What are the top ten kung fu movies? There are many good kung fu martial arts movies to choose from from old classics to newer kung fu and karate movies.
Enter the Dragon.
This classic Bruce Lee karate film was filmed in 1973 and is considered by many to be one of the best kung fu movies. The film stars Bruce Lee, John Saxon, Jim Kelly, and Bob Wall. You will also meet the famous kung fu martial artist and bodybuilder, Bolo, who has starred in a number of kung fu and karate films. In this film you will see Bruce Lee show why he is a great martial artist, by using his fast attacks, use of various weapons, and adaptability in kung fu techniques. Good movie! Enter the Dragon is a superb Jeet Kune Do Bruce Lee style martial arts masterpiece. Rank four chili.
The Legend of the Drunk Master.
What’s not to like about this film. You will see Jackie Chan as a young karate student who learns the drunken style from his drunken master. Drunk Kung Fu is a unique form of the Shaolin karate style. Whether this is an actual kung fu style, or made for a movie is still in question. In this martial arts film, you will see drunken master disciples fighting the evil Wushu gang, alongside their master.
The final fight scene is a hoot! Jackie Chan is amazing in the way he does his drunken kung fu moves. Drunken Master doesn’t take itself too seriously, and uses good comedy throughout. The martial arts fighting in this film is very well done. This pencak silat film provides good entertainment value. Value Four chilies.
Jet Li Kungfu – Fearless.
This 2006 marital art film tops the list for more serious, historical drama-oriented Wushu films. Jet Li plays Chinese Martial Arts Master Huo Yuanjia. Master Huo started learning martial arts by watching his father teach other students. Huo went from being incompetent as a child; to develop fun Kung skills, and beat all his rivals. This went into his head, and he became arrogant. From Huo’s irresponsible fighting actions, he suffered a tragedy. This tragedy leads to reflection and a change in attitude.
The entry of European influence in China in the early 1900s. Master Huo became the Chinese Boxing Champion, who defeated foreigners, to create pride among Chinese people. This is a great film, with great martial arts action and combat. You’ll also love the character, hate the character, and then like the character. There is a little humor in this film, but a lot of drama, like the Greek tragedy. I’ve watched this film four times, and never get bored. Value: 5 chilies.
Big Problem in Little China.
This kung fu comedy drama starred Kurt Russell and came out in 1986. While this film may not make it into the top ten kung fu lists, it stands out for its film quality, and use of many Hollywood film techniques. The storyline is good with Kurt Russell somehow getting involved with kung fu fighters, kidnappings, kung fu magic and epic action packed scenes. The climax is when Kurt Russell must defeat Lo Pan, a mysterious 2000-year-old kung fu master. There are no slow moments in this film. There’s lots of action, and lots of twists and turns. This pencak silat film provides good entertainment value, and is fun to watch. Value: four chilies.
Child of Karate.
This karate film was the first in a series that came out in 1984, followed by two more Karate Kid films with Ralph Macchio, Pat Morita, and Elisabeth Shue. A new Karate Kid film premiered in 2010, starring Jackie Chan, and Jaden Smith. This is the story of a bright boy who learns about life and karate from a simple and controversial Okinawan karate master. Who today, have never heard, “Wax on, wax off”. This is a story about a child who wants everything instantly, but learns that you have to work for something of value.
In another part of the plot, you have an unscrupulous karate instructor at a local karate school, who teaches, wins at all costs. This is where the two different worlds of karate collide. Daniel is in the middle of trying to learn the subtle teachings of Master Miyagi, against the competitive form of American karate. The importance of this film shows that there are different levels of martial arts. Martial arts are as much mental, as physical. Learning martial arts involves more than just competing in tournaments. Value 3 chili.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was produced in 2000 with very good reviews. In fact, it won 4 Academy Awards, and received very high review ratings. This classic kung fu film stars YunFat Chow, Michelle Yeoh, and Ziyi Zhang. This is in many ways a classic kung fu film with a Greek tragedy storyline. The film is huge in scope, scenery, and storyline.
The film covers the search for a magical jade sword, and a lost treasure. You also have a love story, and a killer to deal with. The scenery in the mountains of West China, makes this film has an extraordinary visual palette to enjoy. Some of the flying scenes even though the air is a bit weird, but, hey, it’s a movie. This is a good film with a lot of expression. This is a classic kung fu epic. Value five chilies.
The first Kill Bill film came out in 2003. The second Kill Bill film came out six months later, and completed the storyline. The film is produced by Quentin Taratino, who is known for his gory and graphic films. The film stars Uma Thurman, along with David Carradine (TV Series Kung Fu), Lucy Liu, Michael Madsen, Vivica A. Fox, and Daryl Hannah.
This is basically a revenge movie with Uma Thurman finding the other members of her assassin group and killing them for their betrayal. There are a few scenes where Daryl Hannan, and Uma Thurman study under Master Shaolin, which gives you a better foundation of their training. A kung fu/karate film has all the elements of a good film, with lots of action, suspense, great characters, and uncertainty as to where the film will lead. Good movie! Value five chilies.
Billy Jack is a relatively obscure American karate film. The film stars Tom Laughlin, and came out in 1971. His character, Billy Jack, is from India, and lives in the west by reservation. Billy Jack has returned from the horrors of Vietnam, and just wants to be left alone. The bad guys in the movie want to kill wild horses and turn horse meat into dog food. Billy Jack has a desert retreat to protect the wild horses. The bad guys chose Billy Jack, because he’s Indian.
Little do the bad guys know Billy Jack is a former Green Beret and Hapkido karate expert from Vietnam. So we have the classic story of good vs bad, and good people trying to do the right thing. When it was time to fight, Billy Jack did nothing. Although the film did not win any awards, it does tell a good story in an American setting. This is not a fake David Carridine, doing kung fu. This is an American who expresses himself with the skills he has learned to protect his family and friends. This movie is worth watching if you find it. Value three chilies.
Kung Fu Hustle.
The Kung Fu Hustle is an excellent film, with great entertainment value. This film is, by far, the greatest kung fu comedy to date. The storyline is good with characters, larger than life. Kung fu is fantastic and fun. Characters have abilities that they like and stand out on their own. The film came out in 2004, and was produced by Stephan Chow. The film stars Stephan Chow, Yah Yuen, and Oiu Yuen. It’s a fun movie, and a great movie entertainment. Watch the woman with curling hair, and a cigarette in her mouth. He has mastered a special kung fu talent. Value five chilies.
This is another Stephen Chow kung fu comedy, which predates Kung Fu Hustle. This film premiered in 2001. There are a lot of good karate scenes and special effects that keeps this film engaging. One particular scene has a young lady kung fu master working as a street vendor, making bread. It is so cool when you see her hand motions and how she spins the bread dough.
There is something captivating about this scene, which gives you a better appreciation of the Chinese art of kung fu. The final scene where the hero uses kung fu to defeat the opposing soccer team is great. This film has high entertainment value, though the quality of the film is not quite up to Hollywood standards. Rated three chili peppers.
Leave me a comment what you think of the TOP TEN KUNG FU MOVIES.
As a film and martial arts fan, I enjoy good moves, especially good karate or kung fu movies. I decided to list the best and most influential martial arts films of the last forty years. These ten films really stand out. Let me know which kung fu movie you would add to the top ten. Congratulations, Bob