What do you get when you merge the motion pictures industry with the ancient form of martial arts? A kick-ass movie! There is absolutely nothing that gets your blood pumping and your adrenaline rushing more than a martial arts movie. Who doesn’t enjoy watching Jackie Chan or Jet Li take on multiple baddies and win? It’s as if the high-speed camera was invented specificallyto record Jet Li’s fight sequences in ‘Kiss of the Dragon’. There is a whole subculture of martial arts movies that is world renowned. Here are a few iconic films from that subculture that has caught our attention.

The Matrix

I know what you’re thinking. This movie does not belong on this list. However, martial arts is an important part of ‘The Matrix’. I mean where would the movie be without Neo’s slick moves in slow motion? The fight choreography in this movie has inspired a myriad of imitators, and who can blame them, it was that good. This film also makes it on Quentin Tarantino’s list of favorite movies from 1992 to 2009.

The Karate Kid


Nostalgia is in the air. If you’re still in your 20’s or 30’s, you probably remember this movie from your childhood. If you’re getting bullied at school, this movie is for you. Who was crazy enough to practice the ‘wax on, wax off’ method, after watching Mr. Miyagi teaching it to Daniel? Guilty! My father’s car has never shined brighter. Who could forget the crane move either? However, it’s not as effective against bullies as it’s shown to be. If you want to see the modern interpretations of this classic film, check out ‘The Karate Kid’ (2010) or ‘Never Back Down’.

Kill Bill

I know this is the second time I have made a referenceto Quentin Tarantino, but this is a movie list, what do you want me to do? When Tarantino makes a martial arts film, he goes all the way. There are no half measures involved here. As soon as the bride awakens from her comatose condition, she sets out on a journey to send her enemies to their graves. They don’t call her ‘The Black Mamba’ for nothing. Quentin even pays homage to Bruce Lee from ‘Game of Death’ in this film.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Chinese swordsmen gliding on treetops. That is what this film has brought to the American audience. For those who hadn’t seen it before it was a moment of discovery and for those who had, it was déjà vu. Even if you haven’t seen this film, chances are you’ve heard of it. It has won 4 Oscars, so you better have. The film was also responsible for boosting Ang Lee’s career.

Enter the Dragon

How can I complete this list without talking about the master himself?The one who started it all.I’m talking about Bruce Lee. This iconic martial arts movie star and his film ‘Enter the Dragon’ were responsible for bringing the martial arts subculture to America. Before that, Chinese actors were just comic relief. After that, Chinese actors became a force to be reckoned with. The film was also responsible for filling martial arts schools to capacity.

These aren’t just iconic martial arts movies; they are iconic movies in general. They have a special place in film history that few can claim.

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