best 10 foreign martial art films

Mar 3, 2011

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The Bottom Line What? No #1? Well, that's because I'm still waiting for that perfect movie. Right now the closest would be Heroes. Excellent movie about assassination for peace.

All foreign films, since I feel american martial art films are overdone and forced. Some are good, but there's not many. Also, sorry for the excess of Jet Li and Chinese movies, not biased, and these are my honest opinions.

10) Fearless
Great movie about a martial artist, Huo Yuan Jia  who comes to discover the value of mercy. He begins to think winning is everything, contrary to his father who would often hold back the often finishing blow. After a tragedy (not going to spoil it), Huo leaves and learns to be kind thanks to Yue Ci. He then returns to fight foreign challengers. This is on the top ten list because it has a good message and is realistic. However, I feel there is not enough martial arts and is more of a drama film so it barely scraped by.

9) Ip Man
A movie about the famous martial artist (Y)Ip Man. Ip Man is the best martial artist in the cit of Fo Shan. However, he leads a dysfunctional life with his family and has little social life outside of business. After the Japanese occupy some parts of China, he grows closer to his family and learns to share his talent. Later he is forced to fight the japanese in matches for vengeance, and later pride. Made top ten for excellent character development, but not very high because some fight scenes are a little lacking.

8) Fighter in the Wind
This is one of the movies that follow the classic hero archetype. Pretty much about a korean guy moving to japan and trying to become a great martial artist and prove himself. I love it because the hero is not a total prodigy, but not a loser either. Top ten for great hero, even if a little cliche.

7) Once Upon a Time in China/America
This is actually a series, but i'm lumping it all together since they have basically the same plot. Wong Fei Hong, quite possibly the best martial artist China ever had in real life, has a new rival each movie. Top ten for excellent fight scenes, and pretty good humor, but nothing super special

6) Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
This is a huge favorite of mine, had some trouble deciding whether it deserved to be in the top 5 or not. This had some amazing fight scenes, and one of them was my all-time favorite. However, I felt some of them were overdone. It is about a quest to find a stolen sword, and revenge.

Oh boy!!! Now it's time for the top 5!!! These movies all have a special place on my shelf

5) Seven Samurai
It's an epic about seven wandering samurai who are hired by villagers to protect themselves from bandits. It has tragedy, a spot of comedy, and lots of rising and falling action. I love it even if it is 3 and a half hours long. Also, it is directed by Akira Kurosawa, who has many films that barely missed this list.

4) Red Cliff
Another epic, but this time about a real battle at the Red Cliffs. China is split between the North ad the South, and a war loving prime minister who uses the emperor as a puppet tries to conquer the south. The South wins against all odds with the help of a superior strategist, miracles, and heroes. This movie really struck out at me because of the combination of characters and development of the war.

3) Legend of the Condor Heroes
Okay, this is actually a series, and there are many versions but I feel I have to put it here. The one I am reviewing are the 2003 and 2008 ones. It begins with two friends, each masters. They are both killed, but their sons survive. One grows up to be good, but a little dim witted, and the other grows up bad, but smart. Through their journey's each of them become masters of martial arts, and make many connections with each other and other martial artists. If this had a movie version, it might even be my first pick.

2) Return of the Condor Heroes
Oh snap! I just put a sequel in! But I really love the series so I put it here. In the sequel the son of Yang Kang (the bad guy) is an orphan (darn, I spoiled something) and is raised by Guo Jing (the good guy). However he is rebellious and leaves. From here on, he has similarities to that of Guo Jing's, but has many differences and make it a sequel worth watching.

What really grabbed me in the series was the amazing acting ability. They perfectly portrayed the character.

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