Chinese martial arts movies are famous for their gravity-defying stunts, over-the-top fight scenes, and unbelievable choreography. They’re also known for being a lot deeper than they seem at first glance—they play with themes like honor and family loyalty in ways that have rarely been done before or since. And now that Netflix has provided us all with access to a massive library of them (literally), it’s time to dive deep into the genre! So here’s our list of the 10 best Chinese martial arts movies ever made:
Fearless is based on a true story. Huo Yuanjia was a real life martial artist and national hero in China. He became famous for defeating foreign fighters at the beginning of the 20th century, but he was also known for his kindness and generosity towards those around him.
Fearless is one of my favorite movies because it shows how powerful martial arts can be when used correctly. The movie also does an excellent job of showcasing Chinese culture, which makes it great for learning more about Chinese history if you’re interested in that sort of thing!
Shaolin Temple is a 1982 Hong Kong martial arts film directed by Chang Hsin-Yen and starring Jet Li as the monk San Te in his first major film role. It was also one of the first films to feature Chan Kam Chuen, who would go on to become a well known action star himself.
The story follows San Te (Jet Li), an orphan raised at Shaolin Temple who later gets framed for murder and must flee with his friends Wu Jie (Chan Kam Chuen) and Shi Xiu Ying (Chen Kuan Tai). They are chased across China by members of the Qing Dynasty government who want them dead because they know too much about their plans for expansion into Mongolia.
The Legend of Drunken Master
- The Legend of Drunken Master
In this 1994 martial arts film, Jet Li plays a martial arts master who has to face off against a gang of thugs. The movie is a comedy and yet entertaining enough to enjoy even though it’s not quite as serious as some other martial arts movies out there. The director is Yuen Woo-ping, who also directed Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon and Fearless (which stars Jet Li).
Starring Jackie Chan, this movie is the first of the Police Story series. Released in 1985, it follows a Hong Kong police officer who goes undercover to infiltrate a gang of drug dealers. This film was directed by Jackie Chan and has an action/comedy/crime genre.
The Grandmaster is a Chinese martial arts movie set in 1930s China, starring Tony Leung as Ip Man, a Wing Chun grandmaster who has been exiled from his hometown. The film follows him on his journey to reestablish himself as one of the best martial artists in China.
Ip Man faces off against Gong Er (Zhang Ziyi), who is also trying to become the best fighter around. She uses Shaolin Kung Fu instead of Wing Chun like Ip Man does and wants nothing more than to defeat him in combat so she can prove herself superior at their art form–and maybe even take over leadership of her school someday! The two characters must learn how much they have in common despite their differences as they fight against each other during World War II and beyond that point too. The Grandmaster won several awards including Best Picture at Cannes Film Festival 2014; Best Foreign Language Film at 87th Academy Awards 2015; Best Cinematography Award at 36th Hong Kong Film Awards 2014; Best Costume Designing Award at 7th Asian Film Awards 2013; Outstanding Achievement In Makeup & Hair Styling Award given by American Cinema Editors Association Awards 2012…
Fist of Legend (Jet Li)
Fist of Legend is a classic martial arts movie that stars the legendary Jet Li. The story takes place during the Japanese invasion of China in 1937, and follows Chinese boxer Chen Zhen as he returns to Shanghai after studying abroad. When his countrymen are being oppressed by the invading Japanese army, Chen tries to help them but ends up getting arrested by them instead.
The film was released in 1994 and is based on Bruce Lee’s Fist of Fury from 1972 (which itself was based on an earlier Japanese film). The remake features many similar plot points as its predecessor: both involve Chinese martial artists fighting against Japanese invaders; both feature love interests who become involved with the hero because they don’t know he’s Chinese; and both end with our hero dying by falling off a building after saving his lover from death at her own hands (though this doesn’t happen until after she saves him first). However, there are some key differences between them as well–for example: whereas Bruce Lee dies at age 32 due to an allergic reaction caused by medication given him after getting shot during production (a real life tragedy), Jet Li lives long enough to reach age 50 thanks largely due
Kung Fu Hustle
- Kung Fu Hustle
This movie is a comedy, and it’s about a hero who fights against the evil local mafia. It takes place in China during the 1930s. It was directed by Stephen Chow, who also stars in this film as Sing (a kung fu master).
Once Upon a Time in China (Jet Li)
Once Upon a Time in China is a popular Chinese martial arts film starring Wing Chun master and actor Jet Li. The movie tells the story of a young man who travels to Shaolin Temple to learn kung fu, only to find himself embroiled in a war between local bandits and the imperial army.
This movie was released in 1991 and has since become one of the most iconic films from its genre–wuxia films or Chinese martial arts films–which depict tales about ancient China’s honorable warriors going up against corrupt officials or supernatural villains. These stories are usually set during various dynasties like Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) or Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).
The best Chinese martial arts movies are a lot deeper than they seem.
Martial arts movies are more than just action. They often serve as a reflection of the culture of their country, and can be a good way to learn about that country’s history and culture. If you want to learn about Chinese culture, martial arts movies are an excellent place to start!
The best Chinese martial arts movies are a lot deeper than they seem. They often deal with themes like honor, loyalty and respect for one’s culture. Some may even make you cry! So if you’re looking for an entertaining way to learn something about another culture, check out some of these films next time you have free time on your hands: