10 Best Chinese Action Movies that redefine Action Genre!
Chinese film industry is known for making movies that have intense emotions, different storylines, and exuberant action. The tag ‘Kung Fu’ movies have been given to the Chinese action movies because of the content they have. Kung Fu has been an integral element of the Chinese culture for decades now. Therefore, it is only obvious that you expect some real stunts, chases, and fights in the movies. But, if you want to list out the top Chinese Action Movies; the criteria implied is based on the uniqueness of the action sequences they contain. Most of these action movies contain KungFu and other Chinese fights that have an impounding essence which represents the Chinese culture beyond just fighting.
China is known for the martial arts, especially Kung Fu. Kung Fu is originally found in Shaolin Temple, where the monks started practicing it as a self-defense against natural hazards and man-made hazards and also for health. Kung Fu is also known to create enlightenment in people. The first Shaolin temple was actually created in 377, during the Henan province. Bodhidharma, the profound Buddhist prince in 527 A.D has traveled to this temple in order to promote his religious teaching. In order to increase the vitality and the strength of the people, Bodhidharma has locked himself to meditate for 9 years and practiced Kung Fu. Historically, Kung Fu has been an integral part of the government in the recent times, both in education and as well as extra circular activities. The Chinese people have involved Kung Fu in their lives because they taught it would create patience, respect, morality and as well as humility in people.
As a result, the Chinese people define Kung Fu as a lifestyle more than a Martial art. This is why most of the movies focus on including Kung Fu as an integral part of movies with brilliantly composed scenes, stunts performed by famous actors Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan and Jet Li. Apart from that, they manage to give interesting storylines and quality filmmaking, rather than picking the films that can fill the routine with just action scenes. Therefore, here is a list of top 10 Chinese Action Movies that you can find on various streaming platforms.
Top 10 Chinese Action Movies:
#1 Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2002):
‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’ is an interesting film when we talk about action. This movie has a plot in which the fates of different people get intertwined. Apart from action, it contains romance that gets blended with the fighting. Apart from that, the unfolding of the plot is appealing but the way the director has managed to place the flights is beyond part. The movie is captivating from the start to the end with the right amount of drama included in it. This movie, however, has won awards because of the action it contained which is nothing but a beautiful choreography. It also has a narrative storytelling and stellar performances in the box.
#2 Hero (2002):
Despite the second movie on the list, it is competitive with the first movie and contains crucial elements in it when it comes to the action. It has got some really epic action sequences where you will see thousands and thousands of soldiers. Despite the number, all of these soldiers are matching in a town while they inundating in a big storm full of arrows. This movie can also be categorized as one of the movies with the best visual effects that managed to create spectacular images which will make you stick to the screen throughout. The beauty of this movie lies in the insanely beautiful fight scenes between the masters of martial arts who managed to enrapture the imaginations and make your jaws down. The movie has a ‘fight on the water’ scene which is one of the best Chinese Action Movies scenes that we have seen ever!
#3 Enter the Dragon (1973):
Bruce Lee plays the role that has his name in the title. Shaolin, on the other hand, is the cop who goes undercover to the island that has been led by his evil boss, Han. Han manages to hold to the martial arts tournaments for years in order to recruit the fighters for various crimes. As the plot proceeds, we get to see more action blended with the storyline. There are many action sequences in the movie which are spellbounding and which can keep you locked for moments after you have watched it. There were many fight scenes in the movie, all of them choreographed and exclusively designed by Bruce Lee, himself. As he himself has managed to perform them in the movie, you can see a lot of synchronization in things that he has done. The final fight between Shih, Lee and the villain is nothing but exemplary with spectacular views. While the dialog is cheesy, signature moments of Bruce might annoy you with a period. However, if you’re someone who is obsessed with martial arts; then this movie is a must watch.
#4 Ip Man (2008):
Ip Man is the story of Chan Wah-shun and Yip Man. The master of the film, Bruce Lee plays an extraordinarily brilliant role in the movie. Ip Man was born to Wu Shui and Yip Oi-dor, the third kid of the fourth children. He has grown up in an extremely wealthy family of Guangdong. He has managed to receive the traditional way of education along with Yip Kai-gak, his brother, and Yip Wen-mei; his elder sister and Yip Wan-hum, the younger sister. Ip starts learning the amazing Wing Chun from Chan Wah Shun ever since he is 12. Chan was around 64 during that period and Ip is his last student. Due to his age, Ip has learned most of his techniques from Chan’s second disciple Wu Chung-Sok. After Ip has started his training, Chan manages to leave for a period of three years in which one of his dying wishes is to have Wu continue the teaching. ‘Ip Man’ has frugality involved in the real-life incidents. This film also has a recreation of Shanghai looks which are so authentic and amusing. Donnie Yen has been stunning as the peace-loving and placid artist who won’t give spars and lessons with the masters in order to save embarrassment from people.
#5 Once Upon a Time in China (1991):
The entire movie is set in the 19th century. In this movie, Jet Li plays the role of legendary champion, Wong Fei-hung. Rosamund plays the role of Aunt Yee, who is returning from America. The plot of the movie is not thick but it contains minute details that have amusing incredible scenes. There’s a lot of active and entertaining choreography full of terrific sequences that made Jackie Chan and his umbrella proud. Though in the beginning, the screenplay is extremely slow as the episodes kick off; the movie manages to catch the pace and it will take you along with it. It is the action of the movie which makes what it is. The film background has been set in Foshan during the 19th century during the historical Qing dynasty. Liu Yongfu, the Black Flag Army commander inviting Wong Fei-hung on the ship so that he can watch the lion dance. However, some sailors on the board near the French ship has managed to hear the sounds of these firecrackers and mistaken them for Liu. They have mistaken that Liu is firing at them and as a result, they started the fire in return. This entire fire sequence is a treat to watch. However, Wong manages to pick the head and finishes the performance about the perilous moments in the unequal treaties of China with other countries.
#6 Iron Monkey (1993):
Iron Monkey is nothing but a fictionalized episode of the childhood of Wong Fei Hung, the Chinese folk hero. It has a summary of fictionalized context that made them realize the Iron Monkey. In 1996, a sequel of this film, Iron Monkey 2 has been made as a separate film with another episode. The reason why you’re paying for this movie is that you want to be extremely entertained as a movie lover. Every action sequence in the movie has been delivered with intensity. It contains an element called “Wire-fu” which is obnoxious because of the elements it has. There is a decent character in the movie which has been spread among other sequences. The movie has a few plots and subplots that are to be executed without any concerning defects. It also has the prologue which is mentioned clearly, followed by the first Act, the second Act, the third Act and the climax along with the epilogue. Nothing more, nothing less. Everything in the movie is straight to the point and therefore, you will enjoy this movie more than other Chinese Action Movies.
#7 Kung Fu Hustle (2004):
Kung Fu Hustle is a Hong Kong film which is full of Chinese martial arts. It is a gangster film full of comedy, written, directed and produced by Stephen Chow. An interesting thing about the movie is that it also has him in the lead role. Jeffery Lau and Chui Po-chu are the other producers of the film, where the screenplay is written by few other members like Chan Man-Keung, Huo Xin, Yuen Wah, Tsang Kan-Cheong, Bruce Leung Siu and Yuen Qiu. There are some plot twists and great action which has taken the audience on the journey of the movie. In this movie, you never know what is happening or going to happen. This indeed is a rare thing, because everything is so quite obvious in the Chinese Action movies. However, the only drawback of this film is that the comic scenes are quite dragging and long. The Chinese humor is not everyone’s cup of tea. Kung Fu Hustle, other than that is entertaining and manages to put a smile on the face. Like most of the movies, it has a repeat value with many rewatches.
#8 Fearless (2006):
Fearless, also translated to Huo Yuanjia in Chinese is a movie which is set in the United States. It is directed by Ronny Yu and it contains all the strongest martial arts of the country that prevailed during the period of 2006. The movie stars Jet Li as the lead role and it is based on the life of the actual Huo Yuanjia. Huo Yuanjia, a martial artist has fought all the foreigners and won for years in the publicized martial art events in order to restore the pride of China even during the Japanese manipulation and imperialism. An interesting thing about this film is that it is Li’s last martial art film. The story of the film changes the face of the contemporary martial arts that people are adapting. The dialogue and the storyline of the film fall extremely short when compared to other films of Jet Li. Other than that, the fights in this movie are endless and will not bore you. In a runtime of 106 minutes, the film might seem a bit long but if you have soaked yourselves into the action, this is nothing but a treat to you.
#9 Red Cliff (2008):
Red Cliff is a John Woo film, known for the western audiences. It has high action drama involved in it, and can be compared to movies like ‘Mission Impossible’ and as well as the ‘Hard Target’. However, unlike those movies; it is different because of the storyline which has got a lot of drama involved in it. Therefore, if we look at the list of Hollywood films and try to find the equivalent western cinema for this movie; we should initially try with the classics like ‘Spartacus’ or ‘Cleopatra’ which were produced in the 1950s and 1960s. The film has a common to tell with the earlier works of woo when we speak in terms of style, choreography and as well as full-fledged entertainment. If you’re looking for one of those intense Chinese Action Movies, where the drama is the only thing that matters; then you should go with this movie!
#10 Police Story (1985):
An old movie yet it is, this one has a lot of action on the plate for the action lovers. The movie has the fastest and the most creative form of action that we see in the Chinese Action Movies. As a result, it has set the benchmark for the contemporary movies to follow the rules which are set by it. The movie is nothing sheer entertainment for two hours which can impress people all the way long. Along with the action, it also has unbelievable characters, a subtle storyline. Director Chan has taken a western approach to creating the storyline by combining the elements of western culture with Martial arts. Therefore, Police Story is quite different from other Jackie Chan films but is one true entertainer.
That being said, here’s a list of top 10 best Chinese Action Movies to watch. Now set your weekend free with exquisite fun.