I grew up watching Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan on TV. I wanted to be able to fight off a group of people and look cool doing it. Nowadays, people are more interested in superhero movies. However, if you are in the market for some awesome hand-to-hand combat, these are the movies you simply must see.
Ip Man is a movie about the life of, you’ve guessed it, Ip Man, the mentor of the world-famous Bruce Lee. The movie depicts the changes in Wing Chun style, as well as struggling with poverty and trying to maintain a sense of integrity and not back down in spite of the constant pressure from the Chinese community. The fighting scenes do feature some of the notorious special effects, but it is still a movie that should be on your list.
Enter the Dragon
Well, any Bruce Lee movie, to be honest. Enter the Dragon is on this list simply because it features the greatest movie martial artist of all time destroying his opponents during a martial arts tournament on a private island. I will not give out any spoilers, but the scene with the mirrors alone is worth it.
Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story
By this point, it is clear that I’ve shown some favoritism. Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story is a movie adaptation of a book written by his wife, Linda Lee Cadwell. Jason Scott Lee depicts our hero as he struggles in China and, subsequently, in the US while attempting to break away from tradition and develop his own martial art.
In 1978, a movie starring Jackie Chan was made that introduced the Drunken Style of fighting to the western audiences. The story follows a mischievous man, Wong Fei-Hung, who is a troublemaker and a slacker. After numerous incidents, his father sends him away to be taught by his friend, Beggar So. The training is excruciating and Wong finally masters both the Drunken Style and the discipline he so desperately needed.
Kung Fu Hustle
This film is perfect for comedy lovers. The movie does a splendid job of parodying every martial arts movie ever. It follows the troubles of a small and poor community, under the most difficult and loud landlady (always in a nightgown, smoking, with hair-curlers), and, on the other hand, two young and clumsy men trying to earn respect by becoming members of a dangerous gang. The action is over-the-top, the special effects are cartoonish, and the writing is full of inconsistent clichés. That being said, it should still be on your list, because it managed to achieve its comedic goal, while still preserving what we love about martial arts movies – the unrealistic action and mysticism.