In naming the 5 best martial arts movies, more than fight scenes need to be considered. Dozens of martial arts movies are made every year with Hong Kong leading the pack as most prolific producer of these films. Most martial arts movies contain excellent fight scenes and are worth watching just for that reason, but that is not enough to make this list.

These action films should also have complex, interesting characters and rich, compelling plots. Big name stars don't hurt either. These movies are some of the best, but they don't make a complete list of the great martial arts movies made in 2008.

  1. "Resurrection of the Dragon" starring Andy Lau, Maggie Q and Samm Hung This Hong Kong movie is loosely based on parts of a 500-year-old Chinese novel "Romance of the Three Kingdoms." Although it doesn't have many individual fight scenes that are the mark of most martial-arts movies, it is a sweeping epic with battle scenes that do have a martial arts feel. Watching the main character, Zhao Zilong, fight an entire army by himself while rescuing a child is an inspirational fantasy fight in itself and wins the movie a place on the best martial arts movie of 2008 list. It was nominated for Best Action Choreography at the 28th Hong Kong Film Awards.

  2. "Redbelt" starring Chiwetel Ejiofor and Tim Allen Redbelt is a top-notch American martial arts film and a moving, suspenseful story with three-dimensional human beings. Tim Allen plays an idealistic jujitsu instructor, Mike Terry, who refuses to compete in the ring on principle. Mike is surrounded by people, including his wife, who add pressure and debt to his life. After a series of misadventures and financial setbacks, he finds he has to compromise his principles and fight.

  3. "Kill Switch" starring Steven Seagal, Isaac Hayes and Holly Dignard This is one movie for die hard fans of Steven Seagal. A typical plot about a detective with problems going after a couple of serial killers. But even though the storyline is well-known, the fight scenes and the dark atmosphere make more than up for it.

  4. "Kung Fu Panda" voiced by Jack Black, Ian McShane, Angelina Jolie and Dustin Hoffman Who says that a great martial arts movie can't be a cartoon? If audiences expect their martial arts star to be Asian, what is more Chinese than a panda? In a perfect blend of comedy, heart and action, the film tells the story of Po the Panda, the main protagonist (voiced by Jack Black) and his attempt to become a Kung Fu expert.

  5. "The Forbidden Kingdom" starring Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Michael Angarano and Yifei Liu So many good martial arts movies were made in 2008 that it is hard to stop at five. At least one movie should include a teenager and a bit of magic. In this one, a teenager who is obsessed with kung-fu films finds the stic weapon of the Chinese sage and warrior, the Monkey King. Of course, this gives him the ability to travel back in time to ancient China to engage in awesome martial arts contests and rescue the legendary Monkey King.