully and includes impeccable fight scenes that highlight the competitive spirit of nationalistic sports rivalries.
12. Come Drink With Me
The 1966 “Come Drink With Me” follows a simple plot: When a gang of bandits abducts the governor’s son, a legendary swordswoman named Golden Swallow decides to rescue him. The film holds up better than more cartoonish kung fu movies of the 1970s, featuring bloodier, convincing swordplay than others of the time.
11. Enter The Dragon
Though “Enter the Dragon” has mediocre fight choreography and a ridiculous story, no martial artist can bring the intensity quite like Bruce Lee at the height of his career. “Enter the Dragon” marks the first joint production between Hong Kong and U.S. studios that has endured mainly due to the presence and legend of Lee.