Top 10 Martial Arts Movies Streaming on Netflix!
People who know in and out of the genres are the ones who are habituated to certain kind of movies and who love watching them. When you look at the history of movies, you can clearly see that each genre in the cinema has a trope about it given how we build the stories around. It is based on the genre, we usually build the stories/plots of the films. For example, the action genre films have stories which can be made through action, the science fiction genre films revolve around the science concepts/innovations, the dramas usually contain differently/casually written human characters. Musicals and dance movies are made based on the audio and video spectrum. Other elements of the movie help the directors convey the story better than what they actually can. As the film market is progressing, many new movies are emerging from the last ones and thus, the list of sub-genres. Here, in this article we will talk about a unique sub-genre action films, that come under action films, but often referred as the Martial Arts movies.
Back in 1970s, Martial arts have come into existence and boomed even before Bruce Lee has become internationally popular. Many countries have started filming/producing the martial art films, but Hong Kong film industry has been the prolific industry which has famous houses like Golden Harvest and Shaw Brothers. There are various other production houses apart from these two which went on producing some classics. Martial arts, as a genre can again be divided into two different categories including period movies like the wuxia films and the Kung-Fu films that are set in the contemporary world. The way western cinema keeps on symbolozing the American cinema, all the Kung Fu films rotate around the Chinese culture. While there are a set of people who geek around the martial art movies, there are people who either watch a Jackie Chan/Bruce Lee cinema just for the entertainment. For the fans of both types, we have compiled the finest Martial Arts movies ever which you can watch on the Netflix right away.
List of Top 10 Martial Arts Movies on Netflix:
#1 Ip Man (2008):
Ip Man is already included in most of the lists that we have written because of how brilliantly the film has been made. It is basically a fictional biopic of Wing Chun, a prominent martial art who has made the fighting popular. In this film, he is show teaching the superior art of Martial arts to some famous artists, including Bruce Lee. Ip resides in Foshan, a small town which is also home to many martial arts schools. Ip is a rich man, and therefore have limited students because he is not shown doing it for earning some bread. He spends rest of his time with his own family and friends.
His reputation in martial arts and his techniques are well spread across the town and therefore, he is shown combating his friends in friendly matches while displaying his skills. The movie takes a beautiful turn when the Japanese decides to invade the China including the Foshan and its citizen. The invasion leaves all of them homeless, following his struggle through this absurd invasion. In the film, the director shows us how he defeats a military official through a public combat. The movie has been brilliantly written and shot with breathtaking action sequences. Donnie Yen has acquired tremendous acclaim for playing the legendary role of Ip Man.
#2 The Flying Guillotine (1975):
The Flying Guillotine is known as the most powerful women in the martial arts and not everyone can use it. If it used properly, it can decapitate a victim within minutes and if not used properly, it can cause severe damage to the user as well. It is not just any weapon that has been fictionally invented in the movies because many descriptions about its existence have been found in many Chinese Scriptures. The usage of the Guillotine has been introduced to us in the movie, ‘Vengeance is a Golden Blade’, which is the first movie to actually popularize the usage of this weapon. The movie starts with an evil king who orders the weapon to get manufactured and he appoints around twelve finest soldiers to crush any kind of rebellion that comes in the way of manufacturing it.
One of the soldiers in the list of twelve sees that he is doing something wrong and raises his voice against the king before leaving to become a rebel. His next movie includes figuring out a way to fight off the king. A notable thing about this film is that it even has a sequel made after it as ‘Master of The Flying Guillotine’ (1976), but it did not get a wide release. The Netflix has both the films and you can find them because it also covers the origin of the weapon along with a engaging story line.
#3 Kill Bill Vol. 2 (2004):
A movie of Quentin Tarantino on the list and I would suggest you to see it first before watching anything else. Followed as the sequel of Kill Bill, the film starts with Beatrix Kiddo. His going to be family is shown getting murdered at the chapel where she is all set to marry. The director then takes you to Bill’s brother whom she meets just when Budd’s trailer is going to kill him. Budd who anticipates that she is coming successfully captures her and then tries to bury her alive. Budd after killing her calls Elle Driver in order to sell the Hattori Hanzo, the sword that has been made for Beatrix Kiddo. Here is when we see Kiddo thinking of her days when she was a student at Pai Mei.
Pai Mei is a very famous martial artist who resides on mountain, all alone. Kiddo is sent to her where he puts her through rough physical exercises after seeing the determination in her and learning it from him. The training sequences of Kiddo includes various martial arts, and it is revealed that Quentin Tarantino is a huge fan of this specific genre. The film is full of beautiful montages involved in the Kiddo training. Later, she is shown visiting Hattori Hanzo who makes a sword knowing whom she is planning to kill, saying
If, on your journey, you should encounter God, God will be cut.
#4 Enter the Dragon (1973):
Enter the Dragon is a Martial Arts film, made in 1973 starring and produced by the infamous Bruce Lee. This film is directed by Robert Clouse and includes stellar cast like Jem Kelly and John Saxon. The film just got released a few months after Lee’s death and therefore is the film which has his complete appearance before he dies. This film is an American and Hong Kong production together and got premiered on 19th August 1973. As said again, it has nothing to do with Bruce Lee’s death but still is considered as one of the most famous martial arts that have been made. The character of Bruce Lee is titled as Lee, a professional martial artist. He gets approached by the MI6 people in order to bring down Han, a criminal who has built a total criminal world on his island.
Lee, as an undercover agent, works as a participant in the tournament hosted by Han, where he kills O’Hara, the man who is actually responsible for the death of his sister. While exploring, it gets revealed to Han that hundreds of prisoners are actually kept as prisoners to test the medicinal drugs, to carry the experiments in the process of manufacture and development. The iconic scene between Han and Lee in a mirror house is one of the best fights ever made in cinema history.
#5 Martial Arts of Shaolin (1986):
A list of martial art movies without Jet Li is something that can’t be imagined. Li is one of the biggest stars after Bruce Lee, who excelled in this genre of movies. He has been a major part of many of the epic movies that are made on the Martial Arts. In this specific movie, he is shown in an interesting shade that we have not imagined before. Interestingly, Martial Arts of Shaolin is the third installment of the Shaolin film series that began with the first film Shaolin Temple, back in 1982. The second sequel to the film is Kids From Shaolin (1984) and the third one has many main actors from both the previous films.
The cast of the film includes Yu Hai, Yu Chenghui, Huang Qiuyan, and Hu Jianqiang while the film has a Hong Kong production view associated with the Shaw Brothers Studio in contrast with other films. The only difference from the previous film and this is that both of them are funded by Hong Kong and yet are shot with the Mainland crew. Li plays the character of a monk who works at the Shaolin temple, and who is goes out to kill an oppressive ruler. On this journey, he meets a girl that he has to marry. Unlike other action films, this film is a blend of action and drama and is the best movie made about the Shaolin discipline.
#6 Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000):
This is a Wuxia film directed by Ang Lee, and is a biggest starrer of the Hong Kong cinema as it has Chow Yun-fat. This film is an epic story that has been painted through exemplary art work and extraordinary cinematography. It says the story of two experts that keep excelling in the field of martial arts but who never get together because of their promise that has been made to a mutual friend. The situation arises prompting them to fight an evil woman Jade Fox, who steals a dangerous sword from Li Mu Bai, the character played by Chow.
This film is known for dealing more than one film which is why it has been marked as a classic in this genre. It has the relationship between a master and a student, the usage of poison, the involvement of women in martial arts and the empowerment. The way Ang Lee has directed the film has received high praise from many critics across the world especially among people who loved the epic narrative with the blend of flawless romance, drama and action.
#7 Drunken Master 2 (1994):
It’s time we talk about Jackie Chan if we are talking about Martial Arts. Drunken Master 2 is a movie made about Wong Fei-hung, a young Chinese boy who lives in his town with the family. Over the years of growing up, he learns a variety of martial arts known as drunken boxing which has not been heard or seen before. With the help of this skill, he saves his family which is constantly being attacked by English henchmen working for a higher general.
This general is known for smuggling various kinds of artifacts to others and Wong finds it out when he is in some incident. Jackie Chan who is known for taking risks for movies did not flinch while making this movie resulting in brilliantly choreographed and well executed fighting sequences along with detailed execution and planning.
#8 Kill Bill: Volume 1 (2003):
Kill Bill: Volume 1 is an American Martial Arts film, made by Quentin Tarantino back in 2003. It has Uma Thurman acting as the Bride while wanting to take an act of hardcore revenge on assassins group involving Vivica A, Fox, Michael Madsen, Daryl Hannah, and Lucy Liu. This group is led by Bill, their leader which is played by David Carradine. These assassins try to kill her and also her unborn child which is why her journey starts from Japan as she keeps on battling Yakuza, Tokyo.
This film is the only English movie that has pure form of martial arts when compared to the Hong Kong production. Quentin Tarantino has tried to pay homage to the genre that he likes most and admires the most. Just like the sequel, this film narrates the story of Beatrix Kiddo who kills the two victims of the ‘Viper Assassination Squad’. The combat with her and Vernita Green is a hand-hand combat that ends with Kiddo stabbing the other with the knife. Following that, she kills O-Ren Ishi, the other squad member, also the boss of underworld of Tokyo. Together, they fight together in a bar, “The House of Blue Leaves” as Kiddo fights the infamous Krazy – 88 to capture O-Ren.
#9 Return to the 36th Chamber (1980):
Return to the 36th Chamber, this film is the second film of the ’36 Chambers’ trilogy which has three different movies. In this film, Gordon Liu plays the role of a con person who poses as the character that he plays in the other two films, San Te, the Shaolin disciple. The three movies are super interesting if they are watched together. The original character name of him is Chu Jen Chieh, as he learns martial arts in order to defeat a mill owner. In the chamber of the mill, he gets asked to build scaffolds where he sees various monks practicing martial arts while he learns Kung Fu, which he used to protect the co-workers and fight the bosses.
#10 Ip Man 2 (2010):
The story of Ip Man 2 is a major sequel to Ip Man, following the life story of Ip after he escapes from Foshan. He begins his new life as Ip Man in Hong Kong while trying to open a school there in Hong Kong. Initially, he is met with a lot of resistance but the other teachers slowly respect him because of his skills. One of the teachers get killed in a public match by a stranger, and it becomes the responsibility of Ip to hold the honor of the Chinese martial arts. Before the movie even ends, Bruce Lee, a young boy comes asking him to be the trainer for him.
That being said, run a marathon today to watch the best Martial Arts movies.