10 Best Chinese Fighting Movies

Friday, January 21 by William Gish

If you like broken bones, flying fists, flailing swords, exploding heads, pinging bullets, and phenomenal physical feats, you’ll love the 10 best Chines fighting movies. Some of the best action movies in recent memory, these films also boast emotional depth, cinematic wizardry, and historical intrigue.  

  1. “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” Ang Lee takes martial arts films to great heights in “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”, one of the best Chinese fighting movies. In the film, fleet footed warriors and witches fly across tree tops, scramble on the roofs of Beijing, and engage in gravity defying sword fights in locations as far flung as city streets and Mongolian steppes.  
  2. “Enter the Dragon” – In "Dragon", Bruce Lee wields nunchucks, follows the guiding light of his moral compass, liberates the prisoners of a secret island incarceration facility, fights members of a malevolent martial arts organization, and works with a government agency to interrupt a major heroin operation.
  3. “The Legend of the Drunken Master” – Widely cited as Chan’s best film, “The Legend of the Drunken Master” features some of the actor's most jaw-dropping fight sequences as well as some of the actor’s most effortless physical comedy. Like Charlie Chaplin with a black belt, Chan draws as many cheers as laughs in this, one of the best Chinese fighting movies.
  4. “Hardboiled” – John Woo’s magnum opus ends with a half hour shootout in a hospital that culminates with a single ten minute take in which actor Chow Yun-Fat fights with a gun in one hand and a newborn baby in the other. It will blow your freakin' mind.
  5. “Fist of Legend” – In Jet Li’s best film, the actor plays a martial arts expert who returns from Japan at the cusp of the Sino-Japanese war to find soldiers from the Land of the Rising Sun brutalizing his people. Li challenges the evil minions of a karate dojo responsible for the death of his master and performs amazing feats in one of the best Chinese fighting movies.  
  6. “Exiled” – Action extravaganza “Exiled” is Hong Kong action great Johnnie To’s best film, and one of the best Chinese fighting movies. It features incredible feats of madness by packing as many men and pistols as he can into tight spaces. Bullets fly, bodies fly, lives are lost, and your jaw will drop watching it all. The enigmatic plot is intriguing to boot.
  7. “Police Story 2” – In "Police Story 2", Jackie Chan plays a cop taking on a well connected crime syndicate that is terrorizing China. Chan’s flailing fists are put to great use in a number of incredible action sequences, including an enraged fight in a dinner and an over-the-top climax in an industrial facility.
  8. “Hero” – “Hero” plays a little bit like “Crouching Tiger” for dummies. It features the same gorgeous cinematography, flying warriors, surreal swordplay, mythic themes, and historical settings, and it plays it all in a much move blatant manner. It’s a very engaging film, and one of the best Chinese fighting movies.
  9. “Once Upon a Time in China” – This historical epic stars Jet Li as real-life Chinese hero Wong Fei-Hung, who stood against the British, French, and American forces plundering China for wealth and resources. The film is over two hours long, and filled with intricate fight scenes and larger-than-life battles.
  10. “Time and Tide” – Hong Kong action heavy hitter Tsui Hark returned to China after a disappointing spell in Hollywood with “Time and Tide.” The film’s ludicrous plot involves pregnant lesbians, unlicensed bodyguard, and assassins. Make of it what you will, but the scene in which two people repelling down the side of a building fight with machine guns is enough to make this one of the best Chinese fighting movies.