Must See Martial Arts Movies

1207940864745.jpgOne of my favorite conversation pieces is the whole concept of top ten..., top five.... and so on.  When I am traveling with my friends or husband I like to discuss the whole idea of being on a deserted island (with all the comforts of course) and having to decide what movies, albums and books that you would want to be stuck with for the rest of your life.   Below is the list of films that I think are 'MUSTS' if you are martial arts fan, junkie or geek.  These are amazing fight films, with great action scenes and an unbelievable display of martial athleticism over all.  They have been influential to so many of us that have been life long martial artists.  So, if you are a netflixs member and need some ideas for all the cold days ahead try some of these films.

51E5NZPGBEL._SS500_.jpgFive Fingers of Death (1974), (Tian Xia Di Yi Quan)

I was just a toddler when this one came out, but as a kid I spent more time watching channel 50 (now UPN), than 32 which only had cartoons, which featured classics like this one.  It was a Shaw Brothers film and came out in the wake of Bruce Lee's death.  t was a blockbuster hit in theaters and really helped to launch 'chop-socky' flick era.  The story is classic - Kung Fu teacher is assaulted by rival martial arts school, he fights them off, doesn't want them to to win upcoming tournament, so he trains and sends his best student to train is a special school and to compete.  Of course, the prize pupil is love with the master's daughter and must leave her for his journey to train and learn crazy, secret moves to enter tournament.  You get it.  It's great!
1207860702461.jpgEnter the Dragon (1973)
Not surprising I assume.  You can not avoid adding it to the list of must see movies at all.  Probably the most influential film to the martial arts community.  It served as the inspiration for so many of my colleagues.  Along with his death, it qualifies Bruce Lee as a talent and the skill that he had.  The first Hollywood studio film, which also gave Jackie Chan and Sammo Hung a shot.  Lee is invited to a martial arts competition on a mysterious island. There is fights his way through many worthy opponents and maintains his fair play attitude in the process.  This one does not actually get old when you watch it.
1207860850583-1.jpgOng Bak (2003)
I think this is one of the best punch-kick films of this decade.  Although a new one is being released this week, I can not imagine is it better. It stars Tony Jaa and the country of Thailand.  It certainly makes you want to train in Muay Thai.  It is put out by magnolia Pictures.  The movie centers around the town of Onk Bak, a sacred Buddhist village has their Buddha stolen.  It is thought to bring rain and prosperity to the village.  Ting is young villager who is selected to go to Bangkok to rescue the statue and bring it back in time for the ceremonies in Onk Bak.  Of course the statue has special meaning to TIng, who was raised by Monks and trained in Muay Thai.  Forbidden to use his combative skills according to the peaceful ways of his upbringing, ing is forced to fight the underworld in his travels.  It is rock solid!
1207941020942.jpgThe Legend of the Drunken Master (2000)
Probably the best of Jackie Chan's comedic kung fu films. The coolest part of this movie is how it features awesome traditional Chinese styles of fighting: snake, crane, tiger, monkey and of course the famous 8 Drunken Immortals system.  The cast is really fantastic it includes: Lung Ti, Anita Mui, Felix Wong, Ken Lo and Ho Sung Pak.  The story focuses on the misadventures of Wong (Chan), who accidentally becomes involved in British consul's smuggling activities.  Wong ends up having to fight the British henchmen, but in order to access his Drunken style of fighting he must get drunk and ends up embarrassing his father and breaks his word.  The fight scenes are hilarious and combine the best use of props with fighting in all of Chan's films.  Anita Mui is a riot and really a Chinese version of Lucille Ball (in my mind).  
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