Greatest Martial Arts Films
Best Martial Arts Movies For Kids
It’s a throwback tribute to the old days of grindhouse fight flicks like what Cannon Films was putting out in the early ‘80s, updated for the new millennium. For those unfamiliar with any of these action stars, here’s a starting place. Equilibrium takes place in the near future, where emotions are outlawed and people take drugs to avoid accidentally experiencing them. Christian Bale’s character, Preston, helps enforce the ban on emotions but accidentally misses a dose of his drugs, throwing the entire purpose of his existence into question.
When the Manchu government destroys his school, ravages his town, and kills his father, San Te (Chia-Hui Liu) travels to a Shaolin temple to learn the ways of Shaolin Kung Fu and be at peace. With the most fast-paced narrative out of all other films today, this one gets through all that information and on to the Kung Fu training in 30 minutes of runtime. After finally getting to the temple, he is — after some resistance — admitted as a monk for training.
San Te (Liu Chia-Hui/Gordon Liu) narrowly escapes invading Manchu soldiers with his life. His thoughts turn to revenge and he joins Shaolin monks, undergoing rigorous mental and physical training. The titular 36th chamber refers to the final level of training that San Te must master before returning to confront the man who ruined his idyllic past life. Probably the Kung Fu-iest of the Kung Fu movies on our list today is The 36th Chamber of Shaolin. A film that heavily influenced hip hop music group Wu-Tang Clan, it is referenced by RZA as the core of Kung Fu films.
If you love watching crazy weapon battles, Shadow is one you should check out. Released in 2018, it comes from director Yimou Zhang, who also directed Hero and House of Flying Daggers. Fun side note — considering the trilogy’s themes and plot structure and the Wachowskis’ respective transitions, a lot of people now view The Matrix trilogy as a metaphor for the trans experience.
A massive box office success, but an equally massive critical failure, Hard To Kill basically solidified Steven Seagal as an inexplicable Hollywood goldmine. There is absolutely nothing impressive about Steven Seagal as an actor, let alone as a martial artist—there is only weirdness. And the closest we’ll ever get to seeing Seagal without a shirt. And yet, despite all of our sophistication and technology, we still fight by hand as well.