10 Best Modern Martial Arts Movies
The ten best modern martial arts movies include a cast of characters and films produced in the Far East and in the United States. Martial arts is a term used to describe any form on fighting that develops the technique into an art form. Traditional marital arts include fighting taught in Japan, China and India, although the best martial arts films use all three techniques, as well as a hybrid style and techniques that incorporate one or more fighting styles. Martial arts purists will be able to pick out the forms in the movies, but for the rest of the viewers, it's all martial arts action in a flurry of fists and feet.
"Kill Bill." Although not the main theme of this Quentin Tarantino directed film, the director incorporates martial arts in this film that can be described as a Spaghetti Western meets a Kung Fu film. Uma Thurman, Lucy Liu and Vivica A. Fox star as headliners in this unusual film.
"The Karate Kid." The first version of this film stared Ralph Macchio, Pat Morita and Elisabeth Shue and was released in 1984. The 2010 version featured the acting skills of Jaden Smith, Jackie Chan and Taraji P. Henson. Although the film features martial arts competitions, the plot includes family issues and typical problems of teen life.
"Kung Fu Hustle" Stephen Chow directed this 2004 martial arts film starring himself, Xiaogang Feng and Kwok-Kwan Chan. This film covers all the gang stereotypes including life in a housing project, but the action is top notch and moves rapidly. The film is heavy on the marital arts and less so on the script.
"Never Back Down." Jeff Wadlow directs this 2008 film that can be described as a "Fight Club" meets "The Karate Kid." The stars include Cam Gigandet, Amber Heard and Sean Faris.
"Ninja Assassin." More hot martial arts action in this 2009 film starring Rain, Naomie Harris and Rick Yune. The martial arts accents are featured for the back story of an orphan and clan membership. James McTeigue does the directing honors on this fighting film.
"True Legend." More featured fighting from Xiaogang Feng in this 2010 movie that also stars Chia Hui Liu and Michelle Yeoh. Traditional Chinese history and the entrepreneurial skills of opening a martial arts school supply the plot line for this film.
"Reign of Assassins." With the term "assassin" in the title of a martial arts movie, viewers know the film is based on action fighting. This 2010 film, directed by Chao-Bin Su and John Woo is heavy on the martial arts action with a twisty storyline about the returning remains of a Buddhist monk for burial.
"Tekken." Actors Jon Foo, Kelly Overton and Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa star in this 2010 film about taking justice in your own hands in the slums of Anvil. The iron fist of this film deals with vengeance for his mother's killing.
"Fearless." Shido Nakamura, Jet Li and Nathan Jones are featured in this 2006 film about the life of Chinese Martial Arts Master Huo Yuanjia who lived and taught martial arts until his death in 1910. The director Ronny Yu traces the development of the Master's technique and the legacy of the spiritual guru.
"Flash Point." Directed by Wilson Yip and released in 2007, this film stars Bingbing Fan, Collin Chou and Donnie Yen in a plot that pits law enforcement against a band of Vietnames brothers with some extreme martial arts skills. The film provides a bit of history for viewers as the plot unfolds in Hong Kong prior to the Chinese takeover of the island. Martial arts and a little bit of historical study--what could be finer?